Bison golf teams look good

As the fall season begins, The University of  Manitoba Bison Golf teams are getting ready for the 2009 schedule with six tournaments for the men’s side and five tournaments for the women’s squad. The 2009 edition of Bison Golf has eight women golfers and 12 men golfers.

The first action will take place on the September 11th weekend with the men teeing it up at the Concordia Invitational at the Meadows Golf Club while the women play  the Cobber Invitational at the Wildflower Golf and Country Club.

Bison golf co-coach Garth Goodbrandson says they had some strong results from Bison golfers at the recent Canada Games and look forward to producing a good season.

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Gobin all wrapped up for 2009

Brodie Gobin, 15, of St. Claude is taking one last kick at the can this weekend. The Portage Golf Club member originally passed up the Club Championship at his home course to rest up for a junior tournament, but after the PGC tourney was rained out last weekend, he says he’ll be joining his clubmates on the links this weekend for the last tournament of 2009.

Gobin’s season didn’t go the way he had been hoping. Some bad finishes didn’t rain on his parade, though. He said Thursday, “I improved my mental game, because even though I didn’t have the finishes that I wanted, I was able to deal with it better.” He agrees that despite having some tough outings, the challenges he faced over the course of the 2009 season made him stronger.

Collectively on the year, the young man who just golfs for the love of the game, said “even though everything didn’t go right, I still had fun.”

Gobin said his best tournament was one of his more recent ones, the Manitoba Blue Cross Men’s Amateur Rural Championship Aug. 9 and10 at Minnedosa Country Club. This year was Gobin’s first appearance at the Men’s Rural Championship, and he finished tied for fourth.

Spending the summer on the open road, driving to many golf tournaments all over the province, Gobin gets to see a lot of different golf courses. One of the ones he said he’d like to go back to is in Pinawa, where he played at the Men’s Amateur Championship July 20 – 23. “Yeah, I think I’d like to go back there. Pinawa is a nice course,” he mused.

Thursday also marked the first day of Gobin’s off-season from competing. While he did admit to feeling a little sad, he says he’s still going to get out as much as he can. “I golf in Portage, and at another course too, so I try to get out as much as possible, go to the golf dome and hit balls.”

Armed with his new-found mental toughness after overcoming many obstacles in 2009, Gobin is already looking forward to his 2010 season.

With the standard answer of striving to improve all his finishes out of the way, the one tournament Gobin said he really wants to do better in is “The Manitoba Junior Tournament. I want to finish better.”

At his most recent tournament, The National Bank Financial MJT-Manitoba PGA Junior Championship, held at Transcona Golf Club in Winnipeg, Gobin finished tied for tenth on a messy course, muddy and wet after the weekend’s downpour. “The course is easy, but it was in poor condition. It was drenched, muddy ….” There’s nothing anyone can do about the ground being soggy and wet, and Gobin says, “you just have to go out and play the game. It’s the same for everybody.” While mother nature was against all the participants, Gobin says it does get frustrating when trying to play on a wet course. The course was not the major worry on his mind, though. “I couldn’t putt the two days that I was there,” he said, admitting it does stress him out a little when the strongest part of his game isn’t coming together.

Now that the season is over, to curb the boredom, he says he plans to hang out with his friends and hit some balls at the driving range.

The plan for 2010 is already in place — “I’m going to do better,” he said with certainty. “I’m going to have better finishes and just improve overall.” Some other things on his list of goals includes making Team Manitoba, and “going to Nationals. I’m going to try and do that next year, too.”

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Golfer Collings making a splash in SI

HE has gained golf fame in the province and across the country.

Now Garth Collings is going international.

The 2009 Manitoba Amateur champion is a featured face in this week’s Sports Illustrated, on the Faces in the Crowd page of the Aug. 24 issue.

Collings, 51, became the oldest winner of Manitoba’s Amateur championship last month, a title he’s now won three times. He’s also the Canadian mid-amateur champion and Canadian Club Champions champion of 2003.

Collings, who’s playing this week at the Canadian mid-amateur championship in Saskatchewan, was inducted to the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame last fall.

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Golf is king in Canada

Study concludes sport has massive impact on national economy

It was already known that golf is No. 1 in Canada when it comes to participation in a recreational activity.

Now, based on an economic impact study a year in the making, the National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA) knows just how big it is.

Golf accounted for an estimated $11.3 billion of Canada’s gross domestic product in 2008, nearly one per cent of the national total. That included 341,794 jobs nationally.

Nearly six million golfers in Canada played an estimated 70 million rounds last year, down about 10 per cent from the previous five-year average largely because of poor weather.

In Manitoba, the study showed golf contributed $452.7 million towards the province’s GDP of $41.2 billion in 2008, and the industry was responsible for 18,025 jobs.

NAGA is the combined efforts of the Canadian PGA, golf course owners, superintendents, club managers, the Canadian Tour, the golf industry and the RCGA and it released its findings on Tuesday after Strategic Networks Group Inc., compiled them. Six months of fieldwork began in August a year ago and included interviews with more than 4,000 golfers and 350 golf courses.

The sample sizes provided Strategic Networks Group a large degree of confidence in its results, vice-president Thomas McGuire said.

The study showed major economic impact generated by golf. For example:

“ö Total direct sales from the Canadian Golf industry was $13.6 billion.

“ö Of that, revenue generated by courses, their facilities and stand-alone driving ranges was $4.7 billion, nearly the same as all other participation sports and recreation facilities combined ($4.8 billion), and far more than spectator sports which include the NHL ($2.4 billion). What will all the numbers mean?

It’s hard to say, NAGA chair Steve Carroll, the executive director of the Canadian PGA said Tuesday.

“Golf in Canada has been presented with an up-to-date, reliable set of facts and figures,” Carroll said. “The opportunity now exists for all Canadian golf stakeholders to take this information and utilize it in support of their contribution to the Canadian golf economy.”

Carroll said the association members will take a short time to contemplate the numbers, then get together again to try to brainstorm future strategies to improve their lot.

Jeff Calderwood, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association, already has a few things in mind.

“If I was going to put my finger on one thing that rises to the top that I think is good and transcends to the entire industry, it would be our ability to lobby government more effectively,” Calderwood said during a national conference call on Tuesday. “Government advocacy is a huge and growing-every-year detriment to this industry.”

He said he currently has a binder of 28 different issues that golf course owners and municipal, provincial and federal governments are butting heads on, from water to taxes.

“It’s hard for any industry to fight government, but even harder when you have an industry that hadn’t risen to the level where you have credibility and follow it up with facts,” Calderwood said, noting golf has simply always settled for claims that it’s “big,” or “important.”

“Now we have facts to back it up, give us ability defend against everything from a municipal pesticide bylaw to a provincial HST issue to the federal level where golf is not allowed as a business entertainment expense,” he said. “Increased expenses cause prices to go up and that’s detrimental to growing the game.”

Calderwood said the study won’t simply erase those issues.

“Our ability to take on those challenges will not be easy but they will get easier with this information,” he said.

Harry Brotchie, master professional, former president of the Canadian PGA and president of Lakeland Golf Management, which operates eight courses in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, said last night the study was no simple document.

“At first glance, I wonder what we’ll do with all these numbers,” Brotchie said. “I’m always a little nervous on numbers until I’ve had a chance to digest them.

“But based on Jeff’s comments today, I think this study might be beneficial if it’s helpful to the NGCOA in representing the course owners in a variety of issues.”

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North, Dodds earn wins on the links

Summer weather a challenge for golf

Local golfer Bill North played well the last two rounds of the Manitoba Senior Men’s Golf Championship in Winnipeg and earned a spot on the provincial team that is going to compete at the National Championship on August 31-Sept. 4 in Victoria, B.C.

Another  local golfer, junior competitor Matt Dodds won the Carman Junior Open on July 31. Dodds also won the Portage and Winkler junior opens.

The Carman Golf Club Championships were in late July. Wayne Giesbrecht won the Men’s title shooting a 70 and 74 to beat out runner-up Kevin Giesbrecht by six strokes.

Lionel Walz took the Seniors Men’s title edging out Gary McKinnon. And Karen Funke captured the Ladies division.


Less than ideal weather conditions during the spring and into the start of summer has proved quite challenging for Carman Golf Club staff.

However Sherri Moorhouse, the assistant professional at the golf club, said they rescheduled only a single tournament this summer. The course was closed for two days in June due to wet conditions. Moorhouse said the course is now in excellent condition and is helping to make up for the slow start.

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Helmet-headed Winnipeg golf fans pound beer as they cheer Weir

IT may look like a gaggle of Winnipeggers got lost on the way a Minnesota Wild game, but that’s not the case this week in the Twin Cities.

The local lads are cheering on Canadian Mike Weir at the PGA Championship at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. They were decked out in Team Canada hockey jerseys and helmets on Thursday, when temperatures reached 28 C, but each had a beer in hand soon after Weir teed off at 8:55 a.m., according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

“That’s kind of a national thing, too,” local firefighter Jason Wiebe, 36, told Star-Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda.

Wiebe’s travelling companions include Casey Case, Jason Miller, Paul Kingerski, Glen Gray, Justin Smook and Brian Milne.

The fans didn’t get to see Weir at his best however, as he finished Friday at 11 over par and missed the cut.
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This Romeo’s a player

Captures city Grand Final in shootout at Kildonan

Romeo Vallejo captured the City of Winnipeg Men’s Grand Final Championship at Kildonan Park Golf Club on Sunday.

Vallejo’s two-round total of 142 was one stroke better than Ab Guanlao and two better than Mark Murray.

Tom Seepish, Ben Fey and Neil McDonald tied for fourth at 146.

Bob Lunderville defeated Bill Derkson in a playoff to win the first flight, while William Diaz captured the second flight and Keith Wood took top honours in the third flight.

AWARD WINNERS: The Manitoba Golf Scholarship fund announced its 2009 winners yesterday.

Highlighting the recipients is Jesse Skelton of Breezy Bend, who took home the $1,500 Daya Gupta Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement.

Skelton is pursuing a degree in actuarial mathematics at the University of Manitoba.

The remaining eight winners who receive $1,000 scholarships includes Michael Goldberg of Glendale, Connor Macauley of Killarney Lakeside, Scott Markham of Niakwa, Steve Minion of Breezy Bend, Lindsay Stewart of Selkirk, Lucas Wazney of Elmhurst, Nathan Wazney of Elmhurst and Josh Wytnick of Glenboro.

Since the inception, a total of 130 scholarships totalling $125,000 have been awarded.

TOUR BACK IN SESSION: The Canadian Tour schedule resumes this week with the $200,000 Desjardins Montreal Open at Saint Raphael in L’Ile Bizard, Que.

The winner of the event receives $32,000 and a two-year exemption.

All three Manitobans on tour — Dauphin’s Ryan Horn and Winnipeggers Adam Speirs and Matt Johnston — are scheduled to tee it up beginning Thursday.


Horn, who skipped the Jane Rogers tournament in Mississauga and is coming off a second-place finish at the Canadian Tour Players Cup at Pine Ridge, goes into the event in 24th spot on the Order of Merit money list with $17,487.36.

Johnston is 60th, with $7,886.51 in earnings after a tie for 22nd at the Jane Rogers Championship, while Speirs is 84th with $4,985.44.

When the chips are down, just run away

There comes a time when every golfer must put down their putter and confront the most terrifying hazard the game has to offer.

For me, that time came Sunday afternoon during the annual golf tournament pitting the best players from my newspaper against the top players from the Manitoba Theatre Centre.

This is kind of like pitting the best hackers from the Vienna Boys Choir against the elite of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but that’s not today’s main golf point.

Today’s main golf point is that as we battled under the menacing skies at Falcon Lake Golf Course my foursome came face to face with a creature of pure evil.

And I’ll tell you about that in a minute, but first I need to confess that, as a prominent newspaper professional, I played on the theatre centre’s team.

This came about because my newspaper prefers golfers who know what will happen to a ball after they hit it; whereas Steven Schipper, the theatre centre’s artistic director, felt I could add a certain dramatic flair to his team.

I qualify as an actor because I starred in an MTC play, by which I mean I was a corpse. I was a dead body in the graveyard scene of the production of Our Town. I’m a natural at playing dead, because, as a columnist, I remain motionless for long periods of time.

Unfortunately, I play golf the same way.

Also on the theatre team was my buddy Nick, who is an actor in the sense that he read Hamlet in high school.

We were among an army of golfers hacking and slashing our way around the course. Despite the ferocity of our battle, we found time to exchange good-natured golfing remarks such as: “You suck!” Or: “No, you suck!”

But things took a chilling turn as we strolled off the fourteenth green and realized something was terribly wrong — a stranger had wandered out of the woods and was squatting behind the wheel of our golf cart.

He was a fearsome-looking brute, with cold, beady eyes, a muscular body covered in red fur, a horrifying toothy grin, and a massive tale he whipped back in forth in a manner that made our blood run cold.

Worse still, his sharp, furry claws had a death grip on the bag of barbecue-flavoured potato chips I’d bought from the cart girl on the last hole.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: “It’s a squirrel, right?

Well, technically, you are correct. But this was a squirrel the likes of which you’ve never seen.

This was not an ordinary, garden-variety city squirrel you’d find scampering in your yard. No, this was a rogue squirrel the size of a canned ham, with an even bigger chip on its shoulders.

We’re talking a hardened cottage-country squirrel, the kind of fierce rodent that, after years of consuming snacks dropped by golfers, has become large and aggressive. Unless you are nuts, you do not mess with a GIANT SNACK-STEALING SQUIRREL OF DOOM.

Ever so slowly, we crept up on the golf cart, where the squirrel sat, glaring and feasting on my barbecue chips.

“I may just be a squirrel,” was the telepathic message it sent us, “but I will defend these chips with my life!”

So there we were, four grown men, armed with high-tech golf clubs, surrounding a single squirrel, armed with a cellophane bag of chips.

The odds were clearly in the squirrel’s favour.

We yelled at it. We waggled our clubs menacingly. We threatened legal action.

But the squirrel just reared up on its haunches (yes, it had haunches), and screeched what sounded like insulting squirrel remarks.

Finally, my buddy Nick risked everything, leaping behind the wheel of the cart, stomping on the accelerator and rocketing away at top golf cart speed, which is slightly slower than airport luggage.

Startled, the squirrel dropped the chips, and disappeared through an air into the cart’s engine, at which point Nick hit the brakes, and we surrounded the cart again, while the squirrel, hidden in the bowels of the cart, shrieked in anger.

Here was my chance. Heroically, I grabbed the chip bag and sprinted for the next hole, with the squirrel, who darted out from under the cart, hot on my heels.

In the end, apparently having made its point, the squirrel fired one last evil glance and darted into the woods to await the next unsuspecting snack-laden foursome. It was a thrilling moment, and I savoured it until the end of the day, when my team went down in flames.

I don’t think the theatre will invite me back next year, but you’ll be pleased to hear they’ve signed the squirrel to a long-term deal.

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1st Annual Alumni Golf Tournament

Oak Island, Manitoba — Brandon’s Rod Klassen captured the 1st Annual Brandon Wheat Kigns’ Alumni Golf Tournament Thursday at Oak Island Golf.

Klassen shot an even par 72 to edge Brandon’s Shawn Baker by two strokes. For winning the event, Klassen took home a $250 watch from McCallum Jewellers.

The event, which was held to raise money for the hockey club’s Education Fund, attracted close to one hundred golfers including a number of current and former Wheat Kings.

As well, the Alumni Association recognized two of the more pivotal builders in franchise history during Thursday night’s Banquet – Bob Cornell and Glen Lawson.

A supporter of the Wheat Kings for nearly five decades, Lawson is a former player, coach, governor and general manager of the hockey club. In fact, he was the first ever GM of the Wheat Kings when they joined the Western Canada Hockey League in 1967.

Lawson’s son Jeff is also a former Wheat King and served as the first ever President of the Alumni Association.

Having served as an owner of the franchise for close to thirty years, Cornell’s name is synonymous with the Wheat Kings. He first became a member of the hockey club’s ownership group in the 1970′s and was instrumental in striking an agreement with the Keystone Centre in 1986 which saved the franchise from being relocated.

Under his ownership, the Wheat Kings won two WHL Championships in 1979 and 1996 and advanced to three Memorial Cups – in 1979, ’95 and ’96.

Two years ago, he was named winner of the WHL Governors Award, which is presented annually to individuals, who through their outstanding service to the League and achievements in the game, have contributed to the growth and development of the WHL.

Making the presentations to Glen and Bob Thursday night were current Alumni President Ken Schneider and Wheat Kings’ general manager and head coach Kelly McCrimmon.

The Alumni Association would like to recognize both men for their outstanding contributions to major junior hockey in western Manitoba as well as thanking the many sponsors and golfers and management of Oak Island Golf for helping to make this year’s event a tremendous success.

Scoring against cancer

Annual fundraiser held at MTS Centre, Larter’s

Two days later, he was introduced to synovial sarcoma. Following months of extensive radiation and chemotherapy sessions, he underwent major surgery in March 2005 on his shoulder, removing the tumour but leaving him with limited use of his left arm, and effectively ending his hockey career.

Through the two premier events – the Sizzlin’ Summer Showdown hockey game and the Sizzlin’ Summer Invitational golf tournament – many NHL stars who played either with, or against, Davison have offered their time to contribute to the worthwhile cause.

Monies raised through the annual Believe in the Goal events support those with cancer and will focus in three major areas;

• Believe in the Goal Blankets – Provided to children and young adults fighting cancer for their comfort during treatment.

• NHL Experience – Because of Todd’s love of hockey, Believe in the Goal Foundation Inc. will provide all-expense paid trips for children with cancer to attend NHL games.

• Capital Fund – Dedicated to special projects to enhance patient care within Manitoba.

The golf tournament, meanwhile, featured golfers teamed up with a pro hockey player for the entire round. Throughout the course there were sponsored activities and signage acknowledging all of those who have made this happen.

After the round, players enjoyed a dinner where awards & prizes are presented. There was also a time for autographs/pictures and mingling with other players from the day. The hockey game, meanwhile, saw a return, albeit brief, of NHL back in Winnipeg.

Many players who either played with or against Davison and have now gone on to pro careers, participated in both the golf tournament and hockey game.

“It’s like the kids have grown up and realize the importance of Todd’s goal,” said Sutherland. “The players have all decided to come back (to Winnipeg) even though they all have crazy summers – we have had no problem getting them back at all. Most of the guys played with Todd in either the WHL or in the Winnipeg (Minor) system.”

Besides the game itself, youngsters also had an opportunity to get autographs of their favourite player.

“When these players see these little boys lining up for autographs, they were like little boys themselves, and they took the time to sign every kids’ shirt and everything that was handed to them,” said Sutherland.

“They were thrilled and they were so good to the kids – we got so much positive feedback from that – it was so important to the kids.”

NHL players who participated in this year’s event included: St. Andrews native Darren Helm and teammate Derek Meech (Detroit Red Wings); Chicago Black Hawks’ Jonathan Toews, Cam Barker and Ben Eager; New Jersey Devil Travis Zajac; Calgary Flames’ Nigel Dawes and Dustin Boyd; Vancouver Canuck Jannik Hansen; Toronto Leaf Colton Orr; Nashville Predator Jordin Tootoo; Columbus Blue Jackets’ Andrew Murray and Derek Dorsett; Los Angeles King Brian Boyle; Tampa Bay Lightning Ryan Craig; and Washington Capital Eric Fehr.

Manitoba Moose players featured were Nolan Baumgartner, Shaun Heshka, Alexandre Bolduc, Zac FitzGerald, Jason Jaffray, Cory Schneider and Mike Keane.

The AHL also had several players participating, including Gord Baldwin (Quad-City Flames), Chet Pickard (Milwaukee Admirals), Dale Weiss (Hartford Wolfpack), Geoff Waugh (Portland Pirates) and Brent Skinner (Chicago Wolves).

Rejean Beachemin, a goaltender with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads, who played one game last season with the AHL’s Houston Aeros, also took part.