Category Archives: Golf

They all have something to offer

Every November, Gail and some of her friends do a scrapbooking getaway weekend in Collingwood. They leave their husbands and kids behind, rent a chalet for the weekend and spend the whole time scrapbooking and chatting, go out for a nice dinner on Saturday night, and one year they even managed to arrange for someone to come to the chalet and give massages and pedicures. They look forward to this weekend all year, and on more than one occasion, Gail has suggested that the guys get together and do something similar (though likely involving golf rather than scrapbooking). We agreed that it was a good idea, but in typical guy fashion, none of us ever got off their ass and actually did anything about it.

Last November when the girls were away, they decided to book the same chalet for us on Father’s Day weekend as a Father’s Day gift. They kept it a secret from us for six months — I found out about it a little over a week ago. On Friday afternoon, six of us arrived at the chalet near the base of Blue Mountain. Jeff’s wife sent up a bunch of food — shrimp, burgers, hot dogs, snacks, a veggie tray, dips, and even breakfast stuff like cereal, bagels, and yogurt. Each of us brought up some of our favourite “frosty beverages”, and luckily someone was smart enough to bring up a case of water. The girls had booked a tee time for Saturday as well, so in addition to our golf clubs, we brought some cards and poker chips, Jeff brought his XBox 360, Mike brought his Wii, and Mike and I each brought our Guitar Hero guitars. As it turned out, the XBox never even got unpacked, and only one Wii game was played all weekend.

Friday evening we fired up the Wii to give Guitar Hero a try. Steve, Mike, Doug and I had played it a lot, Paul had played it a couple of times, but Jeff had never even seen it. Jeff can master just about any video game in minutes, so within a couple of hours, he was trying (and doing well at) the medium difficulty level. We took a break to barbecue some burgers, and then headed out to a nearby driving range, since most of us had yet to hit a golf ball this year. After that, we played some cards for a while, then back to Guitar Hero until one by one, the guys grew sleepy and went to bed.

We had tee-off times set for 9:40 and 9:50 the next morning at nearby Monterra. Steve, Doug, and myself made up the first group, while Jeff, Paul, and Mike teed off after us. We got carts, but because it had been so wet this past week, we had to stay on the cart paths. This was a bit of a problem for me, since the cart paths almost always went up the right side of the fairway, and as a left-handed golfer, my ball frequently ended up on the left side. So I’d end up driving the cart partway up the fairway, walking across the fairway, hitting my shot, then walking back to the cart and driving further up (sometimes not very far) before walking back across the fairway again. Monterra is a very nice course, and although there were a ton of bunkers, I only ended up in the sand a couple of times. I did lose a few balls in the woods and in the water (including three on a single hole), but I played OK. My driving was pretty decent and my short game was better than usual. My putting is usually the strongest part of my golf game, and it wasn’t terrible on Saturday, but just wasn’t quite up to snuff. I had two birdie putts on the day, but ended up bogeying both of them and finished the day with no pars or birdies. I play three or four times a year, usually in scramble-format golf tournaments, so I don’t remember the last time I played a full 18 holes. We were all pretty wiped out by the end of the round.

After golf, we went back to the chalet for some much-anticipated showers (it was pretty warm, but not stifling — pretty close to perfect golf weather, actually), and a little more Guitar Hero before heading back into the Blue Mountain village for dinner at a restaurant called Kaytoo. The food was very good though a little pricey. I had the ribs and found them rather fatty, but the steaks that some of the guys had looked pretty good. The atmosphere was great, however, and we had an absolutely wonderful server named Alison. She took care of us from the moment we sat down, gave us food and drink suggestions, and when we half-jokingly asked her what we could get for her, she said that she was allowed to have shots with customers. We asked what she liked, and she said tequila, so she had a tequila shot with us. I also enjoyed a “depth charge”, aka “Dr. Pepper” — pour beer and Coke into a large glass, then fill a shot glass with Amaretto. Drop the entire shot glass into the large glass and drink the whole thing. I haven’t had one of those in many many years. Anyway, back to Alison — I wouldn’t say she was flirting with us, exactly, but she was certainly attentive. We all knew full well that she was essentially playing us for a big tip — her attentiveness was not because she found the six of us (all fortyish greying and/or balding men) sexy, but because she knew that we’d find her attention flattering and tip her well. And she was right. But we spent almost four hours at Kaytoo, and had a fantastic time at dinner. Alison, if you’re reading this, thank you once again.

After dinner, it was back to the chalet for some Texas Hold-Em, which I inexplicably won. Unfortunately, we weren’t playing for money, so my payoff was simply bragging rights, but hey, that’s worth something. Two people had already gone to bed by the time the game ended, and the rest of us soon followed.

This morning was spent cleaning up, packing up, and playing a few last games of Guitar Hero, and then we headed home. The six of us have known each other for at least fifteen years, and some well over twenty. I lived with Jeff and Steve in residence in first year university (1987-88), and I ended up living with Jeff all the way through university, and with Steve again in third and part of fourth year. Jeff was best man at my wedding, Doug was best man at Jeff’s, and Paul and I were also in Jeff’s wedding party. Paul was the MC for both my wedding and Jeff’s, and Mike played the piano at my wedding as well. Paul, Jeff, and Doug all went to high school together. Notably missing was Faisal, who was also in my wedding party, and with whom I also lived throughout university, and have known since grade nine (1982). Fais was at a conference in Quebec City, so hopefully he will be able to make it next year. These guys are my best friends in the world, and I look forward to many more of these Father’s Day weekends in the future. Guys, we said it a number of times this past weekend — we should have gotten off our butts and organized one of these things years ago.


Golf tournament

I played in the Deiter’s Love
Memorial Golf Tournament this past weekend in Strathroy (west of London). I
played in it last
as well, and also designed and built the website. The tournament is
in memory of Deiter Rombouts, who was born prematurely and needed a liver and
bowel transplant, and
possibly a stomach and pancreas transplant as well. Deiter passed away at the age
of six months while still on the transplant waiting list. These are the same four organs
that our friend Sarah received when she was six months old, and that was over
nine years ago. While Sarah was in the hospital in London for one of
her many surgeries, her mom Cindy met Deiter’s parents (Stacy and John) and became
friends, and we met them through Cindy. Stacy and John started running this
golf tournament and silent
auction to raise money and awareness for organ donation, and I am proud to be
part of it. I’ve signed my organ donation
card — have you?

I played with my friends Steve, Jeff, and Doug, and we finished the day
with a 2 under par 69. I got to use my new
, and actually
hit it pretty well a couple of times. One of those times, I hit
it too far, and we used Steve’s drive (it’s a best-ball tournament)
because it was further back and gave us a better shot at the green. (Of course,
he used a 5-iron, and I only outdrove him with my big-ass driver by about 30
yards, but still.) The winning team shot 10 under, so we didn’t come close to
winning (not that we expected to), but we had fun.

Didn’t buy anything at the auction this year. I bid on a few items (Tiger-Cat
tickets, some outdoor speakers for my dad, and I can’t remember what else), but
was outbid on all of them. Not true – I actually bid on and won a little green
ribbon (for organ donation) charm for Gail, but found out later that she
already had one. Silly mistake, but not very expensive ($10), and Gail said it
was a very sweet thing to do, so it won me some husband points. Gail
got a couple of crafty things, and the boys each got some toys. I bid on and won a
putter last year, but I haven’t touched it since, since I like the putter I
have. I should have called Stacy and donated it back so they could auction it off
again this year, but I didn’t think about it until a day or two before the
tournament. I’ll probably donate it to the school silent auction in February.

Coincidence of the week: At last year’s tournament, I bought one of those
bracelets that everyone is wearing (like the Livestrong ones). This one was green
and said “Donate Life”. I didn’t wear it much during the winter, but other than
that, I’ve worn it almost every day since. I wore it again at the golf tournament,
and then when taking it off yesterday, the day after this year’s
tournament, it broke.

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Deiter’s Love Golf Tournament

I played in the Deiter’s Love Golf Tournament this past weekend – this is the one that I’m doing the web site for. There were well over 100 golfers, so it was by far the largest tournament I’ve been in. I was in a group with my friends Jeff, Steve, and Doug, all of whom are better golfers than I am – though Jeff hasn’t golfed much in the past few years, so his game has dropped off a little. I couldn’t hit anything off the tee most of the day, but my short game and putting were pretty good. I did come within about an inch of a natural birdie on a par 4 — we used my tee shot, then my chip pitch onto the green (I learned the difference between a chip and a pitch as well), and then I almost sank the birdie putt. Luckily, someone else sank the putt, and we birdie’d the hole. We played pretty well overall – no bogies at all, and four birdies, so we ended up 4 under, which was good enough for 5th overall. Note that this is the 5th best score overall – there were at least 4 teams with lower scores than us. Could be that 5 teams tied at 5 under, putting us 9th, not 5th.

After the tournament, there was a dinner and a silent auction of hundreds of items ranging from toys to gift baskets, golf equipment to crafty things. There was even a big bag of dog food and a can of ceiling paint. My friend Wendy got the ceiling paint – doesn’t seem that exciting, but she paid less than half of what she would have at a store. Hey, if you need it anyway, may as well.

I bought a couple of things at the auction – a putter and dozen golf balls for about $55 (the golf balls are normally about $25, so I got a pretty nice putter for $30), and a picnic set, which consists of a big cooler bag, and another bag (that attaches to the first one) containing plastic plates, cups, cutlery, a little cutting board and bread knife, and some other stuff. Not bad for about $50.

I’m not really sure why I decided to bid on the putter – maybe just because I golf left-handed, and it was a lefty putter. The thing is, I already have a pretty good putter, which I’m perfectly happy with (used it to sink a long nasty putt on our last hole, thankyouverymuch). I’m probably done golfing for this year, so I’ll have to wait until next spring to figure out which putter to use.

A Special Day

Today is a special day for two reasons: First, it’s Ryan’s 6th birthday today, and second, it’s the first day of school. Ryan started Grade One this morning, though wasn’t sure how he felt about it. I guess Adam told him on the weekend that there’s no playing in grade one (though Adam is himself starting grade one, so maybe Liam told him). We tried to assure him that there was indeed playing in grade one, though perhaps not as much, or maybe a different kind of playing than in SK. We went to see his classroom when we dropped him off this morning, and his teacher happened to be there, so Ryan confirmed with her that they do get play time. After that, and after seeing his SK friends in the YMCA before-school program, he was fine.

Jeff had his annual golf tournament this past weekend, and Gail and I both played in it. There were only 16 golfers playing – I’m sure Jeff’s had a lot more in previous years. Our team included Steve and Laura, both of whom golf a lot more than Gail or I do. Gail only golfs once a year, but she had her worst day ever – she was hitting the ball a lot better at the driving range than on the course. Steve reassured her that everybody hits better at the driving range than on the course. She did rebound on one hole though, and almost got herself a natural par. We used her drive and her chip, and then she left her putt maybe one inch short of the hole. I had a pretty good day – and even got my first-ever birdie. Our team did pretty well – we shot 1-over for the day, placing us second, Steve won the men’s closest to the pin award, and Laura won the women’s longest drive award.

Golf Lessons pay off

I took a few golf lessons last summer – Gail got me three lessons for my birthday. Mainly, the guy adjusted my grip and told me to stop moving my feet so much. He said I had an “open swing”, like Ben Hogan, though I don’t remember what that means.

Anyway, I went out golfing with my friends Ajai and Gordon on Saturday, and found that they really paid off. I shot a 51 for 9 holes, and beat both Ajai and Gord by 4 strokes! I think this was not only the first time I’ve won a golf game, it was the first time I’d ever beaten anyone who plays more than once a year! I was fairly consistent overall – mainly bogeys and doubles, with an 8 and a couple of 7’s to bring me back down to Earth. I lost a few, and took a couple of mulligans, but generally, my driving was very good, my short game didn’t suck as bad as normal, and my putting wasn’t too bad. Thanks to the lessons, I don’t hate my driver any more!

We also played 9 on Sunday at a shorter course, and I didn’t have as good a day – shot a 54, while Gord and Ajai shot 45 and 46. My consistency was all over the map on Sunday – on one hole, I hit a huge drive off the tee into a sand trap, then drilled it from there into another sand trap beside the green, then hit it out of there pretty nicely, setting up a 15-foot par putt. Then I three-putted from there.

I borrowed a “Big Bertha”-type driver from Gordon for a couple of holes on Saturday — way bigger head than my driver, and weighs almost nothing. Both times, I hit it dead straight down the middle of the fairway, close to 300 yards. I must get one…