Wacky weather, terminal entertainment, world domination and more

It’s the start of a new month, so let’s have a look in the Shag Bag and see what’s happening.

Snow golf anyone? Maybe not

If the weather has you puzzled, you’re not alone. In my area north of Toronto, we had temps in the low teens early in the week, followed by a blizzard on Wednesday night that left a couple of inches of snow on the ground. The good news is that it’s supposed to warm up on the weekend and all the snow should disappear.

The even better news is that some courses are taking the forecasters at their word and will be opening on Saturday March 2nd. Each year we take note of the first course to announce their opening and this year that honour goes to Lowville Golf Club in Burlington. It was closely followed by announcements from GolfNorth and Beechwood.

I can’t recall an earlier opening day and maybe it’s a sign that we’ll have a long, warm, reasonably dry golf season. But don’t hold your breath. I can certainly recall lots of early starts to the golf season that were interrupted by cold snaps, snowstorms and horrible weather throughout March and April and well into May. Don’t take the snow tires off just yet.

But for those desperate to feel some grass under their feet and shake the rust off their game, now’s the time. Enjoy it while it lasts!

RIP The Match. Please

The 9th edition of The Match was played last Monday, and reports indicate it had the lowest number of viewers yet. Just 511,000 people tuned in to see Rory McIlroy, Max Homa, Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang play 12 holes under the lights at a muni in West Palm Beach. Just writing 12 holes, under the lights and muni makes me wonder why anyone watched at all.

Apparently, someone thinks there’s merit in producing these things and they do raise money for charity but for the life of me, they have to be just about the lowest form of golf entertainment going. Here in the GTA, The Match was available on HLN which thankfully is not something that is part of my Rogers subscription. Temptation avoided.

Is this a thing?

For the last week or so I have been receiving pitches from a company called Harvest Hosts (https://harvesthosts.com). They’re essentially an RV Camping company that has secured thousands of host sites throughout the US and Canada where RVers can park their rigs overnight for free at farms, wineries and breweries. And now at golf courses too.

The deal is that in return for providing a free overnight stay, the campers will reciprocate by buying local farm produce or wine or beer and presumably a round of golf. The website looks legit, and it appears that plenty of RVers have taken advantage of the program, though why they contacted me, I’m not sure. I don’t own an RV and can’t imagine hanging out in a golf course parking lot all night. It’s not that I’ve never done it, but that was many years ago and not a performance I want to repeat.

Harvest Host doesn’t have a lot of Canadian golf courses shown on their map but one local site that stood out showed an image of Bigwin Golf Club’s 18th hole. I reached out to Bigwin to see if they had some sort of deal with the company but so far haven’t heard back.

If anyone has any experience with this kind of RVing, I’d love to hear from you. Maybe the program has merit for courses that don’t have stay-and-play options but right now I have way more questions than answers.

Maybe it was a slow golf week

The hype this week is over the top. ANTHONY KIM IS BACK! They make it sound like AK is the second coming of Tiger Woods. People in the golf media either have short memories or are so starved for a shred of golf content that they’ll latch on to anything. Just for the record, Kim was six over par in his opening round at LIV Golf Jeddah. That was dead last and 14 shots behind the leaders. Next!

Time to find another dance partner

Speaking of LIV Golf, nothing has been announced recently about the purported Framework Agreement that would see LIV Golf and the PGA Tour come together under one umbrella organization. In fact, since the Jon Rahm signing in December and the SSG deal in January, it seems that both sides may be farther apart.

Both Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods said that perhaps the Tour doesn’t really need the PIF money anymore. Several golf writers have suggested that the two sides could remain apart for at least another two years.

I think there’s another option.

LIV should do a deal with the DP World Tour. They could easily fold their 14-event schedule into the DPWT as some sort of elevated, designated Signature Series, much the way they have already done with the Asian Tour. The Signature Series would require expanded fields (maybe 80 players) and have some mechanism for DPWT players to qualify for the bigger purses. (Sounds like another Tour doesn’t it?) The LIV players would get World Ranking points and DPWT would get some of that PIF money to bolster purses and essentially tell the PGA Tour to take their Strategic Alliance and shove it.

The two tours could work out a mechanism where the best players had a way to play in each other’s Signature Series events and of course, all the best would be eligible for the majors.

An American tour and a rest of the world tour. Both with strong financials. Competing but co-operating too. I know I’d prefer that to a monopoly run out of Ponte Vedra.

Have a great week!

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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