Golfing in Ontario

by Gary McWilliams (aka Festival Nomad)

Don’t get me wrong, I love golfing, but not as much as I did when I was younger.

When I first started golfing seriously, I became a “keener”. What I mean by that is that I would play golf every summer and fall day, rain or shine (thunder storms excepted)! On week days that meant that I would arrive at the golf course at about 6:30 in the morning. The greens hadn’t even been “swept” for dew!

You see, I worked in Toronto for my father, (I was living in Bramalea at the time) with my older brother being my boss, and he didn’t like me to be late. His start time was 9:00 am, mine was when I arrived at the office, about 9:20 am. As a result, there usually friction between us, but that’s different story!

As a result of my “timing” issue, I use to walk (run) the course in about two hours. As you can imagine, I normally played alone on week days. I did, however, have lot fun playing. I even took golf lessons on weekends to improve my golf game. I actually lowered my handicap to a 10. Those were the “halcyon days” of my golfing career!

As time wore on and my enthusiasm lessened, I stopped walking (running) the course and took on automated transportation (golf carts). Unfortunately my golf game started to “slip“. Eventually I stopped marking down my scores on the handicap board or I have no idea what my handicap became!.

Like most golfers, I have plenty of stories to tell. I think my most exciting story was when two of my friends “crashed” their golf cart! It was like a Monty Python movie! At the time the incident wasn’t that funny, but as time has moved on, the story has become funnier and my “crash” friends have now become legends amongst my golfing friends! Other “famous” stories exist, like the time I broke my knee cap golfing, but I’ll pass on those tales for now!

Now when I step onto the tee, I look ahead to see what dangers I will encounter. I think water hazards are the worst. I often watch professional golfers land in the water and wonder if they have the same fears that I do.

I once had a boss, not my brother, who was golf fanatic. He seemed to have no fears of any golf hazards. I once saw him land one of his shots in a shallow stream. Rather than taking a hazard penalty, he removed his shoes and socks and, with pipe in mouth, proceeded to “knock” the ball onto the green, very close to the hole!

Other than when I was trying to get to work on time (my time), golf is a very social game. Thousand of golfers meet each day and that’s when the socialization begins. Business deals are made, jokes are told, stories are related and friendships are firmed up.

One of the great things about golf are fundraising golf tournaments. Millions of dollars are raised each year to help Ontarians and their communities.

Most golf course settings are awe inspiring. The course on Lory Bay, where many of my photos where taken, is one of them. The course overlooks the “blue waters” of Georgian Bay. Over the years, I have had the pleasure to play on many golf courses, all of them very beautiful, but I think the most interesting course was the one on the Comox (British Columbia) Canadian Forces base. The course was surrounded by water, snow-capped mountains and amazing forests. As we golfed, jet planes took off from the base and deers emerged from the forest onto the greens! It was an experience that I will never forget!

Most golfers, that I know, take in the beauty of their surroundings.

Some of us (me) look a little longer than we should! Golfers behind us (me) don’t appreciate the longer wait, while we (I) “dream”!

Eventually it’s time to “tee up” and hit the ball!

One of my golfing friends looks like he could play on the “PGA” tour. He has the looks and his swing is “professional” looking! His only problem is that he has idea where his ball is going to land! Sometimes it’s perfect, but more times than not, it ends up in water, a sand trap or worse, in a wooded area. The one “perk” is that if the ball lands in the woods, my friend goes to look for it and then comes out of the woods with several balls in his hands and pockets. Unfortunately none of them are his “lost” ball!

After a “tiring” game of golf we head the carts to our cars to off load our clubs.

After the clubs are loaded in the cars, we move on to the “19th” hole. This is when the socializing really starts and the “tall tales” begin!

After a hard day of golf, I usually like to “lay down” and relax with a “friend“!

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