Monday, March 04, 2013

An Intriguing Year Ahead?

After a couple of unseasonably warm winters in a row, Southern Ontario and the Niagara Region, where I make my home, are going through a much more conventional cold weather season. We still have a bit of snow on the ground as I write this and temperatures today are right around the freezing mark. Last year at this time, we were completely green and had temperatures consistently exceeding 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius).

In fact, my home club opened our course on March 15th last year, the earliest opening on record!

Simply put, that's not going to happen this year. In addition to the seasonably cold temperatures, there is a major project still ongoing at the club, as the City of St. Catharines is replacing a major watermain that runs from an adjacent neighbourhood, through the golf course and underneath the highway. They are slightly behind schedule from what I understand and upon completion, there will be the inevitable mess that will take weeks to clean up. Certainly, there will be plenty of sodding to do in the middle part of the spring and we may have some rough spots that last until the early summer, if not longer. At the very least, I don't expect to be taking my first swing until late March at best and perhaps early April is more likely.

That all said, it's not all doom and gloom here at Now on the Tee. I've been slowly working on plans for the upcoming year, a big one for me personally.

That's because I'm going to be turning 40 in less than a month!

I suppose everyone who is about to turn the dreaded "Four-Oh" has their own way of dealing with it. Some look at it with disdain or frustration but I'm trying to make the best of it. After experiencing the many aches and pains that come with getting older and seeing my weight balloon perilously close to 200 pounds early in January, I made the commitment to improve my fitness and diet in an effort to get into great shape for my 40th birthday.

I'm about five weeks into my program and things are going great. I'm eating WAY better, the aches and pains are essentially gone and the excess weight is melting off. It's certainly giving me something to be excited about as I approach 40.

Another thing I'm excited about is the fact that my golf plans for 2013 are starting to take shape!

My original plan was to take my first overseas trip to experience the great golf in Scotland or Ireland. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen this year but I think that it could be a decent year nonetheless.

The first trip to get confirmed is a return to one of my favourite places on the planet, Ballyneal Golf Club in Holyoke, Colorado! I'll be spending three days and nights at Ballyneal in late July with a number of great friends and I'm really looking forward once again to the welcoming atmosphere, the great camaraderie and spectacular golf at BN.

Friend of Now on the Tee, Andrew Lewis, contemplates his approach on the 1st hole at Ballyneal in 2010

This will be a quick, long-weekend type of trip so we might only have time for a round on our day of arrival at another Denver-area course. I'll know more in the weeks ahead.

The other big news is that flights have been booked for a 12-day family vacation with my wife and young son to Northern California in late May!

The current plan will see us spend five nights in San Francisco before heading down the coast to Monterey, where we'll spend an additional four nights. The trip will conclude with us spending a couple nights near Yosemite before making our way back to San Francisco for our flight back to Canada.

I understand that the golf out in this area of the world is mediocre at best so I still have to figure out whether I'm going to bring my clubs for the trip.

I mean, really, who wants to play a pasture like this?

The glorious par three 7th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links

In all seriousness, I'm in "Bucket List" sensory overload right now just thinking about the possibility of playing Pebble for the first time. That said, for a resort course, it's difficult to gain access and it certainly is among the most expensive green fees in golf but I'm going to prepare to ante up for this once in a lifetime experience.

We'll see what else I can arrange but it may be tough, since the majority of courses out there are extremely private. Either way, it will be a wonderful trip!

That's all for now. You can soon look forward to seeing a profile of the course that ScoreGolf's panel rates as the best in our country, The National Golf Club of Canada. I should have that profile completed within the next day or two.



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