Page One (this page): 1998 - 2009
Page Two: 2010 - 2013
Page Three: 2014 - 2015
Page Four: 2016 -
"Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer. Golf! You hit down to make the ball go up. You swing left and the ball goes right. The lowest score wins. And on top of that, the winner buys the drinks. Golf is harder than baseball. In golf, you have to play your foul balls. If you find you do not mind playing golf in the rain, the snow, even during a hurricane, here's a valuable tip: your life is in trouble. Golfers who try to make everything perfect before taking the shot rarely make a perfect shot. The term "mulligan" is really a contraction of the phrase "maul it again." A "gimme" can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers . neither of whom can putt very well. An interesting thing about golf is that no matter how badly you play; it is always possible to get worse. Golf's a hard game to figure. One day you'll go out and slice it and shank it, hit into all the traps and miss every green. The next day you go out and for no reason at all you really stink. If your best shots are the practice swing and the "gimme putt", you might wish to reconsider this game. Golf is the only sport where the most feared opponent is you. Golf is like marriage: If you take yourself too seriously it won't work, and both are expensive. The best wood in most amateurs' bags is the pencil."
And a poem in this regard:
White And Dimpled, And Rather Small.
Oh, How Bland It Does Appear,
This Harmless Looking Little Sphere.
By Its Size I Could Not Guess
The Awesome Strength It Does Possess.
But Since I Fell Beneath Its Spell,
I've Wandered Through The Fires Of Hell.
My Life Has Not Been Quite The Same
Since I Chose To Play This Stupid Game.
It Rules My Mind For Hours On End;
A Fortune It Has Made Me Spend.
It Has Made Me Curse And Made Me Cry,
And Hate Myself And Want To Die.
It Promises Me A Thing Called Par,
If I Hit It Straight And Far.
To Master Such A Tiny Ball,
Should Not Be Very Hard At All.
But My Desires The Ball Refuses,
And Does Exactly As It Chooses.
It Hooks And Slices, Dribbles And Dies,
And Disappears Before My Eyes.
Often It Will Have A Whim,
To Hit A Tree Or Take A Swim.
With Miles Of Grass On Which To Land,
It Finds A Tiny Patch Of Sand.
Then Has Me Offering Up My Soul,
If Only It Would Find The Hole.
It's Made Me Whimper Like A Pup,
And Swear That I Will Give It Up.
And Take To Drink To Ease My Sorrow,
But The Ball Knows ....
I'll Be Back Tomorrow.
Sigh! So true!!!
They've got the balls to prove it!
I've developed Osteoarthritis in my lower back over the last decade or so. Will it get better? No! Will it get worse? Probably. Sooooo, the following cartoons are rather appropriate in my case as other than when bending to pick up the ball after holing a putt, my back doesn't bother me. The score does, but that's just because I'm ambidextrous - useless with both hands!!!
I have a membership at the Hylands Golf Club (two - 18 hole courses) on the south side of Ottawa. It is a military facility, so I get to renew old acquaintances, and rehash (embellish) war stories (sic). Of course being a military installation does present some additional challenges as the courses were laid out by military engineers. When they say out-of-bounds, they really mean it and the penalties are much more severe than on a civilian course.
As an example of this, here is a photo I took at the third hole, a par 3 on the south course. "Old Johnny", a retired Artillery Colonel, was noted for playing all over the course. Well, now he is all over the course! One arm was found on the Ladies 9th tee, a leg on the practice putting green and his head on the driving range. His balls were never found, but his bag and clubs were, and subsequently auctioned off.
Hylands is also noted for its "Special Events." This is a photo taken during one tournament where the stringent dress regulations were relaxed for the day. Organizers admitted that they had not anticipated players would interpret the rules so literally!
As an aside, my dear daughter-in law Cyndy has been bitten by the golf bug. Dan has offered no resistance in this regard as he is already an avid golfer and the opportunity to have his wife take up the game cleverly avoids the golf widow syndrome. A new set of clubs for Cyndy was of course mandatory , and here she is demonstrating how she intends to carry them (no cart). I strongly suspect this "no cart" attitude will change after a round on a typical Ottawa hot, humid day! Dan also has a new set of clubs, and Leif a new driver and irons, so the '98 season could see the "majority" of the Stephansons on the links.
Summer '98 wasn't too bad for me. I probably played more games than any other year, but started to get a bit bored with it all by September. I guess playing the same two 18's over-and-over does tend to diminish the challenge. Regardless, the company was always good, and I did improve my game a bit. I now shoot slightly better than bogey golf. To be exact, my slope handicap is now 17.4, not too shoddy for a sixty-year old.
For '99, much the same. Guess you could say that Tiger Woods is only one stroke better than me, of course that's on every hole!!!
The Poker Club Annual Golf Weekend circa June 1989
The first Poker Club Golf Weekend of the New Millennium was held again in Eastern Ontario. We stayed at the Blinkbonnie Inn in Gananoque, and golfed the Glen Lawrence course near Kingston. I not only was on my game, but was also very lucky. The result? I shot a 91, and won the Coveted Coppard Cup for year 2000! This is now the second time I have won it, Isn't it strange how it seems to rotate between the golfers in a seemingly repetitive pattern ...
Summer 2000 also saw Leif and Wendy's wedding, etc. Nevertheless, I did manage to get in a fair amount of golf at my Hylands Club. Actually, in mid-July I shot an 80, the best I've done for years! My slope handicap plunged to 15.7, but that didn't last. By seasons end I was back to a more realistic 17.3. All in all, an enjoyable summer - even got to golf with daughter-in-law Cyndy!
In June 2001, the venue for our annual Poker Club Golf Weekend returned to the Indian Hill Golf Course near The Pinery on Lake Huron. It is a difficult course with a slope rating of 128. In any case, we certainly couldn't complain about the weather which was probably the best we've ever had for our get together. My golf wasn't exactly spectacular; I shot a 99, but I looked good ... We stayed in the nearby small town of Forest. The accommodation and food were first rate, and we had the opportunity to catch up with the latest news and brag about our grand kids! The gang suitably roasted Judy for her 60th birthday with gifts ranging from the perfectly practical to those of exceptionally questionable taste! A long trip for us from Ottawa, but well worth it. In all, I didn't get that many games in at my Hylands Club but will try to make up for it in 2002. Again after tickling the 16 handicap mark in July, I finished the season around 17 - not bad but not what I'd like. Unfortunately, for the first time in years, I didn't get to golf with any of my 'kids'!
For 2002, the first portion of the season was spent in Winnipeg attending to my Mom's needs. We returned home in mid-July, and I spent the next while catching up on things. Unfortunately, I just couldn't seem to catch up with my golf. Prior to our Winnipeg visit, the weather had been too cold and wet - after, very hot and humid. The result - total inconsistency; I never knew which golf "me" would show up on any given day! Regardless, I ended the year with my usual 17 handicap.
2003 was much the same as 2002 as I finished an abbreviated summer season with a 17 handicap yet again. BUT, I was able to golf with my kids and it was really a blast. My club has twilight golf at half price for as much golf as you can get in starting at ... twilight. We normally got in 9 holes - at least, that's when Dad quit, not having night vision goggles, but some of the more hardy souls kept at it under moonlight conditions...
2004 = Same, Same ... busy summer with two weeks at Rick's Place. I maintained my 17 Handicap, but I never knew which Garry was going to make his presence known! As per the following cartoon, I'm going to take a few lessons this upcoming spring to see if I can inject some semblance of consistency into my so-called game.
2005 was really one of my worst golfing years in the Ottawa area! The weather was just too hot and humid to be enjoyable. But of course that assumes one considers golf fun under any conditions! The saving grace was twilight golfing with son Dan & DIL Cyn at my club, The Hylands. By then the weather had cooled enough to be comfortable and there was sufficient light to get 9 holes in. 2006 may see DIL Wendy and son Leif joining the twilight crew as Wendy is really interested in the game! My handicap (other than my questionable capabilities) remained at 17 though I never knew which Garry might show up. One day, an easy 85; next time out 95 - no consistency
2006 This season I managed several outings for twilight golf (sufficient daylight to finish 9 holes) with son Dan & DIL Cyn at my club, The Hylands. 2006 also saw DIL Wendy and son Leif joining the crew as Wendy's golf lessons inspired her with renewed interest in the game! I'm happy to say that my Father's Day gifts of new 3 and 5 hybrid clubs are really helping my fairway shots, though I'm still ambidextrous (useless with both hands)!!! Regardless, I finished the year with some better games (cooler weather seems to work best for me) and ended up with my usual 17 handicap.
2007 was almost a copy of my (our) activities in 2006, with the exception that my heart problems somewhat limited my endurance. Hopefully all will be fixed by next season ... but then of course I won't have any excuses will I! Oh well, I still have my 17 handicap.
2008 At long last, our annual spring golf get-together was held in Ottawa! Judy and I were the hosts and knew we faced a daunting task to meet the high standards expected by our friends. Initial planning had us golfing at my military club, The Hylands on the Thursday, followed by The Stonebridge Golf Club on the Friday. To reduce the hassle of crossing the city as both courses were in the south end, Judy arranged for a 'Bates' era motel in the area as well as dinner at nearby restaurants.
It seemed all was in the bag until my club started giving me a hard time and then Stonebridge bumped us out as a former Ottawa mayor wanted to host a charity event on that date! So much for planning ahead. After I had a chat with the Manager, the Hylands game was reinstated, and son Leif arranged for us to golf at the Emerald Links Club close by. Leif and Wendy volunteered to host our wind-up party as their new house backs onto the Stonebridge Golf Course where we thought we would be golfing on the final day.
Fortunately everything worked out fine!!! Good games, good meals, great company and just a fantastic time at Leif and Wendy's. Of special note, I won the coveted Coppard Cup for my efforts - certainly not my score. And Judy won the ladies trophy and didn't even golf! Additionally, I was presented with an historic framed photo of Elvis which I have hidden, er, hung, in our computer room. Our guests were a little dismayed at this year's accommodation, so we're looking at a hotel upgrade in Gatineau, Quebec (maybe the Chateau Cartier) and booking some challenging courses in the Outaouais for next year's event.
My golf for the summer was about the same until mid-August. Golfing The Hylands I tried an impossible wedge shot from the edge of a sand-trap when my foot slipped and I severely twisted my left knee. Like an idiot, I continued to play and finished 18, but the next morning I could barely walk. After much urging from Judy, I finally saw the doctor who confirmed a severe sprain and prescribed a knee brace. Naive Garry suggested taking a week off golf would cure things, at which time the doctor glared angrily at me and said more likely 6 weeks! Soooo, no golf until we visited our friends summer homes near Bracebridge in September. I rode a cart and took it easy, not really caring what the score was, just trying to ensure I didn't damage my knee and ended up with a remarkably good score! I guess remarkable is not surprising as the experts advise easy swings... My handicap as usual was ineptness or in numerals, 17.7. My biggest pleasure was the twilight golf with my kids and kids-in-law!!!
2009 was again our turn to host the annual Poker Club golf get-together. We decided after several not-so-veiled comments from certain members to upgrade accommodations from the "Bates Motel" level of last year so booked the beautiful Château Cartier hotel (below) which is only eight minutes from downtown Ottawa in Gatineau, PQ.
Concerning golf, I had planned to get the Chaudiere GC which is adjacent to and affiliated with the Château Cartier (see above). Also, I made reservations at the Mont Cascades course which is a favourite in the area. BUT, as usual, things don't always work out with small group reservations! After booking the rooms, we were advised that large groups had already reserved comfortable times at the Chaudiere leaving no logical times for us. Also, Mont Cascades called that they had the opportunity for a large tournament so 'unfortunately' couldn't handle us. Soooo, back to the search for available clubs. In the end I decided to use MY club, The Hylands, and booked us there for the Thursday. For Friday it was suggested by friends to check out Le Sorcier , a beautiful course about 20 minutes from the hotel. I did and received a definite welcome and guarantee for tee-offs on the Friday. The golf worked out very well according to the group. Even playing golf in a light rain at the Hylands was well received. Le Sorcier was a definite challenge, but fun to play. We all agreed we'd like to have another go at it now that we had identified it's idiosyncrasies.
On the 'Social Side', Judy made reservations at L' Orée du Bois - a charming French Restaurant on the edge of Gatineau Park, about 20-25 minutes away for the Wednesday. For Thursday, she booked us at the Arôme dining room in the Hilton Lac Leamy Hotel, part of Casino Lac Leamy. For Friday, she arranged for a private, newly renovated room for us in the Restaurant of the Chateau Cartier where we were staying! Now that was convenient! We all gathered in the Stephansons' "Boutique Room" at the Cartier for drinks and snacks on the three evenings prior to the dining. Everyone agreed the meals were scrumptious. Also, eating at the hotel in our own room on Friday gave us the privacy for presentations and discussions which we took full advantage of ... as usual!
But wait, there's more! Judy also arranged for fun & games for those who weren't golfing! At left, the ladies are at the Soup 'Herbe Cafe
Janice Kinch, (Fran's longtime friend) designed and constructed the original Ladies' Trophy many years ago, and this year she won it and took it 'home'.
The coveted Coppard Cup was won by Marshal Egelnick. As seen at right, he was truly amazed at his accomplishment, as were other members of our group!
I was assured the cup winner selection by "Judge" Weir was completely subjective meaning that actual scores were not necessarily the only criteria. He gave an excellent presentation speech which was warmly received by all, especially those who were well into the cocktails and wine by the time he was finished. Possibly good looks, who bought the drinks, and whose turn it was to win may have influenced his final selection, though he adamantly maintained this was not the case!
Celebrating 'significant' birthdays this year were both Ozzies turning 70, and Judi Egelnick arriving grudgingly at 60. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the Ozzies receiving their gifts. We did, however, get some shots of Joyce and Al performing a puppet show in recognition of Judi's wonderful work with 'Kids on the Block' and Judi's appreciation of their fine show.
Joyce's birthday was celebrated earlier at the Arôme dining room. As can be seen, there wasn't room for 73 candles so three were chosen as being representative ...
In summary, a great time was had by all. Everyone certainly appreciated Judy's excellent arrangements for food and lodging!!! And the golf turned out to be fun even though the ever-changing bookings made my life interesting. Next year, the Broens & Purveses will be handling things out west (of Ottawa) so I know we can look forward to a great time!!!
Concerning my regular golf this year, there were several factors which contributed to probably the least I've golfed in years! The biggest factor was the absolutely worst weather I can remember for Ottawa golfing. We set a new record for the most rain in any month in July. September had a few good days, but now (early October) the rain has returned and the temperatures have plummeted! Other factors were my travels - 2 weeks in Iceland in late August and early September plus Bracebridge cottages as well, etc., and a copious quantity of visitors from out of town. Unfortunately, commitments by us and our kids plus the lousy weather meant that for the first time in years, I didn't get to golf with my 'kids' at Hylands for Twilight Golf. Oh well, there's always next year!!!
Handicap wise, I decided NOT to bother keeping score any longer. Why suffer the anxiety of 'massaging' scores to look better, or enduring bad days when you can just avoid the whole issue and enjoy the company and exercise? Regardless, I'm sure I'm just as inept as ever and most likely still produce a handicap around 17.
To continue my chronological coverage of our goofy golf events, just click here or on my cartoon.
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