My Top 5 Golfing Moments of 2014
5 – Waskesiu Golf Course, Prince Albert National Park, Waskesiu Lake, SK
I’ve grown savvy over time to straddle business travel with an extra day or two to play golf at some of Canada’s best courses and to cross courses off my Bucket List. Business in Saskatoon in June allowed me a chance to travel north of Prince Albert to the resort community of Waskesiu Lake to play their Stanley Thompson designed course. I loved it! The layout was fantastic and the people were even better. My game was horrid but the experience, including the chance to meet staff and learn about some of the rich history of this course and the infamous Lobstick tree were memories I’ll treasure (along with the keepsake historical book of the course I was offered as a gift). Read my course review here. I’d happily go back and hope I’ll have the chance to do so one day…even if it’s only 6c in mid-June!
4. Starting a New Golf Blog
The motivating factor for this is not as clear now as it was almost 9 months ago. But I do know my passion for the game of golf is only increasing over time. I love the diversity of great golf which exists in Canada and am very privileged to have chances to play some of the best public golf courses across the country. This blog is a chance for me to share my experiences and perspectives but it has also been a chance to meet and engage other passionate golfers around the world. The blog has allowed me to reach out and communicate with some of Canada’s leading golf writers and journalists, and that has been very exciting and informative. I am looking forward to the future of this blog and sharing more about public golf, golf travel and other issues for the game here in Canada.
3. Shooting my personal best – 74 (+2)
I’ll come clean, the tees were moved well up and the course was likely about 5700 yards but I still had to keep it in play, hit greens and roll in putts. And on a cool, damp and increasingly blustery Sunday afternoon in Hamilton, Ontario I was on my game. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt in control of my emotions and my shot making. I’m proud of how I shot but more proud of my mental approach to the round. I was able to slow things down, focus on each shot and not get caught up in the score but focus on the process. It was awesome. I’ve played my best golf this fall and a 36-38 is a great way to culminate a successful season. The +2 also included a penalty stroke on a par 3…I know, I know. The 2015 season can’t get here quick enough.
This is one of the most unique, enjoyable and challenging golf courses I’ve ever played. Set in the dunes, just south of Saskatoon, this Graham Cooke design uses a rugged dune landscape to shape and define itself. Located on Whitecap Dakota First Nation, this is a championship course which plays host to an annual PGA Tour Canada, Dakota Dunes Open event. My round had me playing with the Course Superintendent who was working just as hard on assessing the courses’ readiness for the tour players as he was his own game. Our bright and early 6am tee time provided for a tranquil and relaxed morning. And yes, it was another frosty June round in Saskatchewan with a tee time temperature of 4c. I atoned for my poor play at Waskesiu with a solid round and had another memorable and enjoyable golf experience in a beautiful part of the country. Golf in Saskatchewan, be sure to check it out.
1. Breaking the Single Digit Handicap Barrier
One of the amazing things about golf that draws me back so regularly is the challenge to improve. Within the past 5 years I have begun taking the game, and my commitment to improve, more seriously. Lessons, club fittings, practice, (somewhat) regular play and now my interests in reading and writing about golf are all part of my plans to improve and play my best. Since 2008 my handicap was mired around 11 and I was unable to break the elusive single-digit barrier. Extensive and very strong play before the end of the official season in Ontario allowed my handicap to drop to its current 8.8 I am very proud of my hard work but now it’s time to recalibrate and set new goals to take this even lower. I’m more driven than ever to get better. I’m working out regularly and continue to practice over the winter months. I planned to play on December 6 on a local course which remains open but was unable to make it happen. Still, some courses in the area remain open until snowfall dictates they can’t. I’m pleased and proud. It’s been a long journey.