I ventured out for a golf game on Saturday, only a few weeks removed from my planned trip to the South-West of Ireland. I figured there was only one place to start preparing for that trip — Taradowah near Avon, Ont. Okay, maybe three if you include Devil’s Paintbrush and Osprey Valley Heathlands, though I don’t know if either of those courses are actually open.
Anyway, my threesome gathered Saturday morning, and though it was bright enough out, there was a distinct nip in the air when we were warming up on the driving range. Despite that the course still had 130 on its tee sheet for the day. We set out — golf designer Ian Andrew, who was visiting the course for the first time, and my good friend and scratch player, Kelly — and banged it around in just under four hours, a fine pace considering how wet the course was in places.
I had a pretty good idea of what to expect after missing the green on the first hole and finding the back, an area obscured by trees, covered in snow. Though the course was largely devoid of the nasty white stuff, some managed to hang on in a few spots, though I suspect it was all gone by Sunday. Beyond that, the course was wet, but very playable. Nothing a few days of sun won’t take care of.
The remarkable thing about the course was the greens — perfectly smooth and in mid-season form, it made the round a lot of fun. Typical spring golf features slow and bumpy putting surfaces, but that wasn’t the case at Tarandowah.
As for our games, well, I didn’t expect much. Kelly managed an eagle on the 9th to shoot even par, though I don’t know how he finished. Ian hit some fine drives, and I had a typical early season round, somehow making birdie on the nasty 16th, and following that by bombing one into the trees on 17. Standard inconsistent spring golf — but delightful anyway.
By the time we hit the clubhouse for a hot dog and a Stella, it felt like mid-June. The weather had warmed and we sat wiping ketchup off our faces while watching the groups behind us come in to the 18th green. Golf season was officially off and running, even if the RCGA’s handicap tracking software won’t record my 85 until April 15.