Canadian Golf Radio – Episode 1

Listen to the first episode of Canadian Golf Radio (available via iTunes soon).

CGR_1

In this episode —

  • Some Canadian Golf Radio background
  • Predictions for 2015 (and reflections on 2014)
  • A conversation with Rick Young, SCOREGolf.com’s Equipment & Business Analyst, on his interview with Sean Foley, 2015’s newest equipment stories, The Younger Awards, and much more!
  • My take on Brooke Henderson turning professional

Play via SoundCloud:

 

Canadian Golf Radio – Episode 1

 

 

GJAC names its 2014 Players of the Year

The Golf Journalists Association of Canada [GJAC] is proud to announce Adam Hadwin, Alena Sharp, Corey Conners, and Brooke Henderson are the 2014 Players of the Year as voted by GJAC members across the country.

“We at GJAC are delighted to honour this remarkable foursome, and the runners up who in other years could have won handily,” said Hal Quinn, GJAC President. “The skill levels and accomplishments of the winners and all the nominees heralds a new and very promising era in Canadian golf.”

Adam Hadwin was named the Male Professional of the Year in a tight vote with Graham DeLaet and Nick Taylor. Hadwin won twice on the Web.com Tour, finished first on the Tour’s money list, and earned full status for the PGA Tour in 2014-15. He already has one top-10 finish this season. DeLaet, who earned over $2.6 million on the PGA Tour in 2014, is Canada’s highest-ranked pro golfer, while Taylor became the first Canadian in five years to win on the PGA Tour.

Alena Sharp was named the Female Professional of the Year for the second time in the past four years. Sharp had two top-20 finishes on the LPGA Tour in 2014 and was Canada’s highest-ranked female professional golfer, prior to Brooke Henderson turning professional in December.

Henderson was voted Female Amateur of the Year for the third year in a row. The 17-year-old vaulted to the top of the world amateur rankings with six tournament wins in 2014. Henderson was runner-up at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, and was low amateur with a T-10 finish in the U.S. Women’s Open.

Corey Conners is another repeat winner as Male Amateur of the Year for the second year in a row. Conners, a member of Canada’s national team, finished second at the U.S. Amateur earning a chance to participate in the 2015 Masters Tournament and the U.S. Open. Conners won three NCAA Division I individual titles in his graduating year from Kent St. University, and is Canada’s highest-ranked male amateur golfer.

GJAC_PoY_2014

Some 2015 predictions…

As I’ve done the last couple of years (with varying degrees of success), and although golf is an impossible game to predict, here are a few thoughts and guesses on the upcoming year, with results from last year’s predictions also included.

There’s something about this year that makes it seem different than the last few. Professional golf, on the men’s and women’s side, seems very healthy. The LPGA had a banner year in 2014, with it’s biggest stars shining brightly. The PGA Tour saw Rory McIlroy ascend to the throne of no.1 with two major championship victories, but, his competition is healthy.

Speaking of healthy, a constant storyline this year will be whether Tiger’s back will hold up for a full season. There’s no denying he wants to play, and he wants to play well, but it’s a matter of whether his 39-year-old body will allow for it, while the younger crop of professionals have no fear anymore.

Regardless of what happens, it should be a very fun year in the world of professional golf.

Stay tuned to this space – and iTunes – as I’ll be releasing a bi-monthly podcast. Really looking forward to getting that going through 2015, along with continuing to write for a number of publications. I’ll be continuing my freelance duties for outlets like the Globe & Mail, SCOREGolf, Ontario Golf News and the Canadian Press, so keep your eyes out for my work.

You can always follow me on Twitter at @adam_stanley or on Instragram @adam_stanley1.

As always, thanks for reading. Happy New Year!

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Who will be no.1 in the world at this time next year?

2014 prediction: Rory McIlroy (correct!)

2015 prediction: Rory McIlroy (except I don’t think he’ll hold it for the full calendar year)

How many times will Tiger win?

2014 prediction: Three times, including the PGA Championship (very wrong!)

2015 prediction: Twice

Will any of the ‘Best to Never Win a Major’ win a major?

2014 prediction: Yes (wrong!) – Bubba Watson won his second Masters title, Martin Kaymer won his second major at the U.S. Open, and Rory won the other two

2015 prediction: Yes (see below)

The winners of the Majors will be?

2014 prediction: Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Tiger Woods (oh, so wrong!)

2015 prediction: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson

Ryder Cup?

2014 prediction: Europe (correct!)

2015 Presidents Cup prediction: U.S.

PGA TOUR Player of the Year

2014 prediction: Adam Scott (wrong!)

2015 prediction: Rory McIlroy

Major I want to attend the most?

This wasn’t so much a prediction as a statement, but I said the U.S. Open, and I actually got to go there! (For a practice round, but still, it was very cool). This year I’d have to say The Masters. So many storylines, and I’m excited for Canadian amateur Corey Conners, who, on the heels of his runner-up finish at the U.S. Amateur will get to play.

Miscellaneous Predictions 

  • Half of Team Canada’s Men’s team will turn professional before the end of the summer next year
    • 50% correct. Taylor Pendrith and Chris Hemmerich have turned pro, while Adam Svensson & Corey Conners remain amateurs.
  • Atlantic Canada will host one of the most impressive Canadian golf events ever next year
    • The Nova Scotia Open and GOLFest were both excellent events. I’ll give myself this one
  • Graham DeLaet will win on the PGA Tour. My money is an early-season event. He’ll make the cut at two of the four majors
    • He didn’t win, but he earned $2.6M and finished second at two early-season events. He made the cut at the PGA Championship, and finished T15
    • Meanwhile, Nick Taylor captured a late-season event, becoming the first Canadian in five years to find the winner’s circle
  • An unexpected name will be low Canadian at the Canadian Open.
    • Close, but no cigar. Taylor Pendrith was T1 after the first round, but it was Graham DeLaet who secured the honour
  • Brooke Henderson will challenge at an LPGA event
    • She finished T10 at the U.S. Women’s Open, and turned professional a few weeks ago.
  • A Canadian will once again be Player of the Year on PGA Tour Canada. Maybe Cory Renfrew.
    • Nope, it was American Joel Dahmen who won twice yearly and rode that success to the money title and PoY honours

 This year’s random predictions —

  • Stephen Ames will win on the Champions Tour
  • Brad Fritsch will not win on the Web.com Tour, but he’ll finish within the top-25 and get his PGA Tour Card for 2015-16
  • Adam Hadwin will challenge at more than one PGA Tour event
  • At least one Canadian will make the Presidents Cup team
  • If Mike Weir doesn’t qualify for the British Open, he will play for Canada at the Pan-Am Games in July
  • PGA TOUR Canada will add at least one tournament to its schedule this year
    • I’m going to recycle my 2014 prediction again, and say a Canadian will be PGATC’s PoY
  • A course that’s never hosted the Canadian Open will be announced to do so for 2016
  • There will only be one female Canadian golfer with full LPGA status at the end of 2015

GolfTec Gives Golfers a New Teaching Option

As winter temperatures have firmly arrived across Canada, and the cruel realization that golf season is indeed over, it’s tough to keep working on different parts of your swing that you may have tried to tweak during the season.

But at GolfTec, it’s aiming to give its clients an opportunity to keep practicing, and keep working on their games, so then once the snow melts, they’re ready to go.

GolfTec, which just recently eclipsed 5 million lessons given, has 12 locations across Canada, including Ottawa, where I visited. It also has 189 locations in the U.S.

Sean Joyce, a PGA of Canada Class ‘A’ member, runs the Ottawa facility.

Joyce, who says GolfTec is like the “BMW” of golf instruction, was happy to walk me through a typical first day at the facility.

GolfTec’s system is all about the golfer’s long-term goals, and that’s reflected in its pricing model where plans range from three months all the way up to 12 months.

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“An entire coaching package is involved in what GolfTec offers. It really is for the long-term improvement of the golf game,” said Joyce in an article in Flagstick Magazine earlier in 2014. (You can read the full story here).

Joyce told me about the ‘five factors’ that make GolfTec instruction different from its competitors.

  • Fact-based diagnosis (this is basically what I was walked through during my visit; an overall swing evaluation)
  • Sequential lessons (a ‘step-by-step’ approach to learning)
  • Advanced retention tools (an online ‘player performance centre’ gives students access to everything taught during a lesson using online videos)
  • Video-based practice (this was pretty cool. Although you’re hitting balls into a net, everything is recorded, and you get an immediate replay of each of your swings)
  • Precision-fit clubs (the Ottawa location has Mizuno, TaylorMade and PING clubs available now, with more coming)

Although I was just introduced to GolfTec, it seems like a strong option for those looking for a complete package of instruction, and is committed to the ‘process’ of getting better.

The price point is higher than one-off lessons, but that’s doesn’t seem to be what GolfTec is about. If you take lessons from GolfTec, you’re definitely committing yourself to getting better over the long-term.

And, GolfTec will be there to help you both inside and outside of the hitting bay.

My Lesson Plan —

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Jordan Spieth wins the Hero World Challenge

There were a number of years where golf never had to worry about the future. The sport was blessed with Tiger Woods being, well, Tiger Woods. He was winning at a clip that seemed inhuman and the question wasn’t whether he would be Jack Nicklaus’ major record, but when.

Times change. He’s changed. Golf, media members, and the game’s followers have had to, for the first time in 10 years, look for what’s next.

It’s too early to anoint Jordan Spieth as golf’s saviour – (see: McIlroy, Rory, and others) – but his 10-shot victory Sunday at the Hero World Challenge, was certainly a “look-at-me” victory.

Continue reading “Jordan Spieth wins the Hero World Challenge”

Golf Canada names its 2015 National and Development Team

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Golf Canada has named its 2015 National and Development Team through a press release distributed to Canadian media Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

The team, now in its 9th year, will be comprised of 19 young men and women from across Canada (10 males, nine females) and will once again be coached by Tristan Mullally and Derek Ingram.

Continue reading “Golf Canada names its 2015 National and Development Team”

Cabot Links wins Tourism Industry Association of Canada Award

Cabot Links has won the 2014 Visa Canada Traveller Experience of the Year Award.

The award, handed out Wednesday night by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), marks another accomplishment for the two-year-old golf course in Inverness, NS.

“Tonight was an excellent showcase of the amazing travel experiences, products and people that Canada has to offer,” said Rob Taylor, president and interim CEO of  TIAC.

Continue reading “Cabot Links wins Tourism Industry Association of Canada Award”

Canada’s Wunderkind

U.S. Women's Open - Round Three
(via Ottawa Citizen)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many stories have been told about Brooke Henderson in 2014, but, to my knowledge, I was the only one to go and visit her in her hometown of Smiths Falls, Ont.

I watched her hit balls in a sideways rain, and long after I left, she was still hitting.

Even with a meteoric rise to fame, Henderson says she doesn’t feel pressure from anyone in town. Everyone stops to say hello to her, because to them, she’s still their “Brookie.”

“I don’t feel pressure, even though they all know who I am,” explains Henderson. “I do things for myself, and I don’t feel like I get pushed at all.”

When I wrote the story, she told me she wanted to get her University degree. This was before one of the best seasons by a Canadian amateur in recent memory (let alone a 16-year-old one. She’s 17 now).

You can read the whole story in SCOREGolf.