It is hard to communicate — even for a writer — the feelings I had when the Going for the Green book finally showed up at my house a few weeks back. It included over a year’s worth of work, 20 interviews that were conducted over four months on 19 different golf courses (only Mount Bruno, the ultra-quiet course outside of Montreal, is included twice). Those interviews required more trips to Pearson than I’d like to count, though surprisingly Air Canada only lost my luggage once.
Over the course of the book, I met Jack Nicklaus on Vancouver Island, drank wine with Mike Weir in PEI, and played several of the best golf courses in the country — from Shaughnessy in Vancouver to Crowbush Cove in Prince Edward Island. It wasn’t without its occasional difficulties. Eugene Melnyk only had time for nine holes, which we squeezed in at Eagles Nest, and Ron Joyce’s back was so bad that he left the course after a handful of holes at Fox Harb’r.
Of course there were surprises as well — showing up at Fox Creek outside Moncton to find Frank McKenna had invited Teck Cominco chair Norm Keevil along for the round, as well as his former right hand man when he was premier, Francis Maguire. I had the opportunity to see Vijay Singh scream at someone on his cell phone outside of a dinner in PEI where I’d played the day before with Brad Pelletier, the head of IMG Canada. Not sure what that was about — but it sure was animated.
I had several brown pops with Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams, who may be one of the smartest men I’ve ever spent time with, and lost a buck in a match to JP Ouelett at Bruno, after he nearly made an ace on the third hole. He’s the best playing banker I’ve had the chance to tip it up with. Thank goodness for the 99% discount he offered on our match if I had cash.
The rounds didn’t always work out as planned. Ralph Klein had indigestion and was cranky. I’ve played golf with Alberta’s former premier twice and still can’t figure him out or understand his populist appeal.
The book launch is on May 6 starting at 6. It should bring this part of my life to a conclusion. There are already more projects teed up. It’ll be fun to hoist a drink or two to celebrate the start of this book’s public life. And for all those that will buy the book in coming weeks and months, my heartfelt thanks. I hope you find it as enjoyable to read as it was to write.
Update: Bob Weeks at Score, who graciously wrote the foreward, gives the book a shout out.