Tuesday 1 January 2013

Year in Review - 2012

With only a few hours remaining before 2012 comes to an end, I want to take a little time to reflect upon the past year in my golfing adventures.

On the work front, Grant Golf started the year with high expectations, propelled by the design and completion of a short-game practice facility at Breezy Bend Country Club.  As a past member of the club, I was acutely aware of the need for such facilities, and hope the current membership enjoy not only the short-game area, but the enhanced practice range tee which needed to be completely renovated to accommodate the new work.  

Over the previous winter, Grant Golf had spent many hours helping three new clients trying to get projects off the ground, and we were cautiously optimistic something may start in 2012.  Unfortunately, nothing did.  With financing much harder to secure, two of the three projects are currently in search of investors.  I'll admit to being very disappointed that one of these projects did not actively start this year, as it is situated on a truly wonderful property, with the potential to yield a course of exceptional quality that would be sure to be plastered over the pages of golf magazines throughout Canada.  It is a real opportunity for Grant Golf to expand from a strong regional firm to a national competitor.  There has been some progress in recent months, so I'm crossing my fingers that it comes to fruition in 2013.

It does look promising that work will begin in the latter half of 2013 on a 9-hole expansion to the Lorette Golf Course.  The project is currently in the permitting phase and will be done in conjunction with a residential housing development.  With the severe slow-down in golf development since the economic crash of 2008, new construction work is hard to come by, and we are eagerly awaiting the go-ahead to build some exciting new golf holes.  

On the golfing front, I had a very good year in 2012, which is one of the few benefits to a more lax working schedule!  My game was extremely steady this year, finishing on a handicap of 2.  In the spring, I helped my home club, Glendale G & CC secure a playoff spot in the Mundie Putter League (a competitive 16 team league featuring the top amateurs in the province playing interclub matches).

In late June I ventured out to the Dismal River Club in Mullen, Nebraska to take part in the 5th Major, a 60-man tournament organized by fellow Golf Club Atlas member Eric Smith from Tennessee.  Partnered with fellow Canuck Matt Bosela of the St. Catherines CC, we managed to win our flight, and take home 2nd place after a 4-hole elimination playoff (losing to a net eagle).  It was an epic trip - great golf, great course, great people, great food and great hospitality.  A special thanks to Chris Johnston and his staff for making us feel at home, and Dismal Club members Eric Smith, Mac Plumart, John Kavanaugh and Ron Hendren for hosting us.
(Photo: Eric Smith)

The entire 60-man field.  A great group of guys who love their architecture. (Photo: Eric Smith)

Action shot of yours truly on No. 7, hole #2 of the elimination playoff. (Photo: Eric Smith)

Needing only a 5 to move on, I played my chip off the side-board left of the green to ensure I didn't run off the false-front and risk disaster. (Photo: Eric Smith)

Needed to hole-out to combat a net eagle by eventual champs Brent Carlson & Greg Kreuger. (Photo: Eric Smith)

The bitter taste of defeat!! (My partner Matt Bosela in lime green) (Photo: Eric Smith)

A guided tour of the second course (part way through construction and grow-in at time of visit) at Dismal River by architect Tom Doak.  A great education for fellow golf architects and enthusiasts alike. (Photo: Matt Bosela)
After the 5th major was done, I headed down the road to Sand Hills Golf Club, arguably the best course built anywhere in the world since the 1930's.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I hope comes my way again before my golfing days are done.  Hard to find a more sublime golf experience than walking 36-holes on a world-class course relatively free of golfers with no hint of the modern world save for Ben's Porch overlooking the course at the turn.  Stay tuned to the blog for a detailed pictorial review of both Dismal River and Sand Hills.

Golf anyone? The first tee at Sand Hills Golf Club in Mullen, Nebraska.

Only four days after arriving home from Nebraska, I not only competed in, but managed to win our 54-hole club championship for the first time in my life.  I've had multiple runner-up finished at two different clubs, so this win will certainly be cherished.  Hopefully having one title under my belt will help settle the butterflies on the first tee next year.  The season was capped off with a successful late season defence of our 2011 Glendale Mens Doubles match play victory with my brother-in-law Kelly Morris, giving us three wins in the previous four years.

A congratulatory handshake from our CPGA professional Andrew Steep.
The final highlight of the season was tying a personal best score of 67 while playing Kildonan Park Golf Course for the very first time.  And while the 5,500 yard course is not a stern test, I was really seeking a low round to boost my confidence.  Unfortunately, the mental side of the game managed to put a damper on an otherwise pleasant afternoon as I hooked a 6-iron out-of-bounds on the last knowing very well a par or bogey would have given me a personal best round of 65 or 66.  Notice how I didn't have the confidence to think birdie for 64!!  

The game of golf never ceases to excite me, and I look forward to getting out to some new golf courses in the upcoming year and enjoying each and every round.  Like my father before me, I am confident that 2013 will be the year that I can more fully introduce this great game to my two beautiful children, Mila & Oliver. 

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