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Putting the Bogeyman Back into Hibernation

So I’m cruising through the latest Toronto Star golf guide. It is a usual read — I’ve been digging into it for years with varying degrees of satisfaction. This year’s edition is edited by Jim Byers, a journalist I like a lot (his article on golf in China is worth a read). Starting there, I’ll tell you what I don’t like — I despise the Star’s Bogeyman.

Sure Bob Marshall, a teacher who was outed as the anonymous course reviewer a couple of years ago, has “retired” from the role, but the Star felt it needed to bring him back to give me a gag-inducing list of “top courses” from the GTA. Not that much has changed.

Here’s his list:

TOP 10: GTA PUBLIC COURSES

1. Bond Head North
2. Eagles Nest
3. Copper Creek
4. Wooden Sticks
5. Glen Abbey
6. Lionhead Legends
7. Angus Glen South
8. Woodington Lake
9. Osprey Valley
10.Royal Ontario

TOP 10 BEYOND THE GTA COURSES

1. Muskoka Bay
2. Taboo
3. Black Bear Ridge
4. Deerhurst Highlands
5. Legends on the Niagara
6. LochNess Links
7. Tangle Creek
8. Copetown Woods
9. Timber Ridge
10.Atoka (Cranberry Resort)

Okay, where to start? Well, I thought the Star, with its left-of-Lenin leanings and do-good social liberalism, would have been the paper for the everyman golfer, right? Turns out that isn’t the case. It turns out half of the 20 courses listed would cost you more than $125 to play. That’s exactly what a blue-collar teacher would typically tackle on Saturdays, right? Maybe Ontario Teachers Pension Plan is making these retired instructors too much money — or there’s something a bit off with this list. Why not provide a list that offers value? Okay, Timber Ridge and Copetown are on it, as is Osprey Valley, but that’s about it.

As for the actual rankings — what a joke. I actually don’t know anyone who could argue the North course at Bond Head is a better design or experience than the South course. I’m willing to listen if someone will give it a shot — but I don’t think it is possible. And while it is hard to argue with Copper Creek or Eagles Nest as fine courses, what’s the deal with Lionhead? The Bogeyman always loved this course, it of the small, poorly considered greens, overly difficult tee shots marred by tons of forced carries, and six hour rounds. Truth be told, he’s about the only one that thinks Lionhead Legends is better than Angus Glen South.

At least he isn’t including Muskoka courses in amongst his rankings of “GTA” tracks any longer. But where is Bigwin Island? If Muskoka Bay is there — should Bigwin be around too? And does he really think Deerfield has great greens? I’m not even going there — but I think that pretty much discounts every opinion he has.

Years ago, the Star issued a Bogeyman book. It was small and in colour, and I purchased it at Costco (then Price Club). It fell apart soon afterwards, with pages ending up all over my office. Like the Bogeyman’s opinions, it wasn’t held together by much of a foundation.

Here’s hoping the Bogeyman stays retired. I, for one, have had enough.

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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

  • The biggest surprise to me on this list is Woodington Lakes.

    I have not played a lot of the other GTA courses, not listed here, but one which I have played and would take over Woodington is Silver Lakes.

    Too many blind tee shots at Woodington, at least if he is talking about the Original course, have not played the new one.

  • I think you are the joke Robert, in thinking that you know anything about golf. Please stick to reporting scores. ie. Wooods minus , etc, this way you won’t make a fool of yourself. Everyone is laughing at you because you are a joke

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