Wooden Sticks Golf Course

Wooden Sticks, Hutch, the Black Eyed Peas and more

Here’s what’s on my mind this week:

Wooden Sticks / wooden hands

This past Tuesday was the annual Ontario Golf Hall of Fame event at Wooden Sticks Golf Club in Uxbridge. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play, even though the forecast was a frigid 6 degrees. Wooden Sticks has long been a favourite track of mine with replica holes of Augusta, St. Andrews Old Course, Troon and TPC Sawgrass. And other holes inspired by Pine Valley, with lots of sand, scrub areas and wire grass. The course was designed by American Ron Garl, who is quite an interesting character himself but more on that another time.

While Wooden Sticks is best known for its replica holes, the non-replicas are perhaps even stronger, and the combination makes for a delightful outing and a pretty tough test. The cold didn’t make it any easier and a forecast 6 with no wind turned to a stiff breeze on the back nine and who knows what the temperature was with the wind chill. Temperature: 6 – Feels Like: Bloody Cold!

My playing partners included fellow golf writers Scott McLeod, Grant Fraser and David McPherson. Scott’s a plus 2 and the cold didn’t seem to affect his driving, so we used his 290-yard bombs under the tournament format. Even so, I’m not sure I contributed much to the team score.

Two things I learned again, because I must have forgotten them since my last ill-timed outing in cold weather: you can’t putt when you can’t feel your hands and that pledge you made to only play if the temperature is at least double digits was a pretty smart idea.

Enough of my whining. Put Wooden Sticks on your Must Play list for this year. It will be memorable. https://woodensticks.com/ 

Ontario Golf Hall of Fame

Happy to see colleagues Garry McKay (Builder Category) and Rick Young (Media Award) inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Bob Beauchemin (Builder Category) and the late Audrey Bendick-Akins (Player Category).

For many it was also a sad day after news of fellow journalist Ian Hutchinson’s passing last Sunday. Hutch was just 68 and a previous recipient of the Lorne Rubenstein Media Award in 2017. Hutch enjoyed a long career as a reporter for the Newmarket Era Banner, golf columnist for the Toronto Sun, an editor for World of Women’s Golf and since 2008, as owner, publisher and editor of Golf News Now, an online golf business publication that most in the industry relied upon daily for the latest news and Ian’s commentary.

Ian’s friends and colleagues will honour and remember him at a Celebration of Life on Monday May 15th at Woodington Lake Golf Club in Tottenham. Details are HERE.

Where’s the Toronto Golf Trail?

I was recently asked by an American golf publication to write something about golf in the GTA so I crafted a story and called it ‘Play the Toronto Golf Trail’. It’s a totally misleading headline, which I readily acknowledged, since there is no Toronto Golf Trail. While I was researching the story, it struck me that many US destinations have used the ‘trail’ concept to group together local courses for marketing purposes. The most famous may be the purpose-built RTJ Trail in Alabama but the Golden Bear Trail, The Georgia Golf Trail, The NY State Golf Trail and many others do the same thing. Not to mention many cities, states and tourism boards that actively promote their regions as golf destinations.

We have over 250 public courses and 87 private clubs in the GTA and many of them are world class. Why Tourism Ontario or the City of Toronto or even some enterprising travel company doesn’t use this group of exceptional assets to attract visitors is a puzzle. Golf is considered one of the top attractions for people looking to travel now that COVID is behind us.

You can read my story HERE.

Will I Am, J Rey, Alanis and Rory

Sounds like a great foursome but no, they won’t be playing together. J Rey and Will I Am will be headlining the Black Eyed Peas during the RBCxMusic Concert Series at the RBC Canadian Open next month. They’ll entertain on Friday June 9th while Alanis Morrissette will perform on Saturday June 10th.

On the golf course, recent announcements tell us that in addition to defending champion Rory McIlroy, reigning U.S. Open champ Matthew Fitzpatrick, past Open Champion Shane Lowry and annual winner of the Best Hair award Tommy Fleetwood will all be teeing it up at Oakdale in June.

Lots of Canadians will be in the field too: Mike Weir, Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes, Adam Hadwin, Adam Svensson, Nick Taylor, Taylor Pendrith, Michael Gligic, Aaron Cockerill and Ben Silverman.

I expect to see a few more Top 50 names as we get closer to the tournament. Despite being sandwiched between elevated, designated big money events and a major championship, there are some who will play our Open out of loyalty and some who just like the routine of playing the week before a major.

Adams Golf is back

A while back, I wrote that the price of new equipment is crazy with $900 drivers and full sets topping out at more than $4,000. And I wasn’t the only one lamenting the ridiculous price for new golf clubs. Apparently, somebody at TaylorMade must have been listening. They have just released a full line of Adams Golf clubs that are more reasonably priced and more suited to the majority of golfers. The new clubs feature a ton of technology usually reserved for higher end products and even include two putter models that incorporate the C Groove technology originated by YES! Putters many moons ago. You won’t find any of these products in local retailers or golf shops though. The Adams line is a direct-to-consumer brand where you can mix and match components and even buy short sets. I plan to have a serious look and will report back soon. In the meantime, you can get the full Adams Golf story HERE.

Tiger’s caddie is moving on. What does that mean?

To nobody’s surprise, Tiger has indicated he won’t be playing competitive golf anytime soon after another ankle surgery. Joe LaCava, his long-time caddie, announced this week that he will be on Patrick Cantlay’s bag for the foreseeable future. That’s a pretty good switch – a hobbled occasional golfer for a Top 10 player. Tiger’s media blocker spokesperson manager Mark Steinberg was quick to let everyone know it’s not a permanent move – just a chance to let good ol’ Joey stay in the game and be ready for when Tiger returns. It sounds like Joey is a loyal fellow but if he has a couple of years on Cantlay’s bag earning big bucks in elevated events, it might be tough to switch back to Tiger right when he’s ready for the Senior Tour.


Alistair Tait, as usual, has a unique perspective on the pro game. Here he comments on the resignations of European stalwarts Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer from the DP World Tour and the fact that these Ryder Cup heroes have been blacklisted from ever being team captains. Even Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald expressed their sadness at the way things have turned out. You can read Alastair’s blog HERE.

They said it

Lee Westwood commenting on the DP World Tour and its actions relative to players leaving for LIV Golf.

“People say I knew exactly what would happen, but nobody told us the extent of the punishments. And they continue to do that,” he said. “The way I view it is that, as a European Tour member, I was allowed to be a member of the PGA Tour without any problem for all those years. Tell me, what is the difference? Just because LIV is funded by the Saudis – a country where my tour used to play and where we were encouraged to play?

“Now, in my opinion, the European Tour has jumped fully in bed with the PGA Tour and even though Keith [Pelley, the CEO of the DP World Tour] says he hates to hear it, it is now a feeder tour for the PGA Tour.”

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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