Lifestyle

Nine excuses to golf now

Including: Mixing the 'Arnold Bomber.'

1

Because last year’s driver is still pretty great…

Let’s be honest. It’s not so much a lack of technology that causes you to slice off the tee. Every. Single. Time. It’s more likely the burning self-doubt that creeps into your brain every time you square up the club. But new clubs are shiny, and that initial glow can be enough to distract you from the darker realities of your mental game. So, if you’re going to sell yourself on the idea of new driver, go about it the smart way. Last year’s TaylorMade R11S TP Fairway comes with the trademark adjustable Flight Control Technology, with 24 different combinations of loft and angle settings. Better still, it’s $200 cheaper than it was a season ago.

$189, www.golftown.ca

2

…But you could use some new irons

Phil Mickelson left his driver in the car at this year’s U.S. Open. Many scoffed. But by Sunday, he was the only under-par golfer on the course. The lesson: you’d be as wise to splash out on a new set of irons than a fresh driver. The Callaway Razr HL hybrid combo set is ultra-forgiving, even as you hit the ball higher and further.

$700, www.golftown.ca

3

There’s a Nine-hole gem near your office

We asked Canada’s best golf writers* to share their favourite short courses

Allandale Golf Course

Innisfil, Ont.

Some say it’s the most intact course ever designed by the legendary Stanley Thompson (only the greatest course designer in Canadian history). Almost nothing has changed since it was finished in the 1930s.

Uplands Golf Club

Thornhill, Ont.

Another Thompson course, Uplands had 18 holes until 1989. The remaining nine now include two par threes—the fourth and the eighth—that are vintage Thompson: challenging and picturesque.

Flemingdon Park Golf Club

Toronto

Minutes from downtown in the Don Valley, Flemingdon is perfect for a relaxing afternoon nine. Not the most challenging course but, as the realtors say, location is everything.

Gleneagles Golf Course

West Vancouver

Because it’s carved into the lush coastal landscape, Gleneagles is more than a little bit mountainous. The third hole involves a lung-busting hike up “cardiac hill.” But trust us, it’s worth it.

Red Sands Golf Course

Canvendish, P.E.I.

A personal favourite of Bob Weeks, the man behind ScoreGolf’s best 100 courses in Canada. Red Sands is tough enough to challenge the experienced golfer, easy enough for the casual duffer.

Harvest Hills Golf Course

Calgary

With 68 bunkers, and water hazards on almost every hole, Harvest Hills more than lives up to its course motto: “One tough nine.”

Elk Island Golf Course

Elk Island National Park, Alberta

Just 30 minutes from Edmonton, Elk Island has Canada’s largest population of plains bison. True fact: the scientific name for plains bison is Bison bison bison. Still, try not to taunt them.

Bowen Island Golf Club

Bowen Island, B.C.

Well worth the 20-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver, the Bowen Island course is less than 10 years old, but it features some timeless views.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

North America’s oldest golf club. And it was recently named one of the best short courses outside the United States by Golf Digest magazine.

*According to Lorne Rubenstein, Bob Weeks, Brad Ziemer, Adam Stanley, Scott MacLeod and Todd Saelhof

4

You can look as good as the pros

Ian Poulter

The English golfer is routinely the best dressed on the PGA Tour. His own “Poulter tartan” is even registered with the Scottish Tartans Authority.

Poulter tartan pants: $159, www.ijpusa.com

Paula Creamer

Nicknamed the “Pink Panther,” the American golfer’s line for Adidas comes in many shades of—you guessed it—pink. But it’s the flattering cuts that really drive sales.

Adidas Archistripe knit skort: $75, www.adidas.ca

Luke Donald

The English golfer has been wearing Ralph Lauren exclusively since 2002, which goes a long way to explaining why Donald has been the tour’s classiest dresser for more than a decade.

RLX slim-fit tech polo: $89.50, www .ralphlauren.com

5

Because it’s 3 p.m. and that happens to be the perfect tee time

So says Fraser Reid, starter at Ancaster’s historic Hamilton Golf & Country Club (host of last year’s Canadian Open). Actually, he says the sweet spot is between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. “It’s after the peak morning hours but before the late day rush. It’s the best time all week.”

6

You only need 10 minutes to warm up…

While it’s tempting to grab a bucket of balls and work through your clubs on the range, Brampton, Ont.–born PGA pro David Hearn says that’d be a mistake. You’re better going short, since the majority of your shots in a golf game are made with your wedge and putter: “Everyone likes a long drive, and it’s exciting, but to really lower your handicap, chipping and putting will do it a lot faster.”

. . . and, oh yeah, stretch

“The golf swing is not a natural motion,” says Hearn. “It torques the body in ways it wasn’t designed to do. Even if you’re crunched for time, stretch.”

7

You got a cool watch

The Garmin Approach S3 is pretty and smart

Being the guy with the latest golf gear doesn’t mean you have to look like a club-swinging science experiment. The Garmin S3 Approach watch uses GPS on 25,000 preloaded courses to tell you how far you are from the green—and whether you’d be wiser to lay up on that nasty dogleg. It looks pretty good, too.

$350; www.garmin.com

8

Because you don’t have to talk work

But you probably will. And while the Internet can offer an ocean of advice on how to mix business and golf, it’s tough to find any of it that is actually good. (Remember the time WebMD told you that itchy scalp might be leprosy?) Here are four tips for golfing with clients that will serve you right in any situation:

  • No shop talk before the 5th or after the 15th hole. It’s a game not a sales call.
  • Play your own game. Don’t tank your score to make your boss or client look good. That says more about your character than it does about their golf skills.
  • Stay in touch. Wait until the post-match handshakes to hand out the business cards.
  • Save the heavy drinking for the clubhouse. Maybe just one spiked Arnold Palmer (see below).
9

Because you’re thirsty

Not least among golf’s many splendours is the Arnold Palmer, a deliciously simple mix of lemonade and iced tea that has become the game’s signature drink. Named for the seven-time Major winner, a good Palmer is refreshing, tart and sweet without being cloying. But it does lack one crucial thing: booze. To remedy this historic error, we asked Moses McIntee, former head bartender at Toronto’s Ritz-Carlton and now bar director at L-Eat Group, to make us an Arnold Palmer with a little more kick in its drive.

The Arnold ‘Bomber’

Moses McIntee shows you how to mix it.

How to make it:

  • 2 oz. Bacardi white rum
  • 1/2 lemon (cut into 4 pcs.)
  • 3/4 oz. black tea syrup*
  • 12 mint leaves
  • 5 dashes of Bad Dog Fire & Damnation bitters

*Moses would never say this but we will: In a pinch, some Nestea will do

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