Category Archives: Reviews

Top Golf is Pretty Fun

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Recently I have had to travel to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for work.  The last couple of times there one of our customers has taken us out to Top Golf one evening during my visit.

Top Golf is basically a fancy driving range where you pay by the hour. The targets are greens at different distances. It’s best to go after dark as the range and targets are all lit up. What you do is, when it is your turn, you get a ball from the dispenser, and that ball is linked to your profile.  You hit the ball and once it hits a target you get a score. The scoring is all done automatically, and it shows where you hit the target, as well as the distance the ball traveled.

The key is to make sure your profile is selected before you retrieve your ball from the dispenser.  If you forget, then you hit and someone else will get your score and they will lose one of their shots.  My coworker had a initially kept getting balls from the dispenser without changing it to be his shot, so he was taking the a shot that should have belonged the previous hitter.

There are a bunch of different games.  The one we played was called “Top Golf” where hitting the target gives you a score, the farther the target and the closer to the pin the better the score. It seemed like it was somewhere between 2 and 20 points.  Each player gets 20 balls to hit and the high score at the end is the winner.  If you hit your target consecutively you get more points, kind of like rolling consecutive strikes in bowling. And I think certain “rounds” are worth double points.

The closest target is about 75 yards, and the furthest one is 185 yards.  The end of the range is 215 yards, I think.  If you hit it off the end of the range, but between the lights at the end of the range (i.e. in the fairway) you get points. The closer to the middle light (center of the fairway) the more points you get.

Each stall has either a high table with chairs, or a living room style sectional sofa and chairs.  And you have waiters coming by to take orders for drinks and food.  The food was pretty good. There is also a TV for each stall and you can choose what channel you want to watch. We seemed to always be tuned to a baseball game.

Each stall also has a half set of both men’s and women’s clubs.  Each had a drive and 3-wood and 3 hybrid.  And then either 3, 5, 7, 9 irons or 4, 6, 8, and PW irons. The shafts on the men’s set were all either regular or uniflex, as I found them to be a bit weak, especially the drivers.

Here is our host and customer. He started golfing later in life and is now extremely avid, he tells me hit plays or practices every day.

There were plenty of people there even on Wednesday nights when we were there, some who could really hit it, and some who looked like they had never hit a ball before that night.  Everyone seemed to have fun, even the beginners who could score points by at least rolling it into the targets.

There were three levels to the range. We hit off of the top level. The middle level, which is where you entered the facility, also had a gift shop, and the inside of the lower level had pool tables, ping pong table, and foosball. So there was lots to do for even the non golfers.

Here is my coworker. He is just starting to get into golf and is very inconsistent but can hit it a mile when he catches it.

 

The Best Mini Golf Course I’ve Played

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If you ever go to Grand Bend, you have to play the mini golf course.  There are currently two mini golf courses in Grand Bend Ontario, and they are side by side on the main drag (I have no idea what the name of the street is, I have always known it as the main drag).  My family has been going to Grand Bend every summer for my whole life, and for as long as I can remember we have played at this mini golf course.

It has some holes, with small bumps, large bumps, a couple have ramps to jump over rocks or a pond, and there are a number of water hazards. And there are a few where you have to bank your putts around corners (or two corners) or put it into one hole which will take you to another hole.  And there is also the classic swinging log.

Everyone should be able to make a hole-in-one somewhere in the game (everyone gets one on the last hole).

If you take your scorecard to the ice cream stand next door, the Diary Dip, they will give you a deal on an ice cream cone.

The course has changed a bit over the years, but most of the holes are the exact same as they were since I first played there over 40 years ago.  These days I usually play against my dad and my nephews. Sometimes my nieces play too.

These pictures are from a couple of years ago, but the course still looks the same (my nephew is now much bigger).

We used to always play a game of real golf, but I think from now on we will have to have a full family tournament.

 

Adult Swim Golf Classic is a True Classic

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I was searching for something to watch on TV the other day and saw the Adult Swim channel showing the “Adult Swim Golf Classic” and I had to watch. What I found was a throwback to the old Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf matches of the 1960s and 70s.

This match pitted Adam Scott (the actor) portraying Adam Scott (the golfer) against Jon Daly (the actor) portraying John Daly (the golfer). Somehow the match is set in 1966.

It is a nine-hole match and it is one of the funniest things I have ever seen, especially the antics of Daly really getting into the role of Daly. The commentary from Golf Channel’s Gary Williams elevates the antics to a whole new level.

I had missed the start of the match but was able to find it on Youtube.

Ironwood Golf Club – Exeter Ontario

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7th Green

Ironwood Golf Club is located just outside of Exeter Ontario, about halfway between London and Grand Bend and is a great course to play for golfers of all skill levels.  I have played the course since the early 80s, and back then it was only a 9-hole course built on an old farm.  In the late 80s they added a second 9 to make the current course.

Ironwood is usually in great shape, with quick but not too fast greens, nice fairways, and very playable rough.  The only complaint for course conditions would be some inconsistent sand in the traps.

The course has a couple of streams that cut across a number of the holes, even though it doesn’t come into play for the most part.  Some holes will require you to hit a good drive to clear the stream and make the fairway, while others force you to lay up short and have longer approach shots.

A number of the greens are very deep.  Approach shots on holes 1, 4, 5, 7, 14, 15, 16, and 17 can change by as much as two or three clubs depending on whether the pin is in the front or the back.

The 2nd hole is probably the hardest on the course, where you should lay back short of the stream off of the tee, but then have to hit into a severely sloped green that is angled from the fairway.  Do not go long on this hole or you can easily chip off of the front of the green.

Be sure to make up strokes on the par-5s, and they are relatively short, as the par-3s generally play tough with their narrow and long greens.

Playing a round at Ironwood is a great way to spend a morning before going to the beach in Grand Bend.  It’s a great course for a low stress round, and be sure to enjoy a good burger or footlong hotdog in the clubhouse.

Golf in Kuwait at Ahmadi Golf and Country Club

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Golf in Kuwait
By Megan McGlynn and Mark Hardeman
from 2003 

In the fairway

In the fairway

I thought I would let anyone out there who is contemplating a golf vacation this winter in on the wonders of the Kuwaiti golf scene.  Although often overlooked in many of the leading golf publications, Kuwait golf is alive and kicking.  The golf courses here offer golfers a unique experience, and leave participants with tremendous stories to tell their fellow duffers.  We chose to begin our golfing adventures in Kuwait at the Ahmadi Golf and Country Club which has hosted the prestigious Kuwaiti Open 3 of the last 4 years.  The highlights of the Kuwaiti golf experience can be outlined in the following categories.

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Osprey Valley (Heathlands)

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Osprey Valley (Heathlands)
Review by Drew Sinden
(originally submitted in 2003)

I have played this traditional links style course 5 times and every time I go I like it more and more.  This is the closest course I have seen in Ontario to what I experienced in Scotland.

Since I last played there, they have added 36 more holes, and to everyone’s account that I have spoken to, they are as impressive as the original 18.  I plan to try them out this summer.

You start out on the actual third hole since the site for the clubhouse had not been erected.  This starting point is closest in proximity to the parking lot and drive shed; I haven’t yet heard whether they have developed something more permanent for their 19th hole.  A gentle dog-let opening par 4 calling for a well-placed tee shot of about 235 yards, a water ditch down the left and a row of bunkers right call for accuracy, not length.  The narrow green sits above you and is guarded by mounds.  Miss right and you could be in big trouble.

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Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story by Tim O’Connor

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Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story by Tim O’Connor

Reviewed by Drew Sinden

With Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story, Tim O’Connor provides us with a well written, enlightening and entertaining account about a golf legend that has largely gone unnoticed. Moe Norman is and extraordinary individual that is not your typical person or golfer. Anybody who has heard of Moe will enjoy delving deeper into his uniqueness.

Through interviews with many of Moe’s boyhood friends, golf partners and victims, and several PGA touring pros, the author provides many anecdotal stories from a very coloured past. The stories date from his early junior golf days against Jerry Kesselring in Kitchener Ontario Canada, to his hustling years in Florida, and to his Masters debut and subsequent withdrawal.

The second to last chapter outlines the fundamentals that Moe uses to perfect his swing, from grip and stance to ball position. World-renowned golf instructors call Moe’s action the closest thing to perfect that has ever been implemented.

I have been fortunate to run into Moe on a few occasions over the years.   On one such occasion, I was playing golf at Brantford Golf and Country Club when we were invited to play through his group on the long par four fifth. After our tee shots, I was perhaps 2 yards ahead of Moe (for Moe this was typical middle-of-the-fairway), we decided to hit to the green together.

What a privilege, hitting shots with Moe and Nick Weslock (another Canadian golfing legend).

Moe hit a little four-wood from just over 200 yards to about 12 feet.   I remarked to Moe, in kind of a tongue-in-cheek manner, what as easy game this was. Moe walked over, hung out his hands as if I were going to handcuff him, and told me rather bluntly that people may think this game is easy, but try hitting over a million balls. Had I just offended the best ball striker that ever walked the face of the planet?   Moe quickly changed course and talked my ear off all the way to the green.

After my brush with greatness, I ran right out and bought the book. I wanted to know more about the odd fellow with more game in his pinky than most of us will ever dream of having.

I rate this book a must read for all Canadian golfers and fans of golf everywhere.

Cambridge Golf Club Review

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I have decided that this could probably use its own posting. It is an excerpt from the post I did back in June called “Wie Wins U.S. Womens Open, Streelman Makes History and Cambridge Golf Club” (I guess I like long titles)

Here is the excerpt from that post that was about Cambridge Golf Club.

The 2nd hole at Cambridge Golf Club in Cambridge Ontario.

The 2nd hole at Cambridge Golf Club in Cambridge Ontario.

As for myself, I played on Saturday at Cambridge Golf Club located in Cambridge Ontario.  Cambridge is an old style course, not overly long but plenty of mature trees and a few VERY narrow holes.

Last week I had 39 putts with a bunch of three-putts, but at Cambridge I had 31 putts (good for me) with zero three-putts.

Last week I shot 8-over, and this week with eight fewer putts I shot even par.  Go figure.

The 18th hole at Cambridge Golf Club in Cambridge Ontario from about 170 yards out.

The 18th hole at Cambridge Golf Club in Cambridge Ontario from about 170 yards out.

I like Cambridge Golf Course. It was an easy walk (I prefer walking and carrying my clubs). The only complaint was it was a little on the short side. You’ll feel good about your game because you’ll be able to either hit or come close to hitting all of the par-5s in two shots (I hit it about 250 to 265 and was usually close to 200 to 235 yards out on each par 5). The par-3s vary in length, but the par-4s are all pretty short (drivers and nine irons or wedges), except for the 17th where a good drive still left about 170 yards to go to a green that sloped from front to back (so if you hit the green you end up right at the back). The key Cambridge is to hit it straight off the tee.