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Random Ramblings for a Friday

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I’ve had a busy week, largely touring some golf courses (and I’ve seen interesting spots on all of them), playing with some interesting partners, and listening to some intriguing tales:

  • First off, is there a better golf facility in Canada than Osprey Valley? I’m not talking about the clubhouse, cause that’s not a factor for me. I’m talking about the GOLF. And specifically the GOLF COURSES. All three are stunners, though I think the parkland gets a little less love. The Wasteland Course (and I refuse to call them by their branded names) is among designer Doug Carrick’s best. It is terrific off the tee, with a neat mix of harder driving holes and those that are wider. Stunning. And then there’s the Heathland course — which was in splendid shape. It made me remember those nights in the late 1990s when I used to head down with my brother and play their $40 twilight. What a STEAL. This is still one of the purest golf experiences in the country — so why were there only 20 cars in the parking lot on a sunny day? Pro Bob McClure showed me where the proposed lodging would go on the course, though it probably won’t happen anytime soon. Still, what a great stay-and-play spot.
  • Speaking of remarkable conditions, I played both Bond Head Northand Coppinwood in the last two days. Both were in STUNNING condition. I think the North Course at Bond Head has some odd choices for holes — like the uphill second and the even stranger sixth — but the back nine is quite strong and the finisher is terrific. That said, players seem to gravitate to the South Course at Bond Head, which was full on the day I was there this week, while the North was empty. Odd, but maybe not unexpected.
  • Coppinwood has grown in nicely. The course is strong, the clubhouse is excellent and the practice facilities are grand. Interesting to note that hardly anyone tests their three practice holes — less than a thousand players have come through this year, while the course expects around 10,000 rounds for the year. Same is true for the short game practice area at nearby Wyndance. No one uses it. If that’s the case, why do corporations still build them? Wishful thinking?
  • My blood doesn’t get going at Coppinwood until we hit the 11th, the par-3 situated in a bowl. What a fine, natural-looking hole — the best by far on the course.
  • Played with Globe columnist Lorne Rubenstein today. He has an odd swing, but finds every fairway.
  • Coppinwood for the Canadian Open? Don’t be too surprised if it happens.
  • Speaking of the Canadian Open, word has it that Vijay Singh has told people he won’t be coming to Glen Abbey, where he won in 2004. Tournament director Bill Paul says that’s not confirmed. I’ll take his word on it.
  • Oh, and apparently Londoner and up-and-comer Andrew Parr may also be out of luck for the Canadian Open. He is among those that have sent their qualifying application in only to be told the field is full. What a shame. Bill Paul says there are usually lots who withdraw, and that most on the waiting list will get in.
  • Go watch Fairway Stevie at the Titleist Fitting Centre.

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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

  • So now possibly Vijay will be a no show……..

    So how many players from the Top 25 are coming……..Defending champ Furyk and who else………

    The following is from a previous Blog entry which Rob had……
    Update: Just got off the phone with Scott Simmons, ED of the RCGA. He told me he took exception to this blog post, and felt I didn’t give the organization enough credit for making the right steps. I agree that they organization is making the appropriate steps. As Simmons explained, you can’t hope for a better date until the Open demonstrates it is a better event. That means better courses, better treatment of the players and perhaps other factors, like a larger purse. Simmons also assured me there would be more top players in the field. The goal — to create a “best in class,” event, as the marketing lingo goes. When pushed on what that means, Simmons agreed that a “best in class” PGA Tour event has to include much of the Top 10 players of the time — and in this instance at least Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods. I doubt we’ll see either this year, and you probably won’t see either until after the tournament moves away from Glen Abbey. Mickelson didn’t play well there last year, and though Tiger won there, it doesn’t appear to be enough to draw him back.

    So Simmons assured you (Rob) that there would be more top players at the Open………….still waiting for those names………..

  • Wow, it’s been a busy week for the golfing members of Canada’a journalistic community. Bob Weeks and Rube played the member-guest at Maple Downs on Thursday, then Rube and you play again on Friday, this after you’d played some other places earlier in the week. How do you guys get anything done? 🙂

    Sounds like a tough job. Could I trade?

  • Is there a better facility than Osprey – I would argue that nearby complex Devil’s Paintbrush/Pulpit are better. There may be only 36 holes rather than 54 at Osprey but both courses are better than any of the three courses at Osprey and the clubhouse at Osprey is horrible. If Osprey was done right it would be so much better – a decent clubhouse, starting on the correct hole, etc. How many other places in the country could host a tournament for 500 players at once?

  • Played the Wastelands course (Hoot) at Osprey Valley today and once again it proved to be a great experience. Lots of risk reward options, great condition, ground game opportunities, interesting greens, great variety of holes ………………. combined with the Heathlands and Parklands courses and it’s a terrific golf experience!

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