Stag Night Archives - Whisky Run Golf Club

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1 Whisky Run Golf Club Jeff Roy Looper Cathy Sherk

Looper

Whisky Run Golf Club Jeff Roy Looper Cathy Sherk

Yes, that is me caddying for Cathy Sherk – 1979 – LPGA Tour

LOOPER


A few weeks ago, our trusted leader Luke sent me a link to an upcoming movie that is dedicated to the true followers of the game, the caddy. It’s called Loopers, The Caddies Long Walk. After watching the trailer, I was carried back in time, remembering some cherished rounds not just as a golfer with a caddy at my side, but as a caddy with a trusted golfer at my side as well. True confession time, if I wasn’t playing the game, I enjoyed being a caddy a close second. There is something magical about being part of a team of two.

In an earlier lifetime it fell upon myself and my professional staff to train a new crop of caddies each year. We would run an advertisement in the local paper and begin the process of collecting names and phone numbers. Once enough names were accumulated, we scheduled a date for the first training session. My big moment came during the opening orientation. I did my best to inform these young people who were glad to be out of school for the summer and looking to score a part-time summer job at their parents’ insistence. Staring into their smiling faces I let them know of the three most important up's. Keep up, shut up and put up. If they could remember these words of eternal wisdom, then they at least had a fighting chance of surviving as a caddy.

Simply stated the caddy was to stay close to their player, speak when spoken too, and golfers can be passionate about their game, but don't take it personally. Oh, yes and smile, always smile. A smile is a curve that can straighten out any not so pleasant situation.

As a caddy you learn that although you do not have a Physiology degree yet, you are on the fast track to earning one. You learn how to read your player and make those subtle adjustments in behaviour and attitude to bring the best out of said player. Learning that a well-timed phrase here and an encouraging word there can make the biggest of differences in whether the player will have you on the bag for longer than just this one round.

The privilege fell upon me to loop for Cathy Sherk in 1979 and aid her in making it through Q School and then on to the LPGA Tour. I thought I know something about the game of golf, but boy was I wrong. The biggest unlearning was me forgetting all that I thought I knew about the game and then being humble enough to learn from not only an amazing teacher and golfer, but a truly beautiful person. People come in and out of our lives from time to time, the truly great ones like Cathy never really live. You see, Sherky had an entire amateur career in one season. In 1978, she won the Canadian Ladies Amateur, the US Ladies Amateur, North/South Ladies Amateur, Low individual at the World Team Championships and to top it off Golf Digest crowned her the World’s #1 Lady Amateur for 1978!

One memory has stayed etched upon my golfing mind to this day. We came upon a par 3 at this course in Miami. Fairly straightforward, 174 yards mostly all carry to a tucked pin behind a menacing Sand trap. Having witnesses Cathy dispense with a number of these par 3’s in the past I knew she could handle this one with ease as well. She settled on a 4 iron as her club selection to which I concurred.

Her typical shot pattern was to draw the ball into the pin. She executed the shot perfectly. To a thunderous applause of the crowd she landed the ball less than 2 feet behind the pin. Looking at a tap-in birdie for sure. My smile quickly faded as I looked over at Cathy who seemed to be distracted as we made our way to the green. Since I was closest and I was her caddy I tried the age-old question, “Sherky, what’s wrong?” She shook her head and mumbled, “I hit it to far.” 

​Ok, call me crazy (don’t answer that) but my World Class player just stiffed a tap-in birdie on a difficult part 3 and I detect that she is not pleased? What could have gone wrong? I was about to find out quickly enough. Again, I found the resolve to inquire once again, “teach me why you are not well pleased with a tap-in birdie.”

“Its simple Fries, look where the ball landed? (the ball mark was about 8 inches past the hole with the ball coming to rest a few inches further that the mark. Still a tap-in birdie) I answered back saying, “I see the mark, but isn’t it a good thing to be so close?”

What I am about to share with you is one of the differences in the way Champions think and how we mere mortals think.

Sherky looked me in the eye and said, “Fries, the ball was in the air when it landed past the hole. Albeit 8 inches past, but past it was. You see the ball never had a chance to go in the hole since it landed past the hole in the air.

I like my shots to land short of the hole and then roll to the hole which always leaves open the possibility of it going in the hole. And may I remind you that any shot that lands on the green should have that chance to go in the hole, since that is the object of the game.”

​I had to confess my pea size brain was almost short circuited on that par 3 in Miami Florida. Up until that time I was just satisfied on hitting the putting green never mind trying to find a way for the ball to disappear into the hole! Well my learning has continued from that day forward.

If you have ever walked a round of golf with a trusted caddy at your side, you have indeed experienced one of the great joys of the game. You may need to remind your caddy of the three ups’ before hitting the links. Keep up, put up and shut up!

Fries

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most feared opponent

Golf Psychology 101

most feared opponent

Golf Psychology 101


I was fortunate to be introduced to the game of golf by my uncle Austin. A wonderful man who was larger than life. Austin would enter a room, and everyone knew instantly that he was there. He worked hard but he played harder. When he found out through my parents that I was interested in golf, (I was 11 years old) he quickly planned to introduce me to the game that has captured my imagination ever since. My first 18 holes of golf with my uncle Austin was at the Oaklands Golf Course on Stanley Ave. in Niagara Falls. I proudly shot 111 and counted every single stroke.

​What has stayed with me since that day is the 19th hole. At the time I didn’t know about the adult beverages, I only cared that they had great “fries.” (could have been a precursor to Sherky affixing it as my nickname years later. Who could have known?) But while dining on natures very own goodness that I learned the simplicity of the game itself. Not its secret like so many have claimed to have found and for just six easy installments of $99.99 they will give it to you. Guaranteed to reduce your score by at least 20 strokes! You must love the 3:00 a.m. golf infomercial. A true sign of capitalism in its purest form, playing on the weak and feeble golfaholic who has lost his will to live. But at last, he finds hope sitting in his boxers and eating Cheetos at 3:00 a.m. She who must be obeyed is fast asleep, life’s good again. Where’s the first tee and what’s the course record lulls him into peaceful dreams.

My uncle imparted to me golf’s simple psychology. Where he learned it, I don’t know, but I am forever grateful for his willingness to share it with his 11-year-old skinny nephew. You might want to get a pen and some paper for this, I’ll wait.

Good, here it is; a round of golf consists of 18 holes (could be nine, but let’s not complicate it). Each hole begins by teeing your ball on the tee and advancing your ball toward the green and finishing the hole when your ball comes to rest at the bottom of the cup. How much simpler can it be? However, along the way you WILL meet obstacles, obstructions and all manner of challenges for you to navigate, challenges too many to even begin to list. This is what my uncle Austin taught me - Golf Psychology - 101.

You to treat each shot as an independent game all its own. You do your absolute best with each stroke you take. And after each stroke is completed it is, OVER. You can’t go back and do it again, (unless you are prone to abusing the sometimes-fashionable Mr. Mulligan) you count it and then move on to the next. Once your ball is holed, that hole is now in the past, never to be replayed during that round again. Get over it and move on! Let it Go! Past, present and future. The only thing that counts is the shot you are about to execute, period. The shot before is in the past, never to be seen again. The shot coming up is in the future and has not yet been played. Therefore, that future shot is of no consequence to you, since it hasn’t yet occurred. This is FOCUS. Staying in the PRESENT.

You know you can mess with someone’s head if you needed too, by knowing the ingenuousness of past, present, and future. Golf Psychology - 101. Say your playing for something serious, you know like who buys the first Prohibition. You can use this to your advantage and win the day.

​How do I know this will work you ask? I have used this little psychological weapon so many times that I have set up a confessional session with Father Daryl to try to absolve myself of such behaviour. Still baffled by why I must buy Father Daryl an OV before each confessional? I guess it’s a small price to pay to hear him hand out such pastoral advice as, “say, just forget about it, life goes on. Where is Suzy? You’ll be OK.”

Here is the proof. Next time you are in a tough match, going head-to-head with a formidable foe, and you need an edge. You make a simple suggestion. “Ha, your playing great, I bet you can’t wait to finish, could be your best round ever today. Won’t it be great to be sitting in the Clubhouse and telling everyone about the best round you ever shot today?”

​Then sit back and watch your opponent self-destruct. As soon as you sent him in (mentally that is) to the Clubhouse with 4 holes left to play, he immediately leaves the present moment and begins to see himself sitting in the Clubhouse and regaling his fellow members, friends and anyone who will listen. Shot by shot, hole by hole, all detailing his awesome round just completed. Once he is no longer in the moment, its all over but for Kate Smith singing. His focus is gone. Your only job is to play out the round and be like the Jockey who rode Secretariat, don’t fall off and victory is yours. Also, don’t forget to be a gentleman and shake hands with the looser and remember to smile. As he walks away mumbling, “how did I finish, bogey, triple bogey, double bogey, and bogey? I was playing my best game.”

Golf is such a fun game and it can be even more fun when you have the advantage of the quiet nuances of the game. And remember, there is never anything wrong cold beer, fast cars and twos on your scorecard. Enjoy, and don’t say I never told you anything.

Fries

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1 Whisky Run Golf Club Nieuwland Family Owners

Niagaras Friendliest Golf Course Turns 30

Whisky Run Golf Club Nieuwland Family Owners

A Canadian Tradition - A Family Affair


Here is a quiz, what equals 946,080,000 seconds? I’ll save you the trouble of not having a calculator at the ready. It’s for 30 years. Niagara’s Friendliest Golf Course is 30 years young (although if 60 is the new 30, then 30 must be the new 10, just saying) and still swinging from the tips!

In today’s fast-paced world, it is easy to not notice some of the things that are important to us and are right in front of us every day. For instance, you set up a time to meet your friends at Whisky Run and unless you break your leg, your chances of a fun time are a given.

Having been in the business of golf for the better part of my life I can attest to you Niagara’s Friendliest Golf Course didn’t just happen. There was and still is a great deal of hard work behind the scene’s that no one actually sees unless you are fortunate to have a front-row seat. I speak from experience when you own or run a golf course you or your family in Whisky Run’s case are always the first to arrive when the sun comes up and the last to leave when the sun goes down. 

The hours are intense for a Canadian golf course located here in Niagara. Golf course operators put in the same number of hours as everyone else, they just do it in a condensed 8-month season, not 12 months as is the norm. At the peak of the season, it is not uncommon to put in 14 to 16-hour days. After a few of those back to back and you start to feel the phenomenon of blended days. One day begins to blend into the next and you forget what day you are on. Sounds crazy until you experience it and then the only thing you are looking for is a lounge chair that provides a full body massage and maybe a dozen Sinister Ministers to snap you back to full unconsciousness.

One does not think of Whisky Run without thinking of the Nieuwland family and their extended family. Hitching oneself to someone in the business of golf is not for the faint of heart. It takes a special person to share one’s life with people who are bent on swinging clubs ill-equipped for the job, at an inert spherical object and propelling it forward (sometimes backwards) toward an intended target hundreds of yards away that is only 4 ¼ inches in diameter. And the best part is that even when these so-called sane people fail miserably, they keep coming back for more punishment, and insist on calling it FUN!

Kevin and his crew keep the golf course itself in great condition. No easy feat. What so many golfers do not realize is that Golf Course Superintendents live each summer on the edge? We mere mortals think nothing of it, but I can attest to you Kevin is watching the weather and doing his best to stay one step ahead. Mother Nature is no easy partner. She has been known to throw all kinds of obstacles at the course over the golf season. Too much rain, not enough rain, too hot, too cold, winds that can turn in to mini tornadoes, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention Superintendents must wake up the course before the season begins and then put it to bed when the time is right. All of that takes patience coupled with extensive knowledge in agronomy. Whisky Run is always green and in great condition thanks to Kevin and his staff.

Jessica is just the best because she learned from the best, Maribeth. Yes, pun intended. After a completely exhaustive day while working around our house I asked the ever-lovely Wanda had she seen anyone work harder than I did that day? She didn’t miss a beat when she replied, “really, Maribeth and Jessica work harder than that every day at Whisky Run.” 

​Their efforts are on full display when you come to the course and are greeted by the well trained and ever-friendly clubhouse staff. Susie leading the charge to make sure all who stop by before or after their round are well looked after with each visit to the clubhouse. The food that Ashley and her team in the kitchen can crank out is truly amazing. And the “Fries,” are the best. (trust me, I am an expert on fries, really) Again, what we see are the results of endless hours of preparation and training behind the scenes, most of it before the season officially starts. An interesting fact about any new golf season is that it goes from 0 to 100 in a matter of days. No in-between. I have even coined my own phrase, just after the season truly cranks up, say mid-May. I start my summer re-frame, “is it October yet?” And that continues until October!

Not to leave out Father-to-be Luke and Father Lou in the Golf Shop. (you can find Lou almost anywhere on the property and at odd times too, ownership comes with all sorts of privileges)

The Golf Shop staff are great at juggling tee times with walk-ons, to handling the pace of play on the course. (which is a challenge for any golf course) Even the assembled cast of Player Assistants are well versed at handling the flow of members, guests and the golfers in training. It takes a special touch to inform people that they may not be as good as they think they are and an encouraging word to help them remember that it’s not the group behind you that counts. But the group that is now 2 holes ahead of you that you need to concern yourselves with. Please and thank you! All with a smile.

One other thing that makes Whisky Run a special place is the Nieuwland family’s commitment to the city of Port Colborne and the Niagara Region. They continue to give back to the community and not only to share financially but also in service. Having had the chance to volunteer for Canal Days, I was overwhelmed by how many people told me that the only reason they come to Canal Days was to participate in the challenge of hitting a golf ball across the canal. Go figure! Since 2007 Whisky Run has donated more than $100,000 to local youth sports.

Early in my career, I asked someone who I can honestly say never complained about anything when it came to his golf game or the course. He was always polite and courteous. So, I asked him one day, “Doc, why are you always so positive and happy?” His reply has stayed with me, he said, “Pro, I only have two expectations when I play golf, one; is the golf course green? Two; is the beer cold when I finish?

Whisky Run accomplishes both, a green course and cold beer and all things in between. As someone who has been sitting on the sidelines this season, I look forward to any chance I get to at least visit Niagara’s Friendliest Golf Course. Because of the Nieuwland family, the members and guests, it has been a special place for the past 30 years and all indications it will be a special place for another 30 years to come.

Fries

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you can't make this sh$t up

You can’t make this sh$t up!!

you can't make this sh$t up

You Can't Make this Sh$t up!!


Having more time on my hands than an innocent man on death row these days. I find myself reflecting on the most bizarre things that come to the forefront of my once fertile cranium. In amusing myself by watching Mother Nature take her sweet time in getting here I observed this Seagull do his best to audition for a walk on part for Freddie’s team, the OV’s. I believe this was his third bottle. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Many years ago, I proved that truth is often stranger than fiction and Seagulls are smarter than some humans. You see for anyone who has visited Canada’s 44th ranked golf course according to Score magazine one would notice a long narrow building to the south side of the parking lot which is the home to the courses 50 E-Z-GO golf carts as well as the members golf clubs. One would also observe that the semi-circular drive that welcomes you to the front of the clubhouse is outlined with eight beautiful Cherry trees.

And as if by magic each spring the trees would blossom and bring forth the sweetest cherries in Ridgeway. Well these Cherries were not just the envy of the members and staff they were also coveted by the local Seagull’s Union- branch 72.

As Seagulls like to do, they would swoop down and start relieving the trees of their sweet fruit. Seagulls like humans who eat cherries to excess kick start their digestive system and ramp said system into overdrive. That overdrive signals the body to purge itself quicker than lighting can clear a golf course. The only part of the cherry that does not get digested is the pit. Which now brings me to the point of this timeless memory.

Once the Seagulls would leave the cherry trees, they would find refuge atop the long narrow cart shop. At any given time, one could observe over 100 Seagulls perched along the ridge line of the roof. Now the cart shop has no eaves troughs, so once the bird’s digestive systems got started one would notice a perfect line of cherry pits forming from East to West on the asphalt along the exterior of the building. I considered it one of the wonders of Ridgeway, that a perfectly straight line formed by discarded cherry pits could be so easily observed.

Now here is the truth stranger than fiction part. A lady (not picking on ladies, it just to keep the accuracy of the story) came up to me to complain that my staff were, well disgusting. She noted that they discarded their cherry pits by spitting them on the asphalt outside instead of properly disposing of them in the trash like civilized young people. OK, to say that I almost lost it would be an understatement, but I being a professional quickly composed myself and with great satisfaction pointed out that not only was my staff not the culprits of such an unhealthy practice but that the actual perpetrators of said crime was none other than the pesky Seagulls that adorned the rooftop of the cart shop.

I remember playing an event where one of my fellow competitors hit a fairly descent shot on a Par 3 that landed just to the left of the green-side bunker and should have been safely on the green. However, the ball hit a rake that was misplaced between the green and the bunker (on the collar) and the ball ricocheted out of bounds to the right. He went from what would have been an easy par or birdie to having to re-tee and hit his third shot and ended up making a double-bogey 5. Ouch! All because someone left the rake outside the Bunker.

To my surprise once confronted with the truth was her timeless reply, “You would say and do anything to protect your staff wouldn’t you.”

My only thought at the time was that I would have to be the world’s greatest animal trainer, if I could get over 100 Seagulls to eat cherries and then defecate them into a perfectly straight line of over 120 feet. I am sure that would have made the Guinness Book of World Records!

As the saying goes in the golf business, you can’t make this sh$t up! Pun intended!

Jeff

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2

Rakes Shouldn’t be a Hazard

Rakes Shouldn't be a Hazard


After witnessing Jordan Spieth’s adventure with a misplaced rake on the second hole at Pebble Beach in last weeks US Open, it brought back frightful memories of my own tragic experiences with said gardening tools. Who would have thought that a simple implement that was designed to return a Bunkers sand back to playable standards could inflict such damage to one’s score? It can also have a sustained effect on one’s psychological make-up as well. As we all know sometimes it’s the simple things in life that can send us humans running for cover.

It’s the age-old question, which came first the Bunker or the rake? The placement of rakes around Bunkers have been a constant source of agitation for me from the time I picked up my first club at the age of 10. I learned to play on a 9-hole course that had a few Bunkers and I was taught how to take care of them properly. It was instilled in me from the very start that the Game of Golf was a Ladies and Gentleman’s game and that your number one priority was to leave the playing area (course) better than you found it. Fix unrepaired divots, put one’s own divot back, fix ball marks on the green and pick up any garbage blowing around the course. Just a simple metaphor for life it’s self.

Think about those who will be following you and don’t leave them any unexpected surprises. Let’s face it life and golf are tough enough as it is without encountering some easily avoided mistakes if everyone just worked together and applied some common sense. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen every time and we are often forced to deal with the overlooked mistakes of others. Some say that’s what keeps golf and life interesting, I say no, it just adds to the frustration that is inherent in our day to day lives. Pitching in and helping in the little things makes everyone’s life better.

On the LPGA Tour when I caddied for Cathy Sherk it was drilled into every Player and Caddy the Bunker Rule at the time. It was a simple rule with serious financial consequences to the Player. Any Caddy who leaves a rake improperly placed after raking a bunker will subject his Player to an automatic $500 fine. So, you ask what was the rule? Rakes where to be left inside the bunker, parallel to the fairway.

​My inquisitive mind needed further clarification, so I sought out a Rules Official one day to get the reasoning behind such a harsh penalty. She explained it this way; if a rake is inside the bunker and is parallel to the fairway a ball traveling along the outside of the bunker will continue past the bunker. However, if a rake is laying outside the bunker and a ball is moving past and hits the rake it has a chance of being stopped, or worse, deflecting the ball into the bunker. A ball that strikes a rake that is already inside the Bunker is less of a problem since the ball has already entered the Bunker.

Seeing Jordan’s ball just clear the top edge of the bunker and strike the rake brought this simple rule I learned from the LPGA back to mind. There is no official rule in the rules of golf outlining the placement of rakes and Bunkers. But I like the LPGA rule since it is less likely to cause issues. Who cares if your ball hits a rake when its already inside the Bunker? But as you can see by Jordan’s shot a rake outside the Bunker can have a very big impact on not only the shot being played but other consequences that are not seen.

I remember playing an event where one of my fellow competitors hit a fairly descent shot on a Par 3 that landed just to the left of the green-side bunker and should have been safely on the green. However, the ball hit a rake that was misplaced between the green and the bunker (on the collar) and the ball ricocheted out of bounds to the right. He went from what would have been an easy par or birdie to having to re-tee and hit his third shot and ended up making a double-bogey 5. Ouch! All because someone left the rake outside the Bunker.

So, all being said, rakes should be left inside the bunker parallel to the fairway.

Read the Story on Golf Digest

Bonus Feature

Frieisem; “the quality of a rake job after a bunker shot is directly proportional to the quality of the shot leaving the bunker.” Simply put, the player sticks his bunker shot to 3 feet from the flag and you would think his raking will be featured in next weeks Home and Garden. However, should he skull his shot across the green into the trees, the chances of that bunker being raked properly is as likely as finding an instant cure for the “shanks.”

Jeff

Where have you been leaving the rakes? Let us know in the comments below!


Rory is the Real Deal

Rory is the Real Deal

Rory is the Real Deal

Rory is the Real Deal!


As Canadian’s we can take comfort in knowing that our National Championship was in good hands with Golf Canada choosing to host the event at the Hamilton Golf & Country Club, a venue worthy of a national competition. We can also rejoice in the fact that our own Adam Hadwin worked his way to sixth place with a -12. (268) It is great to see that our Canadian’s are once again playing solid golf week in and week out on the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour.

How would I know if Rory is the Real Deal, by personal experience? I had a brief encounter with this young man in May of 2015 at the TPC at Sawgrass. Rory helps me set up this story himself when he gave the following comment on Sunday.

“By the time I got to the 14th tee, I really wasn’t thinking about winning the tournament, I was thinking of trying to shoot 59. I had to reassess my goals a little bit on the middle of that back nine,” he said with a chuckle. “This is what I feel I can do. I’ve been able to do it before and it was nice to get back to that feeling. It’s been a while. I think it’s going back to Quail Hollow in 2015. I won by seven shots there.” As quoted from the article by Dave Hilson of the Toronto Sun.

A little secret about being in the golf business is that you are often subject to competing schedules and my schedule always competed with me being able to find the time to watch golf on TV. I was always relegated to the either reading up on or watching the highlights on Monday of the events held over the weekend.

I was invited to work the TPC at Sawgrass in 2015. I really loved that event. We had much more space to work in and around with the players. It was so open and inviting compared to other venues where space was so restricted that you felt claustrophobic at times. The other great thing about the TPC was there was no Wednesday Pro-Am to mess up the schedule. We had 3 full days to work with the players not 2 as in most cases.

In preparation for the week we decided to fly down on the Saturday and while changing planes in Atlanta we had a 3-hour layover. Not one who opening looks for local establishments that sells adult beverages, I was inclined to find a spot that would allow me to indulge myself in a quiet pursuit of watching some golf. I found the perfect little hideaway and enjoyed a nice meal, all along drinking in the PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow in North Carolina. I sat there mesmerized at watching a young man from Northern Ireland who just shot a 61. That afternoon while seated in a little out of the way establishment at the Atlanta Airport I witnessed an amazing performance. I was getting more and more excited about my upcoming assignment at the TPC knowing that Rory was in the field.

Well we made into Jacksonville just fine that evening and hopped into our rental and heading for Ponte Vedra the home of the TPC. I visited with some friends who lived right at the TPC that night and relived the phenomenal round of golf I had witnessed during my travel down.

On Sunday Rory proceeded to go on and shoot a -3 to win the event at Quail Hallow by 7 strokes. I did get to see some of Sunday’s round while preparing for the upcoming week at the TPC, but it just wasn’t the same as the day before when I had the opportunity to actually watch uninterrupted the complete back nine.

So now move forward roughly 12 hours. We get to the TPC at around 8:00 a.m. nice and early to get a start on what will be a busy day. However, the range is empty of players. I knew that would not last long and sure enough the first player and his caddy are spotted making their way to the range. As they get closer, I realize it’s Rory Mcllory and his caddy. The caddy grabs two bags of range balls and heads to the first open spot next to the tent set up on the range.

I am surprised to say the least. Here is a young man who just won the day before and is now the first person on the range on Monday. I am impressed and as Rory begins to do some stretches to warm up, I make my way over. I introduce myself as a golf professional from Canada and related how I don’t get to watch much golf on TV but watched him shoot 61 on Saturday. I let him know that it was one of the most enjoyable rounds I had ever witnessed. Seeing him shoot 61 was going to stay with me for a long time.

You should have seen it from my eyes!

That’s when he asked, “you say it looked good?”Yes, I said it looked fantastic, you where so composed and confident, it was a site to behold.” That’s when he smiled and simply said, “well, you should have seen it from my eyes, it was even better.”

We continued to chat for about another 10 minutes or so and when he was ready to begin his practice session I stepped away. All the while thinking, what a super genuine young man. Wins a tournament on Sunday and he is the first one on the range on Monday. 

The other great thing that happened was I witnessed some of the greatest names in the game at the time, each make their way over to Rory and offer a sincere congratulations on his win. 

Golf is a great game at all levels of play and having Rory Mcllroy’s name added to the list of Canadian Open Champions is a blessing to Canadian golf.

Jeff

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2

Why do You Play Golf?

Why do you Play Golf???


Having the misfortune of now adding to my infamous leg adventure another trip to the Hospital coupled with a 4-hour operation and a two-night stay (which felt like a week) I can be certified as a functioning piece of medical hardware now. 

Bionic Man??

With a nice steel rod running from my knee to my ankle my ever-loving family and friends think I qualify for Bionic status. Trust me I feel anything but Bionic, I am curious to see how many detectors I set off the next time I travel. I could test the TSA’s humour quota by insisting its nothing but a “nuclear fueled rod” and then sit back and record the show for posterity. But I digress.

Under The Influence

When doctors and nurses put you under the influence of heavy drugs (I think they believe they are some form of legal truth serum) they begin to probe the outer reaches of one’s sanity. I did have this one nice nurse who felt it her constitutional duty to extract as much golf secrets from the heavily medicated patient who claims to be a golf professional in a former life, and to finally have the secret to the ancient game revealed. In the midst of her labouring to right my condition she would ask questions pertaining to the game. At first, she started out with little inquiries. I believe this was to truly check out my credentials on the game. Like walking into the hospital with plaid golf shorts, a Nike golf shirt and finished off with white Nike golf shoes wasn’t enough to convince her. Really, did she think that anyone who could dress this badly do it on purpose?

So, the question came out during her third visit to my bed side. In the most nonchalant way, she could conceive she blurted it out. THE question of questions, the secret of not only golf but of life itself. “What’s the one thing that I can do to improve my game?” She asked with a disarming smile. 

Now I have seen Kung Foo, I know I can not answer her question right away, I needed to demonstrate my ability to be all wise and all knowing, if I had any chance of convincing her of my pedigree. So, I looked her in the eye and calmly asked, “Why do you play golf?”

Why do you play golf?

Her answer was to be expected but it did catch me by surprise, she said, “I play to relax.” She went on to explain her job demands constant vigilance and mistakes can have eternal consequences to a patient’s health. So, when her and her husband hit the links it is to escape and relax for awhile. Leave their cares behind and enjoy the great outdoors.

Great I said, let me see your golf grip. I reached for a section of catheter hose (not my hose thankfully) and asked her to demonstrate. She gripped that hose with such force I could see the veins on the back of her hands start to emerge. My first reaction was to run but being tubed down so to speak I had no choice but to sit my ground. Then I asked, “Why grip it so tightly?”

Why do you grip the club so tightly??

As she proceeded to put herself in a golfing stance, feet shoulder width apart, arms out front to form a V, knees slightly bent and her back bent forward slightly, she looked athletic and ready to swing. When I asked her to focus on an imaginary target and swing toward it, the truth was revealed. She took in a deep breath and then her entire body went rigid. I poked at her arms and as I guessed, they were completely immobilized with tension.

Working my best diplomacy, I stated the obvious question, “You play golf to relax, but your body language tells a far different story.” I went on, “Tell me are your muscle sore after playing?”

She let me know that after each round of golf her and her husband must go home and sit in the hot tub to unwind. To which I responded, “You mentioned you play golf to relax and yet your physical actions tell otherwise.” It was at this point that I revealed to her the secret. I said, 

“In order to relax you must remove the tension. Tension is the number one cause of all bad golf shots. You must learn in order to gain control you must give up control. As a nurse you must realize that muscles that are tense cannot move freely.”

I had her assume the golfing stance again but pointed out the need for her to relax her muscles and focus on the target and then make the swing as free flowing as possible. I pointed out that she must trust her swing. Not ever shot will go as planned but the odds greatly increase when you can be as relaxed (smooth) as possible. I said, “Playing a sport to relax but then requiring the soothing effects of a hot tub is counter intuitive.” Unless the whole golf thing was an elaborate way of getting her husband in said hot tub.

However, after a few more coaching sessions while she continued to poke and prod around my lifeless body every 4 hours led her to conclude that she was gripping the club way to tightly and her swing was far too ridged. We worked on just letting the swing happen while focusing on a target.

I am excited to hear back from her since she was going out to play this week on her days off and says she will apply her bedside lesson and refocus her attention on staying relaxed and tension free. I gave her my number and told her I would like a full report.

Just remember, a light grip, soft hands and a tension free swing will produce a more repetitive and trusting swing then a swing that starts out gripping the club like an ax and forcing a motion that looks like chopping down a tree.

I invited her and husband to come to Whisky Run and experience firsthand Niagara’s Friendless Golf Course. She said her and her husband will make the trip down to Port before the season concludes.

In sickness and in health, golf can be a great comfort.

Stay calm and swing on my friends. Your scorecard will thank you.

Jeff


Did you like the story? Did you hate it? Let us know in the comments below!

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Whisky Run Golf Club

W.T.F.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Whisky Run Golf Club

W.T.F.

In my recent state of physical decay, I felt inclined to revisit a miracle which happened some time ago and hope that it maybe duplicated upon myself in bringing to pass the much-needed healing powers of certain adult beverages. I may have to reconsider my self-imposed prohibition if this has any chance of working on me.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot

On June 9th, 2016 when our very own master of on and off course mayhem “Tilley” received the news that the injury to his “Achilles Tendon” was somehow healed. I mean this is a full blown miracle of miracles.  The kind of miracle that often insights a parade of believers making the pilgrimage to the shrine of the Holy Achilles sort of miracle. Oh, it gets better. 

When the good Doctor who witnessed such a divine occurrence asked to what Tilley thought could have been the root cause of such a supernatural manifestation of medical defiance. Tilley actually gave credit to Brimstone Brewing Company's aptly named brew “Sinister Minister” as one of the legitimate reasons for his quick return to mortality.

Future medical practitioners will be heralded from the rooftops by testosterone fueled weekend warriors who fall victim to this now godlike injury. They will be heard to regal to their unbelieving spouses that, “Yes I was prescribed 2 pints of Sinister Minister daily, honest.”  Really, Whisky Tango Foxtrot!

Not to be outdone this past Stag Night was our very own Bob Beck who for whatever reason transformed himself into a Jason Day lookalike and shot a gross score of 38. Coupled with his 13 handicap and you get a 25 net. Now no one is questioning his ability to shoot 11 under par, he could do that in his sleep.

The question arises as too was he also on the miracle cure called Sinister Minister at the time of the shooting. I am beginning to detect a pattern of amazing results in all aspects of life just by the steady consumption of this adult beverage brought to us by Brimstone. The true test will come this Wednesday when all eyes will be focused on Brother Bob’s pre-round routine.

If he heads to the bar upon arrival, everyone else will be right behind him for their very own self-justification of this somewhat unorthodox but effective transformation from Bob Beck to Jordan Spieth. Really, Whisky Tango Foxtrot!

Cheers!
Jeff


Have you seen healing by beer Before???
Comment below!

Whisky Run Golf Club Somewhere at Whisky Run

Somewhere at Whisky Run a Foursome is missing an Idiot

Whisky Run Golf Club Somewhere at Whisky Run

Somewhere at Whisky Run a Foursome is Missing an Idiot

This picture was taken on Sunday May 19, 2019. At first glance it is nothing special, except for the M&M’s they are always special, just ask my “Eternal Companion.”

However, further scrutiny of the photo indicates its deeper philosophical significance. I have captioned it “Somewhere at Whisky Run a Foursome is Missing an Idiot.” I know what your thinking don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not missing, you are just an idiot! Of all human interaction with sports golf affords none other than the occasional verbal sparring. But somehow by some divine power I have been able to contradict century old traditions and make golf a contact sport. A sport when one plays, he rarely comes home with any injuries. The odd lighting strike perhaps, but certainly very little in the way of excruciating pain. Come on, it’s golf not football. Last I checked no one is hurling down the course to tackle you unless of course you stole someone’s adult beverage and then tackling is fair game on the evil doer.


Saturday started like any other day. Weatherman got the forecast wrong again. Weather turned out to be superb. Nice’s day of the wet spring was granted unto all who where willing to forgo all insecurities and celebrate in Whisky Run’s famed “Dutch Open.” I too felt the gentle tug of belonging to the “Orange.” Besides it was Art Cunningham’s 81st Birthday. You know you can’t take chances on celebrating birthdays after 80, who knows it could very well be the persons last. So, we made the most of it and joined the ranks of the Dutch for the day. Mark Hardy, Mark Roy (son #2) Birthday Boy Art and me. All wanting nothing more than a fun, relaxing round at Niagara’s Friendliest Golf Course.


As fate would have it, we found ourselves teeing off # 1 of the Serpent. Through mental toughness we fought our way through to the 7th hole. Mark Hardy gleefully glided his tee shot to within 5 feet. Art wasn’t going to let that distract him, so he blistered a shot less than 2 feet from the hole. Mark made his 2 with the Orange (our Orange ball was lonely for his friends on #3 and he ran away, but a distant cousin agreed to take his place) That left Art with is tap in 2 for our Scramble score. High fives all the way around. We all felt the day could only get better from here. We were on a proverbial roll. Nothing would stop us. We were invincible for at least 5 minutes until we realized we had to continue to play.


On the 8th Tee my son Mark hits his once Orange ball safely up near the green. Mark Hardy plays a beautiful drive down in front of the green. Art and look at each other and quirked, why hit, can’t get much better than those two. But has testosterone goes Art and I felt a good whack across the water is good for the soul. He proceeded to tee it up and place it gently down the middle of the fairway. For me it was only a matter of a short bunt to keep the calcium deposits loose. The last thing I remember is being blindsided by that tackle who must have mistakenly thought I stole someone’s beverage or else why would I find myself prostrated upon the ground in shear pain. Then reality set in and the two large snapping sounds we all heard was my right Tibia giving way.


So, the mystery of how someone can change golf from a ladies and gentleman’s game and make it a contact sport has now been solved at my expense. In traditional golfing fashion my son Mark and I insisted that Art and Mark Hardy continue to the finish the round and enjoy the nice weather. Mark and I headed to my least favorite place, the Welland Hospital where an ex-ray was taken to confirm the inevitable. Not one, but two new spiral fractures lining up around where the 8 screws had been inserted some 5 weeks earlier. Another summer in the trenches. Here we go again!


Last week I wrote about remembering Tiger Woods, now I write about remembering me who sadly hops around on a full leg cast with the aid of crutches. Remember me when you turn down on one of Niagara’s favorite driveways into the club. I will be with you in Spirit (this maybe a time for me to start drinking, not, I have proved that I can get into just as much trouble without it, but I digress) I will be around the club looking for tales of greatness and scores to write about. Being set off to the sidelines for the summer will not deter me from my appointed assignment, which is to immortalize the fun, the adventure and sometimes the misadventures of Niagara’s Friendliest Golf Course, Whisky Run. As I mentioned last week, if Tiger Woods can come back after 8 years of struggling mentally and physically, then I will take that as a sign that I too can overcome. I hope.
Jeff/Fries

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Remember Me

Remember Me?

Some forgotten stats regarding Tiger’s World Golf Ranking, the Ups and the Downs;

2009 - #1
2010 - #2
2011 - #23
2012 - #3
2013 - #1
2014 - #32
2015 - #416
2016 - #652
2017 - #656
2018 - #13

Thanksgiving weekend 2009 should have be like any other. A time for family and friends to gather around and give thanks for the blessings they enjoy, however as we all know the world watched the most recognized name in sports, Tiger Woods fall off the human radar screen so far that some members of the media even tried to using NASA to locate the number one golfer in the world. (That’s not a joke.)

I am not sure if anyone could comprehend the depths, he had sunk both personally and professionally. I remember the endless 24-hour news cycle that castigated him relentlessly and showed no mercy. Was he to blame, sure? We all must face the consequences that our choices leave for us; some good and some not so good and even some downright ugly. But very few of us rarely get the opportunity to lay our entire lives out for public scrutiny, judgement, speculation and total humiliation. And no one would ever choose to willingly do it. That’s just on the personal side. His physical side was also exacting its own toll. But I think that the most painful for him was having his life torn asunder in front of his family, friends, peers and the world. Every salacious detail reported on repeatedly. Nothing left to anyone’s imagination. The constant drum beat of he is finished, he will never play again, he will never win again, on and on the critics piled on with no personal regard toward him at all. I am not sure how Tiger even managed to get up every morning and function after that weekend.

Think of what it must have been like for Tiger coming back to play competitive golf again and knowing that every person watching live at the course or on TV has a negative opinion of him. All eyes watching and waiting to critic his every move on and off the course. To prove themselves right, he is finished.

What I learned from watching Tiger claim is 5th Masters title and his 15 major last month was simply this; if you ever doubt yourself, find yourself in an unthinkable and embarrassing situation and facing insurmountable odds and personal embarrassment, think of Tiger Woods. 

Tiger for all his faults has once again risen to the top of the game he so commanded for so long before poor life choices and physical pain brought him down for all to see.

So, when life kicks you off the straight and narrow path, just remember, with perseverance, dedication, mental toughness and a lot of hard work you too can find your way back. 

In the immortal words of John Lennon, “life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.” 

Golf is a great metaphor for life. One minute your safely in the middle of the fairway with a wee pitch on the green and then bam, one shank, two shanks, and now you can’t even remember how to breath. All that in less than 10 minutes. Crazy game we play. 

Play on maestro, play on!

Jeff


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