I flew into Vancouver early — damned early — yesterday, and found myself on the range at Shaughnessy G & CC by 10 am. The day was terrific. I was at the club to play with Norm Keevil, the chairman of mining giant Teck Cominco as part of my Going for the Green book that will appear next year.
I’m a big fan of Shaughnessy — it is a fascinating AV Macan design that utilizes a relatively flattish piece of property with some subtle rolls and huge trees, as well as some great vistas of the nearby water. It played extremely tough during the Canadian Open in 2005, and it would be nice to see the event return again soon.
It will have to — if it wants to be played at Shaughnessy as we know it. The course is built on land leased from a local native band, and the lease ends within two decades. That’s left the club looking for a new location — as it feels the lease will not be renewed given the value of the land the course sits on.
According to what I heard at the club yesterday, the club has acquired Green Acres Golf Club and some additional land and intends on reworking the course and turning it into its new home. Doug Carrick had previously been retained to build the new course for the club — though I’m not sure if that’s still the plan.
After my round, I met with Dick Zokol.
“Where do you want to go to eat?”
Dick laughingly suggested the Bull Pen, the much-discussed men’s lounge at Marine Drive Golf Club, the club that has been home to so many great golfers — from Zokol to Doug Roxburgh. The course is super tight — built on just over 90 acres — so apparently you either hit the ball straight or don’t play there.
For those who don’t know about the saga of the Bull Pen — go here. Essentially a group of female members at Marine Drive have pursued a lengthy lawsuit against the club, asking for access to the men’s lounge. So far they’ve repeatedly lost.
I think Dick was surprised when I said that yes, indeed, I’d love to go to the Bull Pen.
In my mind the place must somehow be quite lurid, somewhat akin to a strip club, where male members sat around naked and played cards, just as they do in some American private men’s only clubs.
When we walked in — the sign “Bull Pen” is clearly indicated on the door — I was a bit disappointed. The Bull Pen is simply a big lounge with lots of wood on the walls and a nice bar, as well as a TV playing the Vancouver Canucks game. No posters of Pamela Anderson could be seen anywhere. Color me unimpressed.
We sat down for a beer and soon the men’s night participants started filing in, including club president Brian Butters (an apparently G4G reader), as well as a member of the club who has regularly posted on this site. I spoke with Butters briefly about the situation, and he seems pretty certain the women’s final appeal — to Canada’s Supreme Court — will be turned down, as all previous court cases have been. He’s probably right — and after having seen the Bull Pen, I’m surprised at all the hysteria around something that appears pretty mundane.