Arts and Recreation in Northern Ontario
Golf and Golfing
Maybe God can�t hit one iron � but I can: one player�s recounting of the absurd game of golf in Northern Ontario
by John Waltersson
It�s not exactly a horse race because it�s golf. There are very few horses in golf unless you happen to have a pair harnessed to an old golf cart. Your greenskeeper would not be amused, and you would be spending more time repairing hoof marks than ball marks.
Still � �They�re off!� Golfers, that is, as the 2004 Northern Ontario golf season is off and running.
My first round was at Cedar Green (or Brown, if you prefer � we are talking April, after all) on Saturday, April 17, and it was a good round as opening rounds go. Two birdies, several (arggh) bogeys, and two (give me a razor I�m going to cut my throat) �others.� The job of the last place player on the PGA tour is not in jeopardy. Despite that, the day was fabulous even if it started out on a very depressing note.
A group of us had planned to visit Bonnaire, in Coldwater, always an early opening course, and one that virtually calls to northern golfers. In days past � before global warming, when Easter for golfers meant a lottery on how many more weeks were left before the snow finally disappeared � in those days teeing it up at Bonnaire was almost a social event for your home club. I can remember counting half a dozen foursomes from my home club on various tees on any spring weekend at Bonnaire.
On Saturday, then, the Coldwater club was our planned destination until just before 7:30 AM. The phone rang. One of our group, apparently an insomniac, had been up late or early or all night (we�re still not really sure) watching the Weather Channel. Thunderstorms were forecast for the Coldwater area, and our human barometer had decided that the trip was a no go.
Storms did hit southern Ontario late in the day, with lightning and winds of the tree felling variety, all of which likely would have ruined our trip, so I felt slightly badly about all the abuse we heaped on the man. He had been right, after all, but we weren�t about to concede that until we were certain the weather in Sudbury was excellent � so excellent that our foursome regrouped for the afternoon and put in 18 in Garson. Our season was underway, and it didn�t involve hours on the highway moaning about gas prices.
We weren�t alone. Cedar Green�s parking lot was jammed, and any local driving range that was open (Timberwolf�s was in full swing) was hosting a crowd. It never fails � every new season brings hope to every golfer, old and new, hope that this year is THE year. Dream on.
I mean it � dream on. Golf is a dreamer�s game. I�d been dreaming about birdies all winter and then, suddenly it seemed, weeks before expected, there I was swinging at a real ball on a real course. I even snagged two of those birdies, both legitimate I hasten to add. Nothing bounced in off a rock or a tree or a fellow player. Neither was a conceded putt.
All things considered, 2004 is going to be the best season ever. I know � I�ve seen it in my dreams.