Is Oviinbyrd the best?
I recently had the pleasure of playing Oviinbyrd (pictured above) in Muskoka as part of a small media outing organized by course designer Tom McBroom. It had been six or seven years since I last played the course, and as always, it was in superb condition. The ambience and amenities in the clubhouse are a good match for the golf course, making it evident that members here enjoy a really special experience. Naturally, as happens whenever a group of golf writers get together, there’s an inevitable discussion of where the course and club rank, and there were many that felt Oviinbyrd topped the list for Muskoka. It’s a bit like deciding which Miss Universe contestant is the prettiest. McBroom has a healthy portfolio of magnificent designs in the region including Rocky Crest, Deerhurst, Lake Joseph Club, Ridge at Manitou, Parry Sound and Port Carling. I think I need to play each of them several more times before I can decide.
New date for the RBC Canadian Open
While the “official” 2024 PGA Tour schedule has not been released yet, several sources have reported that our national open will move ahead two weeks and be played May 30-June 2 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club. That’s the time slot previously occupied by The Memorial tournament. The PGA Tour is working on revamping its events so they can have a cluster of elevated, designated, big money tournaments and a cluster of others. The ‘others’ will serve as qualifiers for players to get into Top 70 no cut, guaranteed purse events. It would appear that RBC will extend its sponsorship for at least one more year and that our Open will not feature an elevated purse. In addition to the new date, tournament organizers will also be looking for a new angle to spice things up since “No Canadian has won the event since 2023” won’t cut it for at least a couple of decades. Thanks Nick Taylor!
SilverBrooke – another gem on the Discovery Tour
Following a rainout and a gaggle of visitors, the Discovery Tour got back on track recently with a visit to SilverBrooke Golf Club in Lisle. I know I do a lot of explaining about the Tour and its locations but for the uninitiated, the Tour is my weekly attempt to play a course in the Southern Ontario region that I’ve never played before. The courses are generally affordable (under $75) and we usually play tees at about 6,000 yards. This week we were in Lisle which is northwest of Alliston.
SilverBrooke is a tale of two very different nines that were built at different times. The front nine is shorter, tighter and tree-lined while the back is more of a links-style layout with plenty of width and fescue. (Both nines were in excellent condition.) The greens are anything but flat and offer some surprising humps and rolls, which in my book, makes them fun to putt. Water in the form of ponds and a creek lurks but doesn’t require any long forced carries. There are relatively few bunkers and they’re shallow. It’s an easy course to walk, although there are a couple of long treks between holes on the front. All in all, a pretty straightforward golf course with little serious trouble but challenging enough for any skill level.
That may sound boring to some but it’s really the backbone of golf in this country. Most courses don’t have a huge WOW factor and their routing over farmland won’t offer dramatic elevation changes or impressive scenery. However, golf isn’t always about the spectacular. More often than not, it’s about a group of friends getting together for a social outing, batting the ball around and relaxing in a pleasant environment.
SilverBrooke is terrific for that and has a decent clubhouse and patio to prolong the frivolities too. Rates are $40 walking Monday to Thursday and $50 Friday to Sunday.
I told some friends about Silver Brooke and was asked if I’d go back. “For sure,” I answered. “The price is right, and it’s got more than enough challenge for me.”
They responded that they would give it a try, which is great, as I think most golfers need to take their game on the road more often, but they also said that it’s an hour away and without a recommendation, there’s no way they would have travelled that far in case it turned out to be a goat ranch. Well, it’s not and I’m pretty sure they and you will enjoy it.
You can find more information on SilverBrooke HERE.
No roll back for the big boys
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has informed the governing bodies (USGA, R&A) that the Tour will not accept a golf ball roll back as proposed earlier this year. The proposal is open for comments until August and the new ball wouldn’t be in play until 2026 but Monahan says his players don’t want it and don’t feel it’s necessary. Most of the manufacturers also don’t want to make a ball that nobody except the pros will play. You can read details on the Commissioner’s comments HERE.
Perhaps a better way to limit how far the ball goes would be to make the pros revert to woods that are actually made out of wood.
More proof the world has gone mad
Scotty Cameron’s Champions Choice line of putters go on sale today (July 28) with a MSRP of $700 US. The teryllium-insert button-back Signature putters are a limited-edition launch which may be a good thing as I don’t know anyone crazy enough to pay that kind of money for a putter, no matter whose name is on it or whatever fictitious metal is in it. It also doesn’t come with any kind of guarantee that it will sink any more putts than that $49 Dunlop blade you picked up twenty years ago at the flea market. Presumably there are some lunatics with more money than brains who need the latest and greatest as much for their ego as their golf game, and this latest Scottie will be a short-lived talking point until the next big thing comes along. They will just be added confirmation that WC Fields was correct when he said there’s a sucker born every minute.
Here’s one from Executive Golfer Magazine in California:
Are there more golf courses, Starbucks, or McDonalds in the world?
Golf courses: 37,600+
They Said It
I’m told that the hardest part of being a teaching golf pro isn’t helping adult golfers develop a good swing.
It’s getting them to stop using a bad one.
Our position feels so fragile, we hold on very tightly.
Competence, status and connection are fleeting yet hard-won. We can often feel like an impostor and one way to find peace of mind is to fortify the foundation of what we believe got us here.
And so we close up.
Alas, it’s almost impossible to pick up something when your hand is in a tight fist.
This is why emotional enrollment is the key to learning. No toddler learned to walk by insisting, again and again, that crawling was good enough. Or by trying to walk by simply crawling harder.
Teachers (leaders/organizers/coaches) have two jobs. The first is to earn enrollment, the second is to teach.
If the student is unwilling to become open, afraid to let go of what they’re holding on to, then better is going to be elusive.
Resistance is wily. It will come up with a thousand reasons to remain closed, narratives about entitlement, security or cultural dynamics. Whatever it takes to stay still. Extinguish one and another will replace it.
Let’s get real or let’s not play.