The Shag Bag: Copetown Woods, free gas, a putting solution and more

Pictured above: Golf bags stuck at an airport in Scotland.

Plenty of golfers arrived to play but their clubs didn’t make it at the same time. Several touring pros also had to scramble to find clubs for recent events. Mix-ups at the baggage terminal are just one part of a world-wide mess that includes flight delays and cancellations that are plaguing travelers of all kinds as airports struggle to get their staffing levels and service back to normal after two years of pandemic. Road trip anyone?

Another fine mess

I suppose we all believed that things would end up in court one day and that day has finally arrived as 11 LIV Golfers have sued the PGA Tour for a restraining order that would pause their suspensions and allow them to participate in the FedEx Cup playoffs. The back and forth is mind-numbing and there will be lots more allegations and mudslinging before it’s all over. Those in favour of LIV Golf believe that the PGA Tour is a bully and is unfairly restraining players from being independent contractors. Those against LIV Golf usually point to the source of their funding (Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund), Saudi human rights violations and atrocities, and their involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some just don’t like Greg Norman. A reader poll we conducted a couple of weeks ago saw 55% of readers against LIV Golf and 45% in favour. Not sure if anything has changed anybody’s mind in the interim but this is a long way from over. I can sympathize with arguments on both sides but don’t quite see it as black and white as some do. Essentially, I just want to see tournaments where the best play against the best, regardless of which Tour they belong to or where they come from. As it stands now, the lawyers are involved, which is rarely a sign of compromise. Stay tuned.

Copetown Woods

Playing a bit of catch-up here. Back in the spring, I had the Bunker Squad out to Copetown Woods, west of Hamilton, for a very enjoyable round of golf. The last time I was there was the summer of 2008 for a Golf Journalists media day during Canadian Open week. Our special guests were PGA Tour players Jimmy Walker and Chez Reavie, who went on to win the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey by three shots over Billy Mayfair. Naturally, all of the insightful golf journalists concluded that Reavie’s win was due to the special tips we provided during our round at Copetown Woods. Ya, right! At any rate, it was nice to see how well Copetown Woods had matured, yet not lost any of its bite. The inspired routing is dictated by the rolling terrain and wetlands in a very natural way as if the course was just there. The greens in particular are challenging, with humps and slopes and rolls that you could spend lots of time trying to figure out. Lots of fun too. Course conditions were excellent. General Manager Barry Forth is one of the bright guys in the golf industry and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with him. I always learn something. At the start of the Covid pandemic, Barry wasn’t sure they would be allowed to open the golf course, but that didn’t stop him from turning their bistro into a take-out restaurant with full meals. He says it was the busiest they’d ever been. Copetown Woods is well worth a visit, and I don’t plan on waiting quite so long before I go back. By the way, whatever they’re serving as a halfway house special, try it.


Readers may recall my vow at the beginning of the season to look for a way to overcome some of the ravages of age. The biggest culprit seemed to be a loss of distance, but I also noticed that my putting had gone south. I used to be a pretty good putter, sometimes really good, but lately the yips were creeping in, and my focus was sketchy. Initially, I put it down to poor ball positioning but as I moved the ball around and tweaked my putting style, things just got worse. I could easily miss from two feet, usually jerking the putter at the last moment as I sub-consciously realized I was misaligned. Then I read an excellent piece of advice from Golf Performance Coach and regular Fairways contributor Tim O’Connor called The Quiet Eye Approach to Putting. I’ll let you read it for yourself because he can explain it way better than I, but suffice to say, it has made a huge difference in my putting. And a new fat grip hasn’t hurt either.

Half Century Man

Congratulations to Joe Robinson of Cabot Links on 50 years in the golf industry. I first met Joe over 20 years ago when he was the Head Pro at Highlands Links and he shepherded my wife and I around Stanley Thompson’s masterpiece, regaling us with wonderful stories as well as tips on where and where not to hit the ball. Fifteen years later, he repeated the process, this time at Cabot Links, where he seemed to know every blade of grass as well as he did at Highlands. The man’s a legend!





Free Gas

That’s not something you see every day. In fact, since the run up in gas prices earlier this year, gas is so expensive, it’s causing some people to change travel plans and think twice about where they drive at all. Don MacKay, owner of Muskoka Highlands Golf Club in Bracebridge, decided to actually do something about that – he’s paying for your gas if you book a foursome at his course. In fact, he’ll reimburse you for a full tank, just bring in the receipt. Don’s not new to creative ideas – Muskoka Highlands has FootGolf, lawn bowling and allows you to bring your dog to the course. And it’s a pretty nice spot to play. Click HERE for the details.

Wilson Paterson (1933-2022)

Sad to hear of the passing of Wilson Paterson, founder and owner of Royal Ashburn Golf Club in Whitby. Over the years, anytime Wilson saw me at the club or the Golf Show, he’d stop to either ask me a question or tell me a story – sometimes both – which always led to interesting conversations. My condolences to wife Sandy and sons Allan, Scott and Dave and their families. A tribute to Wilson has been posted on the Royal Ashburn website including details of a planned Celebration of Life. You can find it HERE.

Peter Mumford
Peter Mumford is the Editor of Fairways Magazine. He's played over 500 different courses in 21 countries and met some fascinating people along the way. He's also a long-suffering Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

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