Saturday 4 January 2014

Year in Review - 2013

Looking back at 2013, I want to take a brief moment to reflect upon the past year in my golfing adventures.

On the work front, Grant Golf was definitely busier in 2013 from a design standpoint, unfortunately, construction remained stagnant - the notable exception being the construction of a number of new forward tees at Breezy Bend Country Club.  We are looking forward to completing a much larger project for this club in 2014.

Positively, we were hired by the city of Winnipeg to complete a master plan for two municipal courses, Kildonan Park & Windsor Park.  Neither golf course has seen substantial changed over the course of their 90 years and are in need of substantial work to improve turf conditions and overall design strategy.  The major focus of the work will be fairway drainage, tee rebuilding and an overhaul of the bunkering scheme.  Both golf courses are under 5,500 yards in length, and are very busy serving that segment of the golf market.  Our goal is to enhance playability, improve pace of play and make the experience more enjoyable.  We are scheduled to start work in the spring of 2014 and look forward to a long relationship with our new client.

We have also been hired to complete a design for a new golf course in Ghana.  The land at our disposal can only accommodate a 9-hole executive length course and 'Himalayas' putting course, but we hope this will serve as a nice introduction to the sport for many Ghanians and a welcome comfort for the many expatriates working in the region.  Sadly, our contract does not include a trip to Africa, but on a positive note, our new business cards can now advertise our office as "international golf course architects"!!

We are again hopeful that work will begin this upcoming season on a 9-hole expansion of the Lorette Golf Course.  The project is currently in the permitting phase and will be done in conjunction with a residential housing development.

Finally, we received a call just before the new year from a client who is interested in re-starting a currently stalled 18-hole golf course development project.  With any luck, 2014 could be very busy on the construction front.

On the golfing front, my game was decidedly up and down.  My handicap finished at a 2 which is where is began, but there were some painful stretches during the season.  My low game for the year was a 70 at my home club of Glendale G & CC, although the 72 I shot at Tobacco Road in North Carolina on my first look at the course was more impressive.

I made two golf pilgrimages in 2013.  The first being in late May to Boston to visit my good friend Kelly who was then teaching at Harvard School of Design.  During the week of my visit, he gave me a tour of the city, and I gave him a tour of the splendid golf the city has to offer.  We played Old Sandwich Golf Club (Coore & Crenshaw), Plymouth Country Club (Ross), Essex Country Club (Ross) and George Wright Municipal Golf Course (Ross).  I would like to thank Ian Andrew and David Hendler for helping make the trip a success.

Hole No. 2 at Old Sandwich

No. 15 at Plymouth CC
No. 10 at Essex CC
No. 13 at George Wright Municipal

The second trip was to Pinehurst, North Carolina to attend the Dixie Cup, organized by members Craig Disher and Mike Whitaker.  It was a great experience and I met a lot of fantastic people.  During the course of the trip I played Sanford Municipal Golf Course (Ross?), Tobacco Road (Strantz), Dormie Club (Coore & Crenshaw), Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club (Ross) and Pinehurst No. 2 (Ross). founder Ran Morrisset hosted us for dinner at his house and I met fellow course architect Richard Mandell.  The north versus south competition ended in an 11-11 tie, but that was truly secondary to the camaraderie enjoyed throughout the matches. 

No. 1 at Tobacco Road
No. 3 at Dormie Club
No. 10 at Mid Pines
No. 7 at Pinehurst No. 2
Thistle Dhu Putting Course at Pinehurst Resort

I did not play much competitive golf this year, but did represent my home club at the annual interclub championship.  While I enjoyed playing the new Tom McBroom designed Southwood Golf & Country Club, I was left awestruck not by the course but by the play of pairing partner Todd Fanning, a former Canadian Tour pro who effortlessly fired a course record 65.

I have always enjoyed writing about golf course architecture and am thoroughly engrossed in its history.  I was happy to get two articles published in 2013, the first was a piece on Winnipeg's classic golf courses that appeared in the May issue of Canadian Golf Magazine.  The second article was published in Volume 6 of Paul Daley's excellent Golf Course Architecture: A Worldwide Perspective series out of Australia and focused on the removal of rough encircling bunkers.  This was the second piece I've had published in this series and hope to continue in the future.  I also contributed to the 17th Revision of the Dr. Alister Mackenzie chronology which was released in March.

Plans for 2014 include a trip to Belgium in May where I plan on playing a number of links courses in the Netherlands and a few courses in Belgium.  My 10 year wedding anniversary is shortly thereafter, so an extended European vacation may be in order.  Perhaps squeeze in one more course near Paris?  Morfontaine certainly intrigues me.  In the fall I am hoping to attend the Dixie Cup again, however, currently the dates and venues aren't set, but regardless, I'll be heading somewhere else during the year for a golf trip.


  1. Tyler great stuff!

    We loved having you write for Canadian Golf Magazine and hope to get a round in some time soon!

  2. Frank,

    I'm in Toronto next August for a wedding, I'll have my clubs.