Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Golf Hibernation Commences

I'll just start by saying the obvious...

I've had an incredible year on the golf course.

But all great things must come to an end and it looks like I will be putting the clubs away for good until the spring, as I usually do once we pass Canadian Thanksgiving.

I'll save my annual epilogue for December in my customary "Year in Review" post but I will say that I ended 2013 on a high note. When I last wrote, I indicated that I was heading down to New York for a brief golf trip to play a couple of top 100 in the U.S. tracks. As it turns out, both of the courses I was lucky enough to play sit on the Golf Magazine list of top 100 courses in the world as well, with those clubs being the incredibly charming Maidstone in East Hampton, NY and the highly celebrated Shinnecock Hills GC in Southampton, NY.

Most of my friends have no knowledge of Maidstone and despite the fact that it sits 67th on the most recent Golf Magazine world list, I'd say it's quite underappreciated by the public at large, likely due to its exclusivity. It's a course I could play every day for the rest of my life and never tire of its pleasures. It's an absolute joy to play and at less than 6500 yards from the tips, an enjoyable experience for any level of player.

The awesome par three 14th hole at Maidstone Club

Shinnecock, on the other hand, is a beautiful brute and very well may be the best and most difficult golf course I've ever had the pleasure of playing. Rated 5th in the world by Golf Magazine, this William Flynn masterpiece features incredible land, strategic play at every turn and a truly wonderful set of green complexes. Like Oakmont, another famously difficult golf course that has hosted major events, Shinnecock is eminently fair, with plenty of width but is completely exposed to the elements, with wind especially being a major factor. The day I played, we enjoyed a spectacular sunny autumn day, with temperatures around 24 degrees celsius and an incredibly FUN 3-club wind!

Standing on the glorious par five 16th at Shinnecock Hills GC - I'm in the black shirt

In between those rounds, I had a great dinner with a bunch of fellow architecture aficionados in Southampton. What a great trip! You can definitely look forward to full profiles of both of these classic courses sometime soon - the pictures turned out great.

My last round of the year took place a week and a half ago on Canadian Thanksgiving Monday in the 3rd Annual Turkey 2 Ball event that I put on at my home club in St. Catharines. We had an incredible 32 man field for this year's event and a $4000.00 prize purse and while my game was mediocre at best, I had a great partner in Will G, who carried my sorry butt to a second place tie and a nice $600.00 payday for the two of us, with an additional $100.00 or so in successful wagers. It's a great event, with many of the club's best players taking part and I'm thrilled that it continues to be a tournament that the guys look forward to.

It was a great way to end the year on the course.