Lightning never strikes twi.. Oh.

24 08 2014
On the left, Mr. Len Doyle. On the right, Mr Wayne Wood. In the middle, the man who knows this is the only way he's going to get to pose with the Canadian Pairs trophy.

On the left, Mr Len Doyle. On the right, Mr Wayne Wood. In the middle, the man who knows this is the only way he’s going to get to pose with the Canadian Pairs trophy.

Long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, Len Doyle won a golf tournament.  The Canadian Pairs qualifier at Glacier Greens. This was in the days when young Leonard  was less of a hacker than he is now and also happened to have a talented partner by the name of Jim Livingstone. Len never tires of telling the story of how he and Jim went to Ontario and had a great time. The details of the actual golf they played there remain shrouded in mystery – I can only assume they didn’t do too well – but the fact that they won the qualifier means that before every competition Len enters at Glacier Greens he’s keen to describe himself and his partner as ‘pre-tournament favourites’.

Somewhat more recently – in 2011, in fact – Wayne Wood (along with partner Dave Sheppard) – also won the Canadian Pairs qualifier. By that time, the finals had moved a little closer to home – Crown Isle, in fact. I happened to be officiating at that tournament and I remember two things about it: firstly, that Dave Sheppard was still recovering from a serious illness and could hardly swing a club, and secondly, that it poured with rain the entire weekend. At one point, they stopped play for three hours and Wayne and Dave went home to dry off before coming back to finish their round and get soaked all over again.

So yesterday we held the 2014 edition of the Canadian Pairs qualifier at Glacier Greens and you would be right in guessing that Len and Wayne brought home the bacon. With a barely credible (certainly if you’ve ever seen either of them in action) best ball net score of 57 points, they beat Nick Mykitiuk and Rudge Wilson by a couple of shots, with the Phil Ball/Wayne Mabee and Liz Stirrett/Dave Wacowich partnerships a further shot behind. These guys were all in the ‘close but no cigar’ category’, although they did all win sleeves of Titleists or Callaways for their efforts. Beaten into 5th place (the ‘no cigar, no golf balls, thanks for coming out’ category) were Rob Borland and Warren Brandson, who left the course thinking they might have placed higher but were undone by a slight scorecard malfunction by their playing partner whose name it would be a little unkind to mention. Right, Karl?

If you’re wondering how I fared in my own competition, well wonder no more. As is now traditional, I picked a new partner this year (‘Spread the Blame’ is my motto) and Billy V and myself finished comfortably off the pace. I only have to mention the words ‘Canadian Pairs’ and ‘partner’ in the same sentence and people start looking at their feet and searching for the nearest exit. I mean, come on guys! If Lennie and Wayne can win this thing twice, surely my turn will come?

Many thanks to Bill Kelly and his staff in the pro shop for doing all the background stuff that enables a tournament to run smoothly and to the Men’s Club for providing the runners up prizes. And, last but not least, to the 44 ladies and gentlemen who vied for the trophy this year. If we get enough entries in 2015 we’ll give it another go and I’ll be looking for a partner. Any volunteers?

All da best.

Dave B.

P.S. Meanwhile, Len and Wayne are looking forward to 36 holes of golf at Crown Isle at the end of September (along with a banquet and a bucket of prizes) and should they – God forbid – win there they’ll be off to Pebble Beach in December. That has to be worth the $15 entry fee, doesn’t it?

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Fizzum and the Great Robinski* – RWB 2012

3 09 2012

Robin poses with the Big Club while in the background Adrian delves into his gift wrapped $15 prize. What horror has Vic Crisp come up with this year? Surely not the infamous gold lamé underpants again? Only Moira will know for sure…

The 12th annual Red, White and Blue tournament is in the books and we have another first time winner. Step forward Mr Robin Houlgrave, aka the Great Robinski, who destroyed the field on Saturday with a ridiculously low net 62 in the first round to lead by seven shots and then clung on during a sphincter-tightening stretch over the last few holes in round 3. “And how did Robin fare in round 2?”, I hear you ask. Well, thereby hangs a tale: the asterisk after Robin’s name in the title – check now, if you weren’t paying attention earlier – is to signify the fact that the RWB has, for the first time, a winner who only played two of the three designated rounds. “But how could this be allowed to happen?”, I hear you ask again. All but one of the 16 competitors were gathered around the first tee on Sunday morning, psyching themselves up to do battle with the daunting Blue/White tee combo at Glacier Greens, when the news came in from the pro shop that Robin would not be playing Round 2 due to “a family problem”, but he’d try to make it for round 3. Obviously everybody was sympathetic, until someone pointed out that if he was going to be there in the afternoon it couldn’t exactly be an emergency. At this point there was a bit of muttering concerning Robin’s motives: could it be that he was deliberately trying to throw the tournament and thus avoid having the Big Club on display in the family room for the next 12 months? Some were shocked at the very idea, a couple of past winners wished they’d thought of the same strategy but absolutely no-one thought that such a scheme was that far fetched. Bruce felt Robin should be named the winner there and then, no questions asked, but an unusual spirit of generosity prevailed and it was decided that Robin should be given the average score of the rest of the field for round 2. A net 75 was the result – thus retaining the overall lead – and the rest, despite a pretty blatant attempt by Robinski to get himself DQ’d in round 3 by playing the wrong ball on the 13th fairway, is history.

On the right – Adrian (2nd place in the tournament and big winner in the skins game); on the left – Bud (Not even close. In either).

Bagger Dave (who placed 3rd) and Li’l Stevie Ellis (also 3rd. Unfortunately, 3rd from last).

4th place finisher Wayne Mabee alongside Al Pasanen. Wayne shot a net 60 off the red tees. Sandbagging? It’s what the RWB is all about. Al shot over 100 (gross) in each of the first two rounds. That’s also what the RWB is all about.

Rod Cobham, who finished 5th, deep in conversation with Mike Worley. Or should that be ‘shallow in conversation’? Mike finished outside the top ten yet again. Smart man, that Mike. Never any chance of the Big Club ending up on HIS mantel.

On the right, 2010 winner Sir Stanley Mills. On the left, many time loser Dave Buckley-Jones. (Ouch). Also featured, in an unsuccessful attempt to at least win the hide and go seek competition, Bruce Coulter.

Bill O’Neill and Vic Crisp. Neither were really in the running for the trophy (which was exactly as they planned it), but they did win dinner off Bud and Bruce in a 3rd round side bet.

Liz Stirrett and Dave Wacowich, who played all three rounds together and were STILL on speaking terms at the end of the weekend. Probably a tournament record.

It is fitting that the final word should go to Liz. After all, some misgivings were expressed about having a woman play in the Red, White and Blue (yes, Bud – don’t even attempt to deny it), but in the year that women were finally accepted as members of Augusta National it seemed only right and proper for the RWB to do the same. Liz may not be a multi millionairess like the two ladies down in Georgia, but she certainly enriched the competition. She declared Bill O’Neill ‘a perfect gentleman’ (Billy’s still blushing) and also enriched my vocabulary: in round 2, her hubby Dave, Rod and myself were all lying two on the 7th green, with shortish putts for par, when Liz blasted her first putt some way past the hole. She muttered something I didn’t quite catch, but which sounded like ‘fizzum’. After she’d putted out, I asked her what she’d said, thinking it was some Canadianism that I hadn’t learnt yet. ‘Oh. Don’t you know that one, Dave? It’s actually FISM – and it stands for “Fuck. It’s Still Me”.

Welcome to the Red, White and Blue, Liz, and thanks for the language lesson!

All da best.

Dave B.





Canadian Pairs – it’s a family affair

7 07 2012
Liz Stirrett and Dave Wacowich, Canadian pairs qualifying winners @ Glacier Greens, July 2012

Liz Stirrett and Dave Wacowich, Glacier Greens Canadian Pairs qualifying winners, July 2012

If you’re old enough to hum along to the tune or even remember the lyrics to Sly and the Family Stone’s epic song “It’s a family affair”, well, let’s just say that you’re probably no longer in the first flush of youth. The tune topped the U.S. charts in 1972 which, I’m guessing, was before the winners of today’s Glacier Greens qualifying tournament for the 2012 Canadian Pairs were even born.

35 pairs entered this year’s tournament, no doubt spurred on by the hope that they would somehow ham and egg enough holes to beat out the rest of the field for a place in the Canadian Finals to be held at Crown Isle on September 28/29. Many would have been  thinking that if last year’s winners, Dave Sheppard and Wayne Wood, could score 48 Stableford points and finish first then surely everyone was in with a genuine chance this year. Well, yes…and no. Going out in one of the early groups Liz Stirrett and husband Dave Wacowich reeled off NINE net birdies in a row on the front nine holes to amass 27 points. They cooled off a little on the back nine – ask Liz how she fared on #14 if you enjoy tales of suffering – but the couple held things together enough to set the daunting target of 49 points. Many tried, some came close, but when the dust had settled nobody could get any closer than 47 points. Henry Bondé and Wayne Mabee were beaten into third place on the mysterious countback system by the father and son team of Elmo and Roger Guinan. Roger is still a young man, of course, but Elmo is rumoured to have received a telegram from the Queen years ago. To put it another way, Guinan senior has a better chance than most of shooting his age, and he could certainly do a passable impression of Sly and the Family Stone in their prime.

Many thanks to Bill Kelly in the pro shop for generously donating prizes to the second and third place teams, to Gary Wood from Slegg Lumber and to Len Doyle and the Saturday morning Men’s Club crew for providing sleeves of top quality balls to all the KP winners, who were as follows:

#4 Al Cabilan/Gabe Tremblay; #7 Chuck Brown/James Dickson; #12 Kim Delaval/Jan Edwards; #15 John Lahey/Bill Todd; #17 Rob Hill/Barry Norris. Prizes can all be picked up in the pro shop.

And for the first place winners? Well, as mentioned, Liz and Dave win the trophy, get to go to a fancy dinner and reception and then play 36 holes at Crown Isle at the end of September and can harbour legitimate hopes of going on to play two rounds at Pebble Beach in mid December. Dare to dream, guys – someone’s gotta win.

As for qualifying from Glacier Greens – well, it was a family affair!

Dave B.

(By the way, I was somewhat disconcerted to realise that in 1972 I bore more than a passing resemblance to Sly Stone in this Youtube video. I think I had a better voice though…)