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The Good, The Bad and the Ugly in 2006

I’m an occasional reader and poster at Toronto Golf Nuts, and today someone posted a subject called “The Good and the Bad in 06.” That led me to thinking about my own personal good, bad and ugly involving golf over the course of the year. Here it is:

The Good:

  1. Cobble Beach, a new Doug Carrick course in Owen Sound. This one will have people making the trek north when it opens in June of 2007. The 17th will quickly become one of the most talked about golf holes in Canada.
  2. Ambassador GC in Windsor. An interesting club that shows what can be done with a lousy piece of land.
  3. Shooting 74 just off the plane in Scotland at Western Gailes — in fact the entire trip with my friend and golf architect Ian Andrew.
  4. Returning to Kingsbarns and making birdie on the sixth hole — the third time in four games at the course that I’ve made birdie or better
  5. Playing 91 holes in a golf marathon and raising $1,500 for Big Brothers/Sisters at Angus Glen in July
  6. Making birdie on the 17th at St. George’s to finish off Score editor Jason Logan and pro Cameron Wiebe in a match alongside playing partner and Coppinwood head pro Euan Dougal
  7. Playing in the Canadian Open pro-am with Charles Warren and tying for first
  8. Watching London, Ont.’s Alan McLean shoot 68 at Eagles Nest to set a new course record. Speaking of Alan, he’s mentioned in Lorne Rubenstein’s new Score column found here.
  9. After a year of working on my book with Ron Joyce, I watched Always Fresh hit the best seller lists.
  10. Writing a feature story for Score Magazine on the issues surrounding the RCGA and seeing the story garner a lot of attention.
  11. Joining Scoregolf.com as their online columnist on golf architecture.
  12. Writing a cover story for T&L Golf.
  13. Eagles Nest — still the best public track in the Toronto area.
  14. Watching my friend Ian Andrew become an unquestionable success in the golf architecture business after leaving Carrick Design.
  15. Playing The Raven in Collingwood, without doubt one of the best courses to open in the country this year.
  16. Walking around the Carrick in Scotland with Doug Carrick.
  17. All the readers who dropped by G4G to read and offer their opinions.
  18. Maple Downs. Why don’t more people speak about this terrific and underrated golf course?
  19. Tom Lehman. At the course launch for The Raven at Lora Bay, Lehman spoke openly about his Ryder Cup plans. Then he got his hat handed to him a week later. But I still enjoyed his openness about his thoughts on the matter.

The Bad:

  1. Lionhead. I played the course in a media outing early this year. The facility is in great shape, but the golf course layout is painful.
  2. The state of the Ontario golf business. Courses for sale. Courses not attracting golfers. Struggles all around.
  3. Standing on the first tee at the Old Course in St. Andrews only to be told the course was suddenly closed on a beautiful sunny day.
  4. More average golf courses like Grand Niagara. How can owners expect to draw people to their facilities when they are this average?
  5. The awful weather in October which will make it tough for many courses to make budgets.

The Ugly

  1. Dealing with all of the fallout from writing a feature for Score on the RCGA (see #10 above).
  2. Mystic GC. Its owner insists everything is fine, but employees keep disappearing at an alarming rate and the course’s conditions, apparently due to underfunding, turned the stomachs of visiting golfers.
  3. My encounter with Greg Norman at a ClubLink golf outing in the summer. The Shark is often personable and a great salesman; this time he was just distant, short with me and unpleasant. Here’s hoping his golf course in Uxbridge turns out to be better than early reports indicate it is.
  4. Getting smacked in the head with a golf ball. Sure, maybe my genuine lack of interest in Grand Niagara has something to do with getting my head split open by a golf ball while playing the course in July. But I don’t think that’s the case…
  5. My hook. As one reader aptly points out, I spent much of the year fighting a nasty hook. It is gone now, thankfully, resulting in some good rounds after I came back from Scotland in September.

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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.

16 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Ugly #3…that’s about the usual. He’s got a great reputation for being a collossal phony when the lights are turned off.

    I’ve been a Shark Hater since 92…it’s funny..does anyone LOVE Norman (other than my friend Greg)? I think people respect him, but few love him. Always the way in pro golf…someone to love, someone to respect.
    i.e Everyone loves Arnie, but respects Jack.
    Do people love Tiger? Or do they respect him, and love Phil?

    anyway cheers for a cool weBLOG

  • Robert,
    3 things…
    I tried to read this “good, bad ugly” article on the score newsletter I received. The link didn’t work. you might want to tell them that.

    and I read that vandals attacked Lionhead. Let us know if the vandals are caught. (In spite of scoring birdies on the first hole every time I’ve played it, I don’t really like the layout of Lionhead either)

    and 3rd, congrats on your book.
    I met Mr. Joyce many years ago and he helped me set up a marketing brochure for the community theatres in Oakville and as promised Tim Hortons became one of the sponsors for the first season of the Oakville Drama Series. Nice man.

    You might want to read my book, “Confessions of a Sandbagger”
    and you might want to check my blog
    http://www.SandbaggersAnonymous.blogspot.com

    and I assume your box requesting
    “Mail (will not be published) required”
    is asking for my email address.

    regards,
    J.J. Gowland

  • Thanks RT (good #6). I had forgotten about that loss. It was a nice birdie though, but how many did you make that day? Just kidding.

  • Actually it’s five,but who’s counting. You forgot to mention that I dropped that mail off on you at HGCC with a nice little 68…

  • I think a round of golf at Tarandowah in tiny little Avon, Ontario should have been included in the Good. Interesting place, let’s hope it survives.

  • Always enjoy your comments! Greg Norman, Lee Trevino, Tom Weiskopf were/are always nice when on camera, but wankers after, on their own. I’ve found a lot of my aussie friends are more fun while drinking. Hope Greg Norman doesn’t end Sergio’s career. Agree about Lionhead, unfortunately I haven’t been north long enough to play all the outstanding new courses, like Eagles’s Nest (who replaced Ewan?) . Why won’t a canadian course designer call Sandra Post to collaborate on a course design? she knows women’s golf, is still the youngest pro to win a major, and would certainly have input. cheers,

  • Jamie Trenholme is the Director, Golf Operations at Eagles Nest Gary.

    He’s a great young pro and is doing an awesome job there.

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