My 2011 Golf Page

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Length of the golf season in the Montreal area (north shore)
Lots of people ask me how long the golf season is in the Montreal area. This chart should give you a feeling of how long the season is. I am not a cold weather golfer so there are people who start earlier and end later, but this should give you a rough idea.
Year 1st game Course Score Last Game Course Score Comment
2011 May 21* Oka 81 Dec 5 Versant - Moulin 80 I started late in 2011 because of a trip to Europe however I only left for Europe on April 28 and the season had not started
*Tartan Tournament
2010 April 4 Le Select de Mirabel 90 Nov 16 Versant - Braves 78  
2009 May 17* Cardinal 84 Sept 20 Lachute #1 82 *Tartan Tournament
2008 May 10 Victorien 88 Oct 13 Victorien 85  
2007 May 5 Deux-Montagnes 94 Oct 28 Lachute #1 90  
2006 April 14 Deux-Montagnes 81 Oct 27 Le Boise 87  
2005 May 4 Quatre Domaine #2 87 Oct 5 Quatre Dom 88  
2004 April 19 Quatre Domaine #2 91 Oct 13 St Andre 88  
2003 April 20 Quatre Domaine #2 91 Oct 7 Montcalm 84  
2002 April 7 UFO Duvernay 91 Oct 13 Oka 82  
2001 April 29 Glendale Elite 90 Nov 24 Versant - Braves 82  
2000 May 12 Owl's Head 83 Oct 24 Montcalm 87  
1999 May 1 Glendale Elite 84 Oct 16 Glendale Elite 88  
1998 April 22 Cardinal 85 Oct 31 Glendale Elite 88  

 

My first experience in the Golftown National Amateur Series
Event #22 - Fontainebleau

Click logo to go to the National Amateur Series Site

August 23, 2011

At the beginning of July this year I took a close look at the Golftown Amateur Series which this year had expanded to around 25 tournaments across Canada culminating in a national final in Niagara Falls at the end of September. There are 9 categories of players called flights including 2 flights of seniors, A and B. In the amateur golf world, I am a new senior as of May, the only remaining question was whether I was an A or a B senior. With the A/B line being an 8.0 handicap index, I also entered the A senior around June when my index dropped below 8 and even went down to 6.1 for a for weeks. Being an A player would mean that I would be playing with the big boys and since I entered this event at 7.2, I was surely one of the higher handicappers in my flight. Of course, many golfers in the B flight maybe 'artificially' (or artistically) keeping their indexes above 8.0 to have a better chance of winning but I won't get into that here. I have been keeping track of my own index for years using various software and websites such as oobgolf.com but the Golftown A/S requires an RCGA handicap index. You more or less get one of these by being a member at a club but for golfers like me without a home course, I didn't think you could get an official index. When I was considering entering event #22 because it was being played at one of my favourite courses, Fontainebleau, the website mentioned that Golf Quebec had a Public Golfer Program, which would allow me to have a real RCGA index. So on July 19th, I made my application to Golf Quebec which cost $40 a year and registered for event 22 which happened to be the 22nd of August. Within days, I received my start-up kit from Golf Quebec and I entered my previous 20 scores to obtain my official RCGA approved index. You don't have to be a member or have a userid to check anyone's handicap. You can just go here and search for any registered players. Of course, not everyone puts in all their games, but for honest golfers this should be an up-to-date value. I make it a point of entering all my games good or bad. Another thing you may notice is that the scores on the RCGA website don't always match the actual scores. That's because the scores are automatically adjusted meaning that anything above a double bogey is dropped. For example, I shot an 80 in this tournament but my score on the RCGA site shows 78. That is because I had a 9 on a par 5 so it adjusted it to a 7. I wish that would actually happen on the golf course but alas you have to count the snowmen and the moose when they happen. The handicapping system calculation is very difficult and it it is hard to play to your handicap as it only considers the 10 best games of your last 20.

This is my handicap chart starting in February when I was in Florida until yesterday's event

Anyway back to the tournament. The reason I am writing this now is that it is fresh in my memory and I will probably look back at this in a few years and reminisce about the one that got away, almost. Now that you know that I entered this tournament in the A senior bracket, there were only 3 other golfers competing in this flight. There were 78 other golfers in the other 8 flights. It was a threesome shotgun start and I was paired with 2 A seniors and the fourth senior was 2 holes ahead. We started on the par 5 7th hole and as seniors we use the white tee boxes. The problem with starting on 7 was that, along with hole 10, this was one of the driving distance measuring holes. Before going any further, permit me one last tangent in the next paragraph.

I forgot to set up the day. As many of you know, I am not a very good 'wind' player. I love when it is howling in my direction, but since I hit a high ball, I simply hate hitting into any kind of breeze. As it would have it, the course would not be my friend today as it poured all night and they predicted 30 k/hr winds gusting to 50 k/hr and they were correct. It was a rare cart path only day at Fontainebleau so I knew my drives would be all carry and no roll most of the time. At least they put in the clean and place rule in effect which put an onus on hitting fairways. It rained all night into early morning and my buddy Mike O'Neil who had said he would caddy had second thoughts. Actually I sent him an e-mail the night before relieving him of his promised duties because one guy going to play in the rain was enough stupidity. I drove by Mike's house and he had just sent me an e-mail seconds before saying: 'i think i am going to pass on going with u ,,have fun and go get them ,,good luck". But as luck would have it, a little ray of sun appeared as I went by and Mike changed his mind and he was my caddy (and moral support) for the day. Tangent closed.

The stage is now set, we are starting on hole 7 with my 2 playing partners Stan Hogan (5.3 index) and Jacques-Herve Roubert a 6.4 index who has only posted one game in 2011. The wind is helping somewhat but pushing right, a slicer's nightmare. Now I mentioned that this was a drive measuring hole. In order to only put out one set of distance markers all tees are in the same place. For you who know hole 7, they are on the GOLD tee-box. Are you people out of your minds? That means a 200 yard carry across a hazard and then you can measured your drive. Even worse for us. It's our first hole and I forgot to mention, it's cold not only windy and our last shot on the driving range was at least 45 minutes before.

The nightmare begins... Stan tees-up, hits it high and straight and I know it's in trouble from the start as the wind pushes it right, going going gone. He is not convinced but I have been there before it's O.B. for sure so I tell him to hit a provisional. I am next and I don't want the wind to do a repeat but I know I have to carry 200 yards. I overcompensate with a dead pull to the left just over the carry but into a flower bed decorated with a Tigeresque boulder. I know it's going to be an unplayable lie but at least I crossed the swamp. Jacques then tees it up and relies on a draw to avoid Stan's trouble but not even a draw can fight the gale force wind. I know it has stayed inbounds but I suggest that he should take a provisional. So now both players are potentially hitting 3 off the tee. Stan hits his provy into the swamp, so 5 off the tee with another provisional. Jacques relies on his draw again and manages to steer it into the trap on the right side. Needless to say there was a frantic search and rescue attempt at the first balls as I was dropping 2 club lengths away from PercÚ Rock and wedging my way back to where a drive should have been. So here are the A golfers lying 3, 3 and 5 on what is supposed to be the shortest par 5 on the course. Final damage 7-7-9. Let's now skip ahead to my second nightmare on hole 10, he final drive measuring hole. I now have the honours for the 2 back to back pars on 8 and 9. The wind is still howling coming in at 11 o'clock so I decide to give it a little more oomph so that I don't look like I hit the ball 180 yards with a driver. Result: a dead pull left and the wind decides not to push the ball back to the right. I take a provisional and the wind decides to pick on that ball and blows it into the sand trap barely 190 yards off the tee. After a frantic and unsuccessful attempt of finding ball one, i must revert to the beach and hit a 7 iron out that probably goes 110 yards and actually comes back towards me when it lands. Anyway, my two 'partners' are on in regulation and I am lying 6 on the green with a salvageable 7 if I drop in a downhill 15 footer which of course I miss and leave myself a tap in for an eight. Oh did I say the nightmare was finished? The 2 footer takes a left turn and misses the hole. NINE. That now puts me at 6 over in 4 holes and trailing Jacques by 3 and Stan with his opening 9, by 2. If Mike would have had his own car at this point he would have probably left.

I have basically blown my first foray into competitive golf and basically wasted $170 but I will try to enjoy the rest of the day even if it's in conditions I hate. Fast forward to #12. Into the wind I have left myself 165 yards on the left side of the fairway to the notorious red pin on the right side of the green surrounded by lots of water. With the wind pushing towards the water, downhill lie to boot, I told Mike I was aiming 4 houses to the left of the pin and hitting long to make sure to carry the trap. Now 4 Blainville mansions to the left sounds like a lot but they are a couple of hundreds yards away. Lo and behold I do slice 4 houses to the right and the soft green stops my ball on the edge of the green leaving me a 20 footer which I sink for a birdie after seeing Stan's break a little more than I would have normally read. I follow up with a routine par 3 on 13. Now I have fought my way back to one shot from Jacques and even with Stan. I am feeling pretty good at this point but Jacques sinks a 30 foot birdie to regain a 2 shot lead and I save par with an 8 footer to stay within 2 and tied with Stan. Another nightmare double on 15, once again with a gimme putt miss for a 3 putt from 20 feet. Jacques now leads by 4. Then I do the Hat Trick (16-17-18) in 4-4-4. On 16, from a bad lie in the right rough I had a great shot to a deep left pin position. I even impressed myself with that shot. Almost sank the 15 footer but settled for par. Bad news on 17 with a completely buried lie in the front bunker, I managed to get in within 15 feet and settled for a bogey while Jacques lags a 50 footer to a foot for a par. The lead is now 5 and there are only 7 holes left. On 18, I miss my drive but roll up to within 175 yards of the pin while Jacques is ahead waiting to hit wedge into the green. I hit one of the easiest and straightest hybrids to within 10 feet of the pin. That put a little pressure on Jacques but he had not missed an approach shot all day. His wedge went right of the green, he then chubbed his chip and had 2 putt to go. After the chub, I told Mike that if I sank my 10 footer it could mean a 3 shot swing. Well I missed the birdie but I left it close for a par. 3 shots behind 6 holes to go. Was it possible?

On hole number 1, we all went in the right rough scared of the wind blowing our balls into the drink. I went way right and had terrible downhill lie which made it impossible to go for the pin over the trap. I ended up rolling over the green but with a fairly easy chip to save par. Jacques flew the green and didn't save it. So now the sun is literally shining with 5 holes left I am only 2 behind. One thing I hadn't really noticed because my eye was on Jacques is that Stan had quietly crept in front of me, so I was really chasing two guys. Daniel Fraser was in another group so we only found out his score 15 minutes after ours were in. Now on the second hole, I use a hybrid into the wind and pop it up. On a 295 yard hole, I am left with 175 yards to the pin. I leave my next shot on the front fringe while both of my opponents hit the green and par, I bogey and I am back to square one. 3 and 2 shots behind Jacques and Stan respectively with only 4 holes to go.

Now we are on the 405 yard par 4, I haven't mentioned this yet, but Stan is outdriving me with his 3 wood by about 40 yards and Jacques is always at least 20 yards in front of me. So on a 405 yard par 4, it's advantage them. Jacques puts one on the 150 stick and I push one into the right rough, very close to trouble. Now I am left with 185 yards to go and I have to hit it in between the woods and one tree. I lift my head on the swing to see it going through and I top the ball and it goes 60 yards. There goes all my chances with Jacques on the fringe with a deadly short game and me with an 8 iron in my hand. This time though, I wasn't lifting my head. I hit the best 8 iron of my life and it floats a bit left to pin high 3 feet away for an eventual par. Of course, Jacques saves par but Stan bogey as the 3rd green is very bad and almost unputtable. With 3 holes left, I am aiming at second place which has an outside chance to qualify for the Nationals if the first place guy does not go or if he has already qualified.

Now on the 145 yard par 3, I am the only on the green but with a 50 foot putt on the second worst green on the course. Jacques chips to within 10 feet. Stan misses a chip out of the deep rough and takes a 5. All I want to do is 2 putt from 50 feet and get one back from Jacques. No luck, though I 2 putt, Jacques sinks his 10 footer for yet another save. 2 holes down and 3 strokes back but had calculated that I was 4 strokes back. I knew that I was probably ahead of Stan because of his double bogey.

Now the big hitters outdrive me by a lot on the par 5 5th, and while I have 190 yards left to the flag after my second shot, they have laid up in front of the water hazard inside the 150 marker. Of course I go first and hit the left side of the green. The only problem is that the flag is 80 feet away on the right side. Another monstrous 2 putt attempt coming but I am going for second place anyway. I hate wishing bad luck of my fellow golfers, but after I hit the green, I said to Mike, If Jacques duffs his ball, I may have a chance. Jacques completely misses his approach and it tops it into the hazard. He then goes to the drop area and wedges one to about 12 feet. Now I have a 80 foot up and over right breaking putt that I leave about 6 feet high and short. Jacques misses his putt for a 7 and I roll in mine for 5 and think that I am going to the par 3 6th hole only trailing by 2. I am also thinking that anything short of birdie is useless.

At this point I have regained the honours and Mike and I discuss what club I should use for the 155 yard shot coming up. With the wind still swirling, I finally asked Mike 'what would you use?'. He said a 6. Knowing that I always take one or two clubs more than Mike I decided to take a 5 since I have a little more control than with a four and I would rather be putting uphill than potentially be past the pin with a slippery putt coming down. 5 iron was the right decision as my ball sailed straight for the hole landed about 6 feet short kicked to the right and left an 8 foot left breaker for birdie. Obviously, this put some pressure on Jacques as his shot barely crossed the ditch and left him about a 25 yard bump and run which he eventually bumped and ran quite a way past the pin. He then had a 25 foot downhill putt which he flew by the hole about 4 feet. It was now up to me. The most important putt of my senior career. I had been lining it up for a few minutes while Stan was trying to save par from the bunker and while I was watching the other putts. Well if you saw the scorecard below you know the result. I knew the putt was going in almost as soon as I hit it. Too many putts had brushed by the hole. Jacques got his comebacker for a 4, so I thought we had tied. As we drove back to the clubhouse, I must have counted and recounted the score 5 times. I had beaten Jacques with a little help from Jacques himself. When we submitted our scores, we had to wait for the score to come in from the mystery Daniel Fraser. That seemed to take a long time as the scoreboard was scrolling through other flights, even the scratch golfers in the open class were coming in with 75 as their leading score, so I would have been surprised for another senior to breaking 80 on this windy day.

15 minutes went by and finally Daniel's score was posted. It was a close one and I had qualified to get humiliated at the national level against much better golfers but anything can happen. That was proven today!

Postscript - I was curious about Jacques Herve Roubert's background since I saw he lived in Westmount. I googled him and it ends up he is the CEO of a company called Nurun based in Montreal with offices all over the world. It is part of Quebecor. I guess I won't be sending my C.V. there anytime soon. I think he was a little upset at his last 2 holes as he pulled a disappearing act right after handing in his scorecard. Here is a link to Jacques's executive profile which includes his salary of 2010.

HOLE 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 OUT 16 17 18 1 2 3 4 5 6  IN   TOT
White 485 355 345 495 395 365 145 525 420   320 135 390 325 295 405 145 530 165   6240 
PAR 5  4  4  5  4  4  3  5  4  38 4  3  4  4  4  4  3  5  3  34 72 
Paul Goyetche 9  45 35 80 
  +2 +2 +2 +6 +6 +5 +5 +5 +7   +7 +8 +8 +8 +9 +9 +9 +9 +8    
Jacques Roubert 41 40 81 
  +2 +2 +3 +3 +3 +3 +4 +3 +3   +3 +3 +5 +6 +6 +6 +6 +8 +9    
Daniel Fraser 42 40 82 
  +1 +1 +1 +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +4   +5 +6 +6 +7 +7 +8 +8 +9 +10    
Stan Hogan 9  44 39 83 
  +4 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5 +6   +6 +7 +7 +7 +7 +8 +10 +10 +11    
HANDICAP 11  5  13  12  10  8  16  2  4    14  18  6  7  15  1  17  3  9     

 

Breaking 80
It is said that only a small percentage of golfers shoot a game under 80. For me it's a personal goal every time I go out to play. For some reason it very rarely happens when I play on vacation. I don't think it's because the course are harder. They are less familiar but I think it's because I try too hard to do it. Anyway below is a chart by year of breaking 80. It shows how many games into the season I did it and how many times I did it in the year.
Obviously, this year is one of my better years at breaking 80. I can't explain it except to say that I am avoiding double and triple bogeys. My drive is a little straighter and longer than the last couple of years. In recent games my short game is best it's been in a long time.
Year Date Score Course How many games into season How many times/Games played % Comment
2011 June 4 77 Whiteface Resort 13th 30 of 76 39 30 of last 68 (excludes Florida 44%)
2010 May 17 79 Deux-Montagnes 30th 14 of 105 13  
2009 June 12 79 Deux-Montagnes 3rd 4 of 31 13  
2008 May 13 77 Glendale Ancestral 2nd 5 of 38 13  
2007 May 30 75 Cardinal 17th 8 of 56 14  
2006 May 19 79 Green Valley 11th 8 of 61 13 On My 50th birthday
2005 June 10 79 Montcalm Seig. 13th 4 of 44 9  
2004 May 5 79 Epiphanie 4th 14 of 71 20  
2003 June 23 75 Cardinal 20th 8 of 60 13  
2002 June 23 73 Quatre Domaines #2 18th 13 of 67 19  
2001 June 1 78 Glendale Ancestral 12th 4 of 74 5 Member at Glendale
2000 June 2 79 Glendale Elite 12th 6 of 77 8 Member at Glendale
1999 May 2 77 Glendale Ancestral 11th 7 of 85 8 Member at Glendale
1998 May 20 77 Oka 12th 13 of 81 16 Member at Oka

 

 

Course Difficulty?
Average scores on courses I played more than 7 times over the last 13 years

Course Average Best Worst Times played
Glendale - Elite 87.4 74 102 110
Glendale - Ancestral 83.9 74 93 88
Le Cardinal 82.6 73 90 60
Oka 82.1 75 90 51
Deux-Montagnes 83.0 75 94 58
Playa Grande (Dominican Republic) 85.5 76 98 36
Victorien 83.2 75* 94* 35
Lachute #1 82.6 76 93 33
St Andre 82.1 75 90 20
Varadero Golf Club (Cuba) 82.1 77 88 19
Quatre Domaines #1 83.9 77 93 19
Quatre Domaines #2 82.9 73 92 18
Lachute # 2 84.3 78 90 11
Bellevue 82.9 77 88 10
Fontainebleau 82.8 76 90 13
Le Challenger (R.I.P.) 83.2 72 92 8
Le Champetre 83.6 81 89 8
Montcalm (Seigneurie) 83.8 79 90 8
Ile Perrot 83.3 79 89 8
 * both in 2011 within 10 days of each other

Average scores by year
These are my averages for the each year since 1998
Year Average Games Played
1998 83.56 81
1999 87.13 85
2000 85.23 77
2001 84.97 75
2002 83.93 67
2003 84.32 60
2004 82.87 71
2005 84.70 76
2006 83.55 61
2007 84.71 56
2008  84.21  38
2009 83.00 30
2010 84.45 105
2011 81.67 76