The Little Golf Course That Could

Originally posted May 26th/2011 –  http://www.flagstick.com/editorsdesk/?p=1845

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This past weekend I took my girlfriend golfing for the first time. It was… many things: interesting for sure, bug-infested, a little wet, but a lot of fun.

Outfitted in a turquoise polo shirt (“Because it’s the colour of Tiffany’s!”) a matching FootJoy glove, and a Titleist hat (“I like this Adam Scott guy”), she was ready to hit the links.

And I knew the perfect course.

Located in Clarendon,Ontario(approximate population: 1000, off Highway 7 near Sharbot Lake), there is a 1,100-yard track called Canadian Shield Executive Golf Club.

Dug out of theforestofTumblehome Lodge(formally called “Tumblehome Lodge Golf Club”) this little piece of golfing heaven is the one place in the world that has arguably seen every level of the game played on it.

There are nine holes, each of them a par-3 ranging from 73 yards to 120. The course record is even-par, 27. There is no dress code. There are no tee boxes. The greens are longer than most fairways.

But there are memories.

I played my first-ever round of golf here, at the age of 11. After a summer of batting around a wiffle ball with my grandad’s oldWilson8-iron, I was finally ready to play.

I took my borrowed set of women’s clubs (persimmon driver and everything) and off my grandad and I went.

Somehow, we made it around the little layout unscathed.

Twice.

Not only did I have my grandad get a cart, but I made him play 18. He didn’t complain and I still proudly hang that scorecard in my bedroom – the best ‘100’ I ever shot.

I studied that scorecard for months, just itching to get back out there and try again. I labeled each hole with what club I should to hit off the tee and analyzed where I should be hitting the ball on the little illustrated drawings of each hole.

We would always return to Canadian Shield each summer, and despite how good I got at the game, going back there to play was just as fun each time. .

The course has had its share of ups and downs; the land was even put up for auction in 2007. Thankfully, someone bought it and kept it as-is, save for the previously mentioned name change.

The course no longer has an official website, and when you read about it on the “Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington Community Resources Database” it’s described as being “located in the middle of the woods.”

Seems pretty accurate actually – I tried checking-in on Foursquare to the course this weekend and it didn’t show up on the “places nearby,” but, “Middle Of Nowhere” did.

It’s always hard to return ‘up country’ and find how cheap a round of golf is, especially being a city boy through and through (born and raised in the heart ofToronto). Canadian Shield Executive is no different.

Maybe the $15 price tag for nine holes seems a little steep at first glance, but how about the $25 to “play all day?” It was a new special added this year.

Would I have done it, had I the time?

Of course I would.

My girlfriend and I were the only ones on the course that Sunday, but only in the physical sense.

As we walked the same route I had walked every summer for the past 11 years, we were accompanied by all of those old memories of mine.

It’s one of those places where despite the bugs, the remote location, and the Astroturf tee-boxes there is still something that makes you want to come back again.

I’m already looking forward to it.

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