After riding the high of finally reaching my goal of hitting a golf ball over 300 yards, I wanted to cap off this series with perhaps an even more difficult task.
That task? Challenging my coach for the year, Stew Bannatyne from Modern Golf, to an 18-hole match play showdown, the details of which can be found in the video at the top of the page.
But the course we played — St. George’s Golf and Country Club, home of the 2022 Canadian Open — was the best and most difficult course I’ve ever played.
Aging gracefully on the golf course
Golf really is such a fickle game. Every time you may think you’re making improvements and getting better, the game can always be made tougher by playing from a longer tee box or a more challenging course.
It wasn’t the distance at St. George’s that was the issue (we played from the white tees at around 6,400 yards), it was the conditions. First, the greens were lightning fast, so the correct putting speed was vitally important.
The rough was extremely thick and punishing. And the grass in the rough grew away from the hole, which made making clean contact almost impossible. Most of my shots from the rough were short and offline.
Two seemingly minor things made a huge difference in playing conditions. I was 7-over through two holes (my nerves got to me) and I shot a 50 on the front. I continued to play better and my 46 on the back nine gave me a total of 96 — which the Golf Canada app equated to a 90 on the courses I typically play.
Taking on a Drive, Chip and Putt Champion
It was a great afternoon and a pleasure to see a scratch golfer’s game up close and personal for the first time. Thanks for all of your help, Stew!
Speaking of courses I usually play, I have an update on the four-year bet I mentioned in my September post. I beat another one of the guys this past month to win another case of beer.
I’ve beaten three of the five thus far and have until June 2025 to take down the other two.
While this series has come to an end, I definitely have the golfing bug. I’ve been hitting in a simulator a couple of times per month (and will do so throughout the offseason) and I’ve even been playing some late fall golf at Derrydale Golf Club in Mississauga, Ont., to keep working on my skills.
Thanks for reading and watching! See you on the course next year!
Mike Arsenault is a Digital Broadcast Journalist and a host of Global News Weekend.
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