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Golfing With Rube, Weeksy and the Ian at Maple Downs

I had an intriguing morning, teeing it up with Score Golf editor Bob Weeks, Globe and Mail columnist Lorne Rubenstein and golf travel writer extraordinaire Ian Cruickshank.

Needless to say, it was an intriguing group. Me, battling hook and trying to hold my game together with duct tape; Rube, carrying a quiver bag and seven clubs; Weeks, with his easy fade off the tee; and Ian, whose game was better than I recalled.

Interestingly, it was hardly a competitive outing. We walked, played quickly and told stories. Mainly it involved me listening to Lorne’s tales of interviews with Montgomerie (“Who are you again? You’re not out here much, are you?” Monty once asked Lorne after a probing question), as well as some industry gossip about golf courses and golf pros. Of course there was also the talk of Canadian tour pros. All of us agreed that Stephen Ames’ newfound ease with the media is remarkable — especially considering Weeks, while doing a TV spot, said he once asked Stephen about what he was looking forward to the following his round, and Ames grabbed the mike and said, “Yes, dinner.”

“But that was the old Stephen,” Weeks said.

Now Ames is a go to guy for the U.S. media who like his quick quotes and honesty. Quite a change.

Overall, the experience was intriguing. I remember when I first started into golf writing a decade ago that I couldn’t get Bob to return my calls and would never have envisioned myself playing golf with Lorne.

As far as I know, no one kept score. There were a couple of birdies (Lorne had one from off the 5th green, Ian had one on 9 and I made one on the short par four 12th), but it was more of a social game.

However, my favourite discussion involved why Rod Black shaved his mustache. Apparently while covering the Jays and the Yankees, a ball was hit back into the booth where Black and Pat Tabler were calling the game. The Yankees broadcaster said something to the extent of: “There is former Blue Jay Pat Tabler, who is now doing colour commentary for the Jays, and who is that next to him? Why it is Ron Burgundy.” So Black shaved the ‘stache. I’ve met Rod on a number of occasions and he’s always been very pleasant. But that’s a damned funny story.

Oh, and I really, really like Maple Downs. I’ve yet to do a review, but it is an intriguing course with great land built at a time (the late 1950s) that turned out to be a wasteland for Canadian golf design. It has neat rolling fairways, a couple of cool and funky blind shots and a great mix of holes. Good fun.

Separated at birth?

[photopress:ronburgandy_1.jpg,full,alignleft][photopress:rodblack_1.jpg,full,alignright]

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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.

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Nice post, Robert. Interesting and fun. I enjoyed the insider stuff, which I can’t get from many other sources.

    Peter

  • Interesting that Bob Weeks would not return your calls. I always thought he was a jerk and full of himself and now you confirmed it for us.

    Thanks

  • I actually find Bob quite pleasant and good fun to talk to. When I first tried to contact him I didn’t have all that much experience — and I’m not surprised he didn’t call me back. He’s a busy guy and I wasn’t very well known.

    When the time was right, I started writing a lot for Score and Bob, and can safely say he’s assigning interesting, thought provoking stories, and I’m thrilled to have written several of them for him.

    A jerk? I’d say far from it. A “professional” would be a more apt description, and one that has his hands in many pots.

  • Hey “So Weeks is a Jerk”:

    Not returning phones equates to being a jerk? What planet are you from?

    Returning phone calls is a lofty goal that I am sure most people have…actually doing it is another story….especially when many calls come from complete strangers looking to sell you something and have likely not demonstrated that what they have to sell is for something that you are interested.

    Given Bob Weeks’ relative high profile in the Canadian golf media, I suspect his time is highly valuable and he must make decisions on where to spend it. Returning phone calls from strangers would rank low on his (or any other busy professional’s) priority list.

  • I worked for a summer at Maple Downs 20 years ago (man I’m getting old), and all I can recall is that it was perhaps the BEST conditioned course I’ve ever played on…and not too many members seemed to play it in the afternoons!(?)

    As for “Rod Black of all Trades”, nice to read this story, which I will copy & paste to friends who share a disdain for Rod!!

  • Maple Downs is one of the secret really good, fun to play, private golf clubs. They used to have a fine Pro Am. “The fastest greens north of highway 7” is something I remember Moe Norman saying “Including the National, including the National”. Gary Bowerman, Leon Decaire, George Clifton, Irv Lightstone, Sam Young, Ken Venning, Rod Binns-the list of pro shop characters goes on and on..
    I thought Rod Black did a good post game interview with the 5 international players at Telus Skins game. It was pretty hard since none of them are easy interviews (how were they picked again? why a fiveball?)

  • I knew Gary Bowerman when we were kids. I knew his grandparents far better as they lived just next door to us in Bloomfield, Ontario. I’ve found very little about Gary on the NET and wonder if you could point out some bio sources. I believe he won the BC Open shortly before he died. Thanks.

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