Amateur

The Grey Owl turns 60!

Jay Thiessen - 2019 Grey Owl Champion

After a two year hiatus due to COVID the 60th annual Grey Owl Golf Tournament will be held at Clear Lake, Manitoba on the weekend of Friday, June 10th until Sunday, June 12th.

The Grey Owl is one of the longest running tournaments of its kind in North America and with up to 16 flights gives golfers of all skill levels the opportunity for competition, camaraderie and of course lots of fun.

Held at the picturesque and challenging Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park, the tournament has gained the reputation as one of the premiere events on Manitoba’s golf calendar and draws golfers from not just Manitoba and nearby Saskatchewan but from locales throughout North America.

Online registration is now open and all applications submitted by April 30, 2022 will be considered. For more information, visit thegreyowl.ca.

19th Hole Amateur

From zero to full in 40 seconds, and other strange tales from the 2020 golf season

Just how busy were golf courses across Canada in 2020?

Early one morning at the beginning of the season, Stephen Jardeleza positioned himself in front of his computer at GreyHawk Golf Club. On his screen was a blank tee sheet for the Ottawa club where he is the Director of Operations.

In a few minutes, the computerized tee-times reservation system would open for members to begin booking tee times for the upcoming Saturday. Up for grabs were 130 tee times across the club’s 36 holes, which, if fully booked, would work out to 520 golfers.

At 7 a.m., the tee sheet came alive. “In 40 seconds, our tee sheet was fully booked,” Jardeleza said. “And this happened every day.”

The 2020 golf season—and the year—will go down in infamy as one of the strangest that most of us will ever experience.

Faced with a mysterious and deadly nemesis, golf provided a beacon of badly needed joy amid fear and frustration. We were smitten. We couldn’t get enough golf.

“It didn’t matter that there was a worldwide pandemic,” said Simon Bevan, General Manager of Riverbend Golf Club in London. “Golf was like a drug. We all wanted to hit the little white ball.”

Now that the season has ended, the golf club industry in Canada is celebrating a record year in which rounds skyrocketed to historic proportions. Thousands of people took up golf—some for the first time, and some came back to the game—and veteran golfers played more than they ever have.

But right out of the be-careful-what-you-wish-for playbook, the industry faced the challenge of how to mollify established golfers frustrated that they could no longer get to the first tee when they wanted.

Back in April, with cities around the world looking like ghost towns, and major league sports and the PGA TOUR shut down, golfers held on to a slender thread of hope that a golf season might be possible.

By early May, golfers in Ontario and Quebec had endured two months of a gruelling lockdown, made worse by a tantalizingly warm spring that screamed golf. Golfers ached for their game. A friend said, “Golfers can distance. I play golf with people. I don’t dance with them.”

After weeks of consultation with the golf industry on safety measures, the Ontario government said courses could open May 16. Quebec set May 20 as its opening day.

Golf clubs had only a few days to finish their preparations in order to keep golfers safe. Staff removed ball washers, water coolers, benches and outfitted flagsticks with doo-hickeys that allowed you to extricate your ball without having to touch the stick.

Held back from their usual start to the season, golfers were ravenous. On May 15—the first day that tee times could be booked—thousands of ClubLink Members went online to reserve their tee times at 7 a.m., causing the system to crash.

Many technology platforms serving the golf industry were overwhelmed. When Golf Ontario opened its online tournament registration on June 24, 17,000 people visited its site in a matter of minutes, causing it to crash for the first time in its history, according to executive director Mike Kelly.

On those first wonderful days of the 2020 golf season, golfers were over the moon to play and golf club personnel were cautiously nervous.

“We were hoping that members wouldn’t contract the virus just from touching things,” said Paul Carrothers, Director of Golf at Royal Ottawa Golf Club.

Thousands of golfers wanted to play the game—not just because they are an extremely obsessive bunch—but also to escape the same four walls at home. Without having to travel for work or commute, working from home also afforded many golfers the freedom to play when they wanted. More or less.

With offices and schools closed, and nearly every other option for having fun shut down, golf became the ‘it’ activity. Spouses, friends and kids who had not tried golf, and those who had given up the game, were playing.

“Almost all of the guys that I played slow-pitch with every Tuesday for 20 years were now playing golf,” said Kevin Thistle, CEO of the PGA of Canada. “The way we play golf, work, watch sports—it’s all changing, and forcing us to adapt.”

From the once-a-year golfer to the 100-rounds-plus player, everyone played more—and wanted more.

“Players who would normally play 30 to 40 rounds played 70 to 80 rounds,” said Adam Tobin, Director of Golf at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge.

Even with most corporate events cancelled at most clubs, tee times became a precious commodity.

By the end of June, Canadians had played more than 1.5 million rounds during the month, an increase of 17 per cent over June 2019. And that’s a monumental feat folks when you consider June is THE busiest and best month to play. For an industry that faced media reports a few years earlier that it was declining, business was booming.

But for avid golfers who routinely play three or more rounds a week and were used to convenient tee times, it was not all sunshine and rainbows.

“There was a lot of frustration,” said Jason Wyatt, Head Professional at Sunningdale Golf & Country Club in London, where demand shot up 52 percent over 2019 with the same number of members. “There were people who wanted an 8 a.m. time but had to settle for hours later.”

Even playing ‘executive’ or nine-hole courses was a challenge. “There were times that we had six groups lined up to play our nine-hole course,” said Dennis Firth, Head Professional at Royal Montreal which experienced a 30 percent increase in rounds over 2019. “It was unprecedented.”

As a golfer, and the fellow in charge of tracking golfers across the country for Golf Canada, Adam Helmer said he could no longer just head out to play. He had to become organized in scheduling his golf.

“A downside of golf being so popular was that not everyone was able to get the tee time they wanted,” said Helmer, senior director of Golf Services for Golf Canada.

The problem was simple. Demand for tee times appeared limitless, but every course has a finite number of holes and daylight. And to keep golfers from getting too close to one another, most clubs spaced out tee times, which meant fewer golfers on the course.

John Finlayson, Chief Operating Officer of ClubLink, says that—as a general rule of thumb—a private golf club with 18 holes carries about 400 full dues-paying members to sustain its business.

But even in June when the days are longest, there’s only enough room to accommodate about 225 golfers. “If 300 people want to play that course that day, you have a problem,” said Finlayson, whose ClubLink courses saw a 29 percent increase in rounds in 2020 compared with 2019.

Many private clubs responded by restricting the number of guests that members could bring, and restricted access for certain classes of memberships.

“To make room for our full members, we had to restrict our legacy and out-of-town members,” said Ian Leggatt, General Manager of Summit Golf Club in Richmond Hill. “We had to communicate to them that these are unusual times,” said Leggatt, who has since moved to the same position at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.

Initially, Leggatt and other senior club managers wondered if golfers would “drift from the game” because they couldn’t socialize in the clubhouse restaurant afterwards,

and the on-course experience was altered.

But with fewer golfers on the course, no need to rake bunkers, and single riders on carts, the speed of play improved dramatically.

“The measures were taken for safety, but it provided a better experience,” Finlayson said. “Most golfers expect to play 18 holes in 4 to 4.5 hours, but this year a 4-hour round was considered a bit slow.”

Nonetheless, many golfers were frustrated about access, and many golf clubs stepped up their communication efforts to help their members adapt.

“You couldn’t over-communicate,” Leggatt said. “This whole thing was shifting, and there was no template on how to make it work better.”

It affected everyone, including ClubLink Member and CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada, Jeff Calderwood.

“I’d jump on the computer five days in advance at 7 a.m. this fall, and there were often no times at Eagle Creek (his Home Club in Ottawa),” he said. “It illustrated the dilemma we had.”

Industry leaders such as Calderwood are thankful golf provided a silver lining during a pandemic, but they are also mindful that the industry is challenged by how it satisfies core golfers while retaining new players.

“I don’t claim to have all the answers. You could restructure and find that, perhaps with a vaccine, demand doesn’t stay so high, and then you’re not sustainable if you got it wrong.”

Mike Kelly of Golf Ontario was among the industry leaders who consulted with the Ontario government to allow clubs to open this season, and he’s grateful golfers turned a possible disaster into a banner year for golf.

As a golf administrator who represents the sport in Ontario, as well as players who want to play and have fun, Kelly says he can’t lose focus on what’s truly important.

“Our job is to provide a safe environment. That’s our No. 1 priority during this pandemic. We can’t screw this up. The game has grown and the industry will evolve, but the priority must be safety.”


Tim O’Connor is a golf and performance coach, writer and author of four books, co-host of the Swing Thoughts podcast, and webinar presenter. He is the 2020 winner of the Lorne Rubenstein Media Award given by Golf Ontario. tim@oconnorgolf.ca

Amateur

Support Local and Give the Gift of Golf this Holiday Season

Red Christmas decoration between the white golf balls

Christmas shopping will certainly be different this year, but it’s also an opportunity to think about new ways to give the gifts of the season. For those with a golfer on their list, below are a number of ways to be creative and put something special under the tree while supporting the local golf economy too.

Gift cards

Consider purchasing a gift card for a family member, friend or even for yourself! Many public and semi-private golf courses offer gift cards or pre-paid multi-game packs available by calling or emailing the pro shop. Check out our member club directory for a listing of golf courses in your region.

Lessons

Could the golfer on your list benefit from a lesson or two or a spring tune-up? If so, consider contacting your local PGA of Canada professional to purchase a lesson, lesson package or even lessons for the whole family! With some of the best instructors in the country located right here in Manitoba, pre-paid lessons are a great gift idea and helps to support your pro during the off-season.  Click here for the local PGA of Canada pro directory.

Gear & tech

Nothing brings more joy to the avid golfer than unwrapping a dozen of the latest and greatest golf balls, new kicks or the hottest golf gadet. Many local pro-shops carry a great selection of stock during the off-season and have access to supplier inventories to help you find the perfect gift for your golfer. Contact your local pro or favourite club and find out what products and services they are providing and if they offer curb-side pick-up or delivery.

Golf Manitoba/Canada membership

The Golf Manitoba/Canada membership is a must-have for every Canadian golfer. From annual equipment protection coverage, keeping an official handicap index and exclusive access to special offers and discounts, members enjoy the following suite of game-enhancing benefits:

For more information on the Golf Manitoba/Golf Canada membership and to purchase, please visit join.golfcanada.ca. You can also contact the Golf Manitoba office HERE.

Amateur

Remembering fallen golf heroes

They are some of Canada’s most renowned golf legends, a list amassed of professional and amateur players, course architects and administrators. They have all contributed to the growth of the game of golf in this country. However, their contributions to golf pale in comparison to their contributions to the fabric of our nation.

November 11 is Remembrance Day. A day we remember and pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served in our armed forces. What better day to remember Canadian golfers of the past who helped our nation during its greatest times of need.

The following are just some of the contributions Canadian golf legends made to the Allied forces during the First and Second World Wars.

Florence Harvey

During World War I, Hamilton, Ont. native Florence Harvey, along with other women golfers in Canada, raised enough money to purchase an ambulance for use in Serbia.

A staunch advocate of women’s golf, Harvey founded and held the position of Secretary of the Canadian Ladies Golf Union – later known as the former Canadian Ladies’ Golf Association (CLGA).

One of the top players of her day, Harvey won the 1903 and 1904 Canadian Ladies’ championship, while capturing the Ontario Ladies Championship on four occasions.

During WWII, the CLGA also raised money, this time their money went towards the purchase of a Spitfire plane.

Karl Keffer is best known for becoming the first Canadian-born golfer to win our national championship – the Canadian Open – in 1909. He also won in 1914.

Keffer, from Tottenham, Ont., was a founding member of the PGA of Canada and held numerous positions during his 29-year involvement with the association including; secretary-treasurer, captain and president. Keffer, a war veteran, pleaded with other golf professionals of his day to join the war effort.

Stanley Thompson

Stanley Thompson

Most golf enthusiasts will know Stanley Thompson as a renowned Canadian golf course architect. Thompson, who was born in Toronto, has 200 course designs to his credit throughout an illustrious career as an architect with a majority of them residing in Canada.

However, many don’t know Thompson was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in WWI.

Donald Carrick

Donald Carrick, born in Thunder Bay, Ont., was a standout amateur golfer. A two time Canadian Amateur champion, Carrick also won the 1924 US Junior Boy’s Championship, several Ontario amateur titles and played for Canada against the British Walker Cup team before retiring from competitive golf in 1933 to focus on his family and law practice. Carrick would become a political figure and also competed as a boxer in the 1928 Summer Olympics.

Carrick also received the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E) for his service in the Royal Artillery during WWII.

Winnipeg’s Geoffrey Cornish, one of the legendary Stanley Thompson’s protégés, fashioned a career in golf course architecture. He was one of the best Canada has ever produced. With a career that included more than 200 golf course designs or remodellings, Cornish turned his attention towards chronicling the history of his field, becoming an author and penning several internationally-acclaimed books on golf course architecture in the later part of his career.

Cornish was a Major in the Canadian Army, serving in Europe from 1940-45.

To these and other notable figures in Canadian golf who have supported our troops as well as all of the brave men and women who have served our country – thank you.

Amateur

New evidence indicates golf improves muscle strength and balance

R&A Balance and strength in golf

An international research study backed by The R&A has found new evidence to suggest golf can provide significant health benefits to older participants in the form of improved muscle strength and balance.

Muscle strength and balance exercises form an important part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended guidelines to tackle physical inactivity in older people about which little was previously known for golf.

The Strength and Balance Study, carried out with two sample groups over two years by Professor Maria Stokes OBE at the University of Southampton and Dr George Salem at the University of Southern California (USC), has indicated that older golfers have and develop strength and balance benefits.

Underlining the sport’s capability to improve the physical health of participants, the evidence suggests golf can improve quality of life through muscle strengthening, improved balance, aerobic exercise (equivalent to gym-based work or yoga) and social interaction.

The Southampton group involved 152 individuals aged 65-79 and over 80 and set out to demonstrate the physical and psychosocial benefits associated with playing recreational golf regularly by comparing physical measures between older golfers and sedentary non-golfers.

A study at the USC was undertaken to see if non-golfers developed these benefits while undertaking a 10-week instructional golf training programme. The USC group involved 15 individuals aged 63 (+/- 5 years) at a municipal course in the greater Los Angeles area, which also examined the feasibility, safety and adherence of the programme for senior non-golfers.

The combined findings show that:

Ahead of the study being peer reviewed to validate findings and future presentations made to the academic world, Professor Maria Stokes said, “The findings indicate that golf is associated with health benefits related to better muscle strength and balance.

“This suggests golf may meet World Health Organization recommendations for older people, which would potentially qualify golf for social prescription and exercise referral schemes among policy makers to help manage health conditions.”

Dr George Salem added, “Our findings suggest that golf should be considered when prescribing exercise for older adults because it appears to be safe, feasible and an adherent form of exercise for a better, healthier quality of life.

“Moreover, as golf is an exercise activity that includes strengthening, power, balance, endurance and cognitive challenges, it satisfies the recommended physical activity guidelines of the World Health Organization, the American College of Sports Medicine and UK guidelines.”

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “These findings should encourage policy makers and healthcare professionals to consider recommending playing golf to older people as part of encouraging them to adopt a more active lifestyle, as well as tackling physical inactivity to reduce healthcare costs.

“We are seeing more and more evidence that golf can provide significant physical and mental health benefits for participants as a moderate intensity activity and so we will continue to advocate these in all of our work with golfers, national federations and associations, healthcare professionals and policy makers.”

Since 2016, The R&A and its partners, including the World Golf Foundation (WGF), the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the European Tour, have sought to: raise awareness of the health benefits of golf to encourage interest in participation by people of all ages and abilities; improve the sport’s image; and increase advocacy for golf by government agencies and public health bodies.

The Golf & Health Project, supported by The R&A and the other WGF partners, continues to strive to achieve these aims by producing and publishing high quality science that evidences golf’s physical and mental health benefits to target existing golfers, non-golfers, golf bodies and policy makers in government and health.

Dr Roger Hawkes, Executive Director at the Golf & Health Project, added, “The evidence from this study is indicative that golf helps strength and balance, with no previous research to highlight this to the golf industry until now. The overall findings and benefits should be of great value for golfers and non-golfers going forward.”

The R&A has also published today a new golf and health report to help further educate golfers, non-golfers, national federations and policy makers on the physical and mental health benefits of the sport.

Highlighting The R&A’s work and the endeavours of others in this sphere since 2016, the 28-page document provides a comprehensive overview of golf as a health-enhancing activity for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, with the Strength and Balance Study featured.

The R&A Golf and Health Report (2016-20) can be viewed here.

Amateur Inside Golf Manitoba

Manitoba Golfer Earns Invite to National Junior Team Selection Camp

Braxton Kuntz (photo: M.L.Milhausen)

Winnipeg, MB – Breezy Bend Country Club’s Braxton Kuntz has been selected to attend Golf Canada’s National Junior Squad Selection Camp to take place at Bear Mountain Golf Resort in Victoria, BC from October 14-18th 2020.

Golf Canada coaching staff will be conducting the selection camp whereby athletes are invited to attend and compete for spots on the Squads through a series of objective testing protocols assessing skill and a 54-hole head-to-head tournament. Following the camp, Golf Canada’s selection committee will use the results from the camp assessments along with supplementary information to select the teams.

Kuntz’s invite comes after a solid 2020 campaign that included a 2nd place finish in the Manitoba Junior Men’s Provincial Championship, a T6th in the Manitoba Men’s Amateur Championship and a win and two 2nd place finishes in three Maple Leaf Junior Tour events where he posted a six round scoring average of 70.3. Kuntz is one of just thirteen junior boys and fourteen junior girls from across the country who have been invited to participate in the national team camp.

The intention of the Team Canada program is to provide the best possible support and services to athletes and assist them in attaining their goals. Each player receives a personalized program tailored towards his or her needs and in turn each team member is expected to be fully committed to the program with the goal of becoming one of the top ranked amateur golfers worldwide.

Team Canada players, lead by PGA of Canada head coach Robert Ratcliffe, will receive a full program inclusive of training (technical, physical, mental), competition coaching, sport science support, training camps, centralization support, in addition to uniform and equipment support. The program also includes athlete participation in major amateur competitions including the Pacific Junior Team Championship, Toyota World Junior Qualifier and Final, Glencoe Invitational, the Canadian Amateur and Junior Championships and the World Junior Girls Championship.

More information on the Team Canada golf program is available at golfcanada.ca/team-canada.

 

19th Hole Amateur

9 different games to play on the golf course

Nine different games to play on the golf course

Golf is both thrilling and maddening, a way to have a singular escape or meet with friends, and a game for a lifetime that can be played by both the health-conscious and those who take it as an opportunity to raise a Steamwhistle and crush a hot dog.

But, when you’re looking for something even more for your next 18 holes, we’ve got you covered with an explainer of some fun games you could play with your group.

Games played on the course can be as simple as a match against a friend or family member all the way to a complicated tracker of accomplishments (or lack thereof) resulting in, perhaps, a couple of loonies passed between hands.

While the new Golf Canada app is perfect for posting scores using regular stroke play, we know that not everyone takes to the course to play nine or 18 holes counting all his or her shots. Playing games in a group is way to spice up your usual round. Even for the most experienced golf group, there may be something new below that you’ve never tried!

Read on to learn more about some of our favourites.

1. Alternate Shot

Otherwise known as ‘foursomes’ this is a completely different kind of golf that North Americans usually only see on TV during the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Trying this out with your friends will a) make you understand why the best players in the world struggle with it and b) maybe make you try to find some new friends, depending on where your partner leaves you to hit from.

Alternate shot is, well, that. One player hits then the next player hits from where she or he ended up. It could also be modified to where each twosome hits a drive, you pick the best one, and you alternate shots from there to the hole.

Must play with four golfers.

MELBOURNE, VIC - DECEMBER 13: Adam Hadwin of Canada and Joaquin Niemann of Chile, playing as part of the International Team in action during the second round of the 2019 Presidents Cup on December 13, 2019, at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Black Rock, Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jason Heidrich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2. Six-Six-Six

This is a simple match-play format that allows you to play with everyone else in your group and not just a single partner for the duration of the round.

The 18 holes are divided up into three six-hole matches and you can use any scoring format you choose. Even if you get defeated soundly in one of your matches, you have two others to try to redeem yourself.

Must play with four golfers. If you are riding in carts, the usual format is ‘carts’ (those in the same cart), ‘drivers’ (those who are driving), and ‘opposites’ (a driver and a passenger).  

3. Wolf 

A points-based game, this one takes a little planning and some concentration (perhaps try to find an accountant to play with?) but it’s a dramatic one that makes for some great stories by the time the day is done.

There is a ton of other ways to track points and add bonuses to your Wolf game, but here are the basics:

Must play with four golfers.

4. Bingo, Bango, Bongo

Another fun one that doesn’t need to involve four players, and it’s perfect for golfers who have a higher handicap but still want to get in on the action during a round. It’s another game of points but one that’s wrapped in being ‘first’ to do something.

The first player to hit his or her shot onto the green gets a point (Bingo!), the player whose ball is closest to the pin when all balls are on the green gets a point (Bango!), and the first person to hole out gets a point (Bongo!).

At the end of the round whomever has the most points wins.

Can be played with two, three, or four golfers. 

OLD WESTBURY, NY - MAY 27: People play golf at Glen Oaks Club on May 27, 2020 in Old Westbury, New York. Gov. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Nassau and Suffolk counties could begin Phase 1 of the states economic reopening plan on Long Island after a shutdown of nonessential businesses for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

5. Vegas

Another team game, this one can get out of hand if you’re applying a monetary value to each point – but it’s a unique twist on a usual ‘scoring’ game.

Teams are decided on the first tee and scores are not added, but combined. If Player A makes a 4 and Player B makes a 5 then their score is 45. If Player C makes a 5 and Player D makes a 7, their score is 57 and Team AB wins the hole by 12 points.

The lower score always goes to the front of the combined score.

Must play with four golfers. 

6. Best Ball

A Best Ball match is just that, and can be combined to any number of other team matchups on the course. Teams of two play straight up, but as the name suggests, the ‘best’ score on the hole counts as the team score.

‘Best Ball’ is not to be confused with a ‘Scramble’ (very popular for family or corporate tournaments) where all four members of a team hit a tee shot and they continue on to hole out by choosing the ‘best ball’ out of the bunch every time.

Must play with four golfers.

7. Skins

Golfers apply points (or dollar amounts) to each hole and the lowest score wins the pot.

If any two golfers tie the hole then the point or dollar amount carries over to the following hole. Things can add up quick and make the holes later in the round even more exciting!

Can play with two, three, or four golfers.

8. Stableford

Another opportunity for the higher handicap golfers to earn points against their lower-handicap friends, the Stableford system of scoring is so popular even the PGA Tour uses it for one of their events.

Points are applied to scores and the higher the better, in this instance.

For example: Three points for an eagle, two points for a birdie, one point for a par, no points for a bogey, and minus-1 point for a double-bogey or worse is a good way to start.

Can play with two, three, or four golfers. 

9. Nassau

Playing a Nassau is the most popular of golf games and the one with the most variations, too.

At its simplest, a Nassau is broken out in to three games: low front-nine score, low back-nine score, and low 18-hole score. Dollar amounts or points are applied to each match. Say you were going to play a $5 Nassau, the most you can lose is $15. If you win all three, you win $45 ($15 from the other three players).

A popular move when playing Nassau’s is to ‘press’ (basically double-or-nothing on the original bet), which you could do if you were down a few strokes and wanted to try for a late-round charge.

Fun add-ons, called ‘junk’ can be added to the original Nassau game.

Hit it in the water but still made par? You could add a ‘Fishy’ to your Nassau. Knocked it off a tree but still made par? Congratulations, you made a ‘Barky.’ Chipped in? Well done, you earned a ‘Chippie.’

Golf is a fun enough game as it stands, but over 18 holes and with the same group round after round, there is no shortage of little games you can bring to the course the next time you tee it up.

Amateur Junior Development Teams

Junior Development Teams Close 2020 Season

Golf Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB) – The 2020 Golf Manitoba junior development program has come to a close. It was another fantastic year of learning and competition despite the challenges faced from COVID-19 pandemic.  This year’s program was led by Golf Manitoba’s Director of Player Development and PGA of Canada professional, Garth Goodbrandson. Golf Manitoba intern Seth McMahon also assisted throughout the season.

The junior boys’ team season started in May with testing sessions led by Golf Canada men’s amateur and Olympic coach, Derek Ingram. The season continued with two teams competing in the 2020 Mundie Putter league. Team Gold lost in the semi-finals and team Black had a solid season as well.  Congratulations to all members of our boy’s development program!

2020 Junior Development Gold Team:

2020 Junior Development Black Team:

The Juniors Girls Development Team also began practicing at the end of May and continued through the summer working with PGA of Canada professional Bri-Ann Tokariwski of the Elmhurst Golf & Country Club. The team was also fortunate to work with PGA of Canada head professional Cory Kartusch of the St. Charles Country Club early in the season. Special thanks also to Golf Manitoba volunteer Lori Russell for her help throughout the year!

2020 Junior Girls Development Team:

Congratulations to all team members and coaches and we look forward to doing it all again in 2021!

Amateur Senior Women's & Men's Championships

Rhonda Orr and Bruce North win Senior Titles

Golf Manitoba (Carman, MB) – The conditions were absolutely perfect in Carman for the third and final round of the 2020 Senior Women’s & Men’s Championships, the final major of the Golf Manitoba event season.

In the women’s championship event, Rhonda Orr of the Southwood Golf & Country Club went wire-to-wire to win her fifth straight senior women’s championship and her seventh in the past eight years. Orr, started the day with a two shot lead over Tammy Gibson of the Niakwa Country Club. Orr put together her best round of the 54-hole event with a 8-over par score of 79 for a three day total of 240. Gibson posted an 86 for a 249 total to finish alone in second place while Gail Kennedy of the St. Charles Country Club also posted 86 to move her into solo third at 261.

In the forward tee division, Karen Saarimaki of the Kenagomisis Golf Club took top honours by shooting a final round 81 to close her tournament with a 248 total. Nancy Porth of the Niakwa Country Club started the day in second place where she finished closing with an 88 and a 261 total.  Saarimaki also took top spot in the Super Senior (60+) division.

Senior women’s leaderboard >>

Bruce North, the 2020 Senior Men’s Champion

In the men’s championship event, Bruce North of the Carman Golf & Curling Club came back from a two shot deficit to capture his second senior title. North, carded an even par round of 71, the low of the day, to edge defending champion Mike Walker of the St. Boniface Golf Club by a single shot. It was a tight finish with North and Walker coming to the last hole tied after Walker dunked his approach shot on the 53rd hole for an eagle two.  On the 54th hole, North holed a 12-foot birdie putt to take the title and the second senior championship that he has won while playing on his home course.

Rounding out the top five was John Multan of the Elmhurst Golf & Country Club who finished alone in third, Allan Wheeler of the Rossmere Country Club took fourth spot, and Al Briscoe of the St. Boniface Golf Club finished in fifth.

In the forward tee division, Barry Minish of the Niakwa Country Club finished with his best round of the event shooting 75 for a 232 total to win by a single shot over Steve Wallace of the Transcona Country Club. Minish also captured the Super Senior title (65+).

Senior men’s final leaderboard >>

The 9th hole at the Carman Golf & Curling Club on day three of the 2020 Senior Women’s & Men’s Championships

Golf Manitoba wishes to extend a sincere thank you to the membership, management and staff at the Carman Golf & Curling Club for being incredible hosts over the past three days. Thank you to PGA of Canada head professional Dean North, MGSA superintendent Rob Hamm and Food and Beverage Manager Robynn Salter.

Special thanks also to Golf Manitoba performance partners Eric Johnson of TaylorMade Golf Canada and Paige Lawrence of adidas golf Canada for their support of our provincial championships.

And last but not least, thank you to all the competitors for your support and your fine play this past week!!!

Amateur Senior Women's & Men's Championships

Recap: Round two of the 2020 Senior Women’s & Men’s Championships

Golf Manitoba (Carman, MB) – It was another sunny but windy day at the Carman Golf & Curling Club for round two of the 2020 Senior Women’s & Men’s Championships.

In the women’s overall championship event, defending champion Rhonda Orr of the Southwood Golf & Country Club was able to protect her first round lead by posting a 10-over par round of 81 for a 161 two-day total. Tammy Gibson of the Niakwa Country Club countered with the low round of the day with an 8-over par score of 79 and good enough for solo second place at 163. Cathy Adams of the Carman Golf & Curling Club sits in solo third at 173.

In the all new forward tee division, Karen Saarimaki of the Kenagomisis Golf Club continues her hold on first spot at 167 and Nancy Porth of the Niakwa Country Club is in second place and just six shots back of Saarimaki at 173.  Both Saarimaki and Porth are also in first and second respectively in the Super Senior (60+) division.

Senior women’s leaderboard >>

In the men’s overall championship event, Garth Collings of the Breezy Bend Country Club moved into first place after carding a second round score of 73 for a 147 total. Mike Walker of the St. Boniface Golf Club slipped down a spot and into second place after shooting a 78 for a 148 total. There is a three-way tie for third at 149 that includes Russel Slobodian of the Rossmere Country Club, defending champion Bruce North of the Carman Golf & Country Club and John Multan of the Elmhurst Golf & Country Club. North had the move of the day by posting the day’s lowest score with an even-par round of 71.

In the forward tee division, Mike Berney of the Transcona Country Club continues to hold his lead after shooting 77 for a 151 total. Berney also leads in the Super Senior Division (65+).

Senior men’s leaderboard >>

The final round of the 54-hole championships resumes tomorrow at Carman with the men’s field starting at 10am.