My interests in golf exploded after my first round with my Dad at a 9-hole par on the border of Burlington and Oakville, ON, I was 10 years old. From excitement to getting the ball airborne, being able to make a ‘divot’ and that being ok (versus the backyard at home where it was frowned upon) and the greatest feeling of all, reaching in the hole to grab my golf ball! I was hooked. My interests culminated when I was 12 years old. My parents paid for a junior golf membership at Chedoke, a municipal 36-hole club in Hamilton. I was dropped off each morning before 7:00, eating breakfast at the course. I would practice for almost three hours since juniors could not tee off until 10:00 am. I enjoyed playing with senior members more than other juniors; I was new, shy, and enjoyed the challenge of the game more than socializing. Seniors were always friendly and accommodating to my limitations. I could only hit the ball about 150 yards but almost always straight as an arrow. My highlight was an August round where I first broke 100, including the closest I have ever come to an ace on the elevated par 3 10th hole (missing by about 3”…and my excitement and nerves were so heightened I’m sure it wasn’t a gimme!)
But before all that, before the endless summer of golf and after my first round were recollections of long winters. My excitement for the new golf season would see me organize my golf balls, tees and other accessories. I had a red golf bag and a seven club set of Spalding Tournament clubs. My carpeting in my room was shag, not great for putting practice but I did learn it was ideal for chipping practice! The odd skulled chip with my Canada Cup golf balls off the wood paneling would solicit the regular yells to quit practicing in the house.
Then it would come, usually in late March. Weather warm enough to finally show green grass in the backyard! The ground was thawing and I took my driver or 3 wood and some plastic balls and teed it up and let ‘em fly! The tall pines would eat many of the plastic balls but after a long winter it felt so amazing to get back outside.
This has been a long winter for most of the country, especially southern Ontario which has had a colder than normal winter. Just like when I was 12 I have an excitement for warmer weather…the first hint of green grass means we’re that much closer to getting out! Alternatively, I may not wait and take advantage of Camisle…a public golf course in Burlington, Ontario which is open 364 days a year (they have sweepers to keep fairways and greens clear of snow). I’ll have to write about the year I played on Christmas Eve!