Last night, designer and occasional golfing companion Ian Andrew invited myself, Globe and Mail golf columnist Lorne Rubenstein and Bob Weeks out for dinner to just sit around and talk about all things golf. Well, Weeks had to bail for a family commitment, but that didn’t mean we didn’t have a great time eating food and talking golf at a little hole-in-the-wall Yonge Street.
Though he’s my direct competitor at the Globe, I find Rubenstein to be a fascinating character. He’s 20 years old than me, old enough to have written to Ben Hogan about an interview and have received a letter of response back from the legend.
I’m not going into detail about our discussion — the first rule of Golf Night Out being what goes on at Golf Night Out stays at Golf Night Out — but some of the topics were fascinating and it is always interesting to hear stories from Lorne about those he has interviewed or worked with over the years.
One thing we did talk about was golf rating systems and how, in the end, they are all pretty much flawed. Magazines can have the best intentions, but in the end, all rating systems where the participants are treated differently or haven’t all seen the same courses, is going to have issues. And that’s pretty much every ratings system.
That said, we all agreed that Maple Downs near Eagles Nest is one of those courses that has been unfairly overlooked in Canada.
Beyond that, we spoke about David Duval — both Lorne and I enjoyed interviewing him — the new course Angus Glen owner Gordon Stollery is building with Martin Ebert in Uxbridge, and the politics of blogging with Ian Andrew. After nearly a year of blogging, Ian’s site, The Caddy Shack, has captured a lot of attention from those interested in golf architecture. Some of that, unfortunately, has come from some of the clubs he’s worked at who aren’t always comfortable about being discussed on his site. That’s a shame because Ian largely is genuinely positive about the clubs he works with and some of them can certainly use the positive exposure. However, they are private clubs, and sometimes, well, they don’t like being seen in public.
At the end, as the clock clicked towards 11 and the three of us were the only ones in the room, I’m sure the staff were wondering the identity of the three guys sitting in the corner talking about “Baker-Finch,” some guy named Seve and the benefits of inclusion in a private club. I’m sure they thought we were planning some big heist, like in the Usual Suspects.
But we were really just talking golf and agreed to continue the conversation in the spring over a round at Devil’s Paintbrush, a course we were all very much in agreeance about.