Galt’s 100th, Lepp turns pro; 59 at Forest City

17th-afterYesterday I spent some time in Cambridge, where Galt Golf & CC was celebrating its 100th anniversary with a media outing. In fact, it was really its 100th anniversary — since the club was incorporated on June 8, 1906.

Galt is one of those Stanley Thompson courses where little Thompson still exists, but is a strong, interesting effort nonetheless. Short, at just over 6,300 yards, the course was significantly reworked by both Bob Moote (a former associate of Thompson) and Ian Andrew (who was working for Doug Carrick at the time). Now 15 holes rest on land overlooking the Grand River, while three new ones, first opened last year, sit next to the river. The upper holes have great character, with large trees and interesting, rolling land. Despite being built on only 100 acres, the course never feels like a shooting gallery, which is a testament to the work Moote did on the property.

Andrew’s holes are part of an exceptionally tough finish — including back-to-back 450 yard par fours. Like much of the work out of the Carrick office (Andrew now works for his own firm, Ian Andrew Golf Design), the fairways don’t appear that wide off the tee, but the actual surface is much larger than it appears. The bunkering on the new holes nicely matched the existing style and the holes, especially the 17th, capture some of the spirit of the existing holes, though on much different property.

In North America, not that many clubs have existed for 100 years. It is a remarkable accomplishment and I found Galt to be a friendly club with a fine, and occasionally fascinating, golf course.

In a widely anticipated move, Canadian and former NCAA champ James Lepp is making the jump to the pros.

“I didn’t want to play any more amateur events,” said Lepp, 22, of Abbotsford, B.C. “There’s only so much you can learn as an amateur. I’ve had a lot of success and I was ready to move on.”

He’ll play on the Canadian Tour next week, but Lepp has bigger aspirations — the PGA Tour, as the Globe’s Michael Grange points out in the paper today.

Lepp also announced he’s being represented by IMG Canada, which also represents Canadian PGA Tour players Mike Weir, Stephen Ames, Jon Mills and Ian Leggatt. The sports agency is throwing its considerable heft behind Lepp and is expecting to get him seven exemptions into PGA Tour events in the summer, the maximum allowed for a non-member.

He is already confirmed for the Bell Canadian Open in September, but his first PGA Tour start could come this month at the Booz Allen Classic. If Lepp can earn more in his starts than the 125th player on the PGA Tour money list, he’ll secure his tour card for next season.

The entire story is here.

John Herbet of the London Free Press writes about Nicholas Wheeler, a Canadian amateur playing on a scholarship to the US, shooting 59 at Forest City National in London. Remarkably, apparently Wheeler has never shot in the 60s in the past, which makes the story a bit suspicious in my mind.

Wheeler’s round included birdies on his first six holes and his final three. The course measured 6,850 yards. In total, he had 13 birdies and six pars.

“No one could believe it — not even me,” said Wheeler, 21. “It was something else . . . just one of those days. I was just waiting for the nerves to kick in, which they usually do for me, but I wasn’t nervous at all down the stretch.”

Wheeler’s previous best score from the back tees was 71.

“I’ve never shot in the 60s,” Wheeler said.

However, the story says the score breaks the course record held by Tim Clark (now on the PGA Tour), who shot 62 at the CPGA Championship a number of years back. I think that’s wrong. Clark shot his 62 in competition, which is far different from shooting it on a casual round during a weekday afternoon. The story is here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • That story also says Phil Mickelson, Al Geiberger and Annika Sorenstam are the only golfers to shoot 59 in U.S. professional play. First of all, Mickelson’s came in the Grand Slam, which isn’t really an official tournament. But he also missed David Duval and Chip Beck, who also have 59s.

  • Not to knock the writer, but to me the main “suspicion” of the story was the golf writer as I would think that any golf writer would know about Duval and Beck, and not put Mickelson in that list, though I can understand the inclusion of him as casaul golf fans would at least recognize him, and possibly Annika. I have no doubt in the actual feat, though, as it was witnessed by others who played with him. Regardless, very impressive.

  • 13 birdies and 6 pars? wow. forest city must have installed one of those “en vogue” 19th holes.

  • It is absolutely astonishing that when an individual goes out and shots an impressive round such as 59 that some people (writer’s included) feel that it is there duty to denounce it.

    I am truly appalled at Mr. Thompson’s view that the round was “a bit suspicious in [his] mind”. For someone that is trying to promote the game of golf in Canada, I will say he is doing a remarkable job with comments like this! Knowing Mr. Wheeler for 15 years now, I have no doubt in the validity of this round and his character. I recommend that in the future, when such a feat is accomplished in a credible fashion such as what has expired, we praise it rather than denounce its credibility. And Mr. Thompson, despite Mr. Herbet’s blunders, I am sure along the way in your career you have heard somewhere of accurate journalism? Like Scott Wheeler pointed out, maybe you should have done a little work yourself, like picking up a phone, before making your opinion on someone else’s accomplishment public. That is unless now you question the character of CPGA certified professionals?

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