Friday, December 13, 2013

Great News for Jennifer Kirby!

It's great news when a Canadian player qualifies for the Pro tour. Especially from Ontario!
Here's the report from Golf Canada:

We got to say hello to Jennifer back in July just prior to the Manulife Financial LPGC Classic. My daughter and son were impressed with her display of skill - Jennifer was at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, courtesy of Investors Group, for question-and-answer session and clinic. Great going Jennifer!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Victory in Victoria

I just returned from the annual National Golf Course Owners Association annual conference and trade show, held this year in beautiful Victoria, BC. It was my turn to go - lucky me! I've been to Vancouver, but this was my first visit to Victoria. And what a venue for a conference: the grand old dame of Victoria, the Fairmont Empress.
Anyway, we find it a good experience to attend these conferences. There's a great cross-section of the industry that's represented, from mega-upscale resort course owners to 9-hole rural "mom & pop" operations. 
The thing I enjoy most is sharing stories and concerns with other golf course operators from different provinces, and it's uncanny how, despite some very real regional differences, many of the challenges facing us are common. How can we attract more golfers without discounting ourselves to death? What can we do to encourage kids to take up the game? 
The last day of the conference features an event called The Idea Forum, where groups of us submit ideas in the morning session, and by the afternoon a "selection team" chooses the 10-best. How about "soccer-golf" at your golf course? I don't know...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oh, the Fun!

Last weekend was our annual 2-day "VicFest Fall Scramble", sponsored by Sleeman Brewery. Saturday was more like a winter day: windy, cold, rain, then snow, then rain again. After an hour delay, though, the call was made to forge ahead and get the game going. Most of the players agreed that it was THE WORST conditions that they've ever played in.  Surprisingly enough, low score for the day was in the double-digits at 10 under.
Sunday proved to be a little better, weather-wise. It was cold, but no precipitation.
This event has been going on since the early 80s - maybe even the late 70s! As far as fall scrambles go, it's a popular one. This year was just one team shy of a full field (140 players). They played Victoria Park Valley on the Saturday, and the East course on Sunday. Winning score over 36 holes was 20 under.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Time for a New Clubhouse

The house that we renovated in 2011 at Victoria Park Valley to serve as our "temporary" pro shop and snack bar has done it's duty. Soon after "The Valley" opened in 2012, plans were beginning to take shape for a permanent building.
The last week of September was a whirl-wind of activity: we moved the operation - or bits of it, anyways - into a construction trailer, in preparation for demolition of the house. The staff worked hard, the trailer became functional, and the demolition began on October 2nd.

It didn't take long! By the afternoon of October 3rd demolition was complete and the site was cleaned-up. New construction is slated to begin after Thanksgiving. The plans for the new clubhouse are available for view in the trailer - come on out and have a look!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hello, September!

And here we are, staring down the tube at Fall Golf.
September has always been the other "bookend" month for us, in terms of busy-ness: the biggest tournaments of the year happen during the middle two weeks of September.
This month also presents its traditional challenges - many of our seasonal staff are students, so scheduling becomes a huge challenge, if not a downright nightmare!
And of course, everyone's fishing for a deal. At the first sign of leaves changing colour, we start getting the call: "What are your fall rates?"
We've also put out a deal for prospective 2014 members - join now and play the rest of this season free. Now that's a deal!

Monday, August 5, 2013

You Think You've Seen It All!

Now, this was something to wake up to! Very early last Tuesday (July 30) morning, a confused gentleman decided to check out our property, somehow oblivious to the fact that he was on a golf course. As the above picture attests - just below our 18th green - he didn't get very far. David DeCorso was, well, gob-smacked! He immediately called the OPP and did a quick survey of the surroundings. Thankfully, the wayward chap stayed on the cart path and didn't damage any turf. To make a long story short, the "guilty party" returned to the scene with one of our staff members, the police arrived, and a tow truck fished the vehicle out of the pond.
Anyways, this led to a discussion about security for the golf course property. It has been on our minds, since the recent build-up of residential blocks right beside us has introduced a new problem: people wandering onto the golf course, just "out for a walk". So the talk has started: fences... gates...?? Don't know yet, but we'll have to do something eventually.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Fear of the Number 13!
This year, we have experienced a definite lack of wedding bookings here at Victoria Park East. Historically, we have about 20 weddings a year, more or less. This year, we have 9!
I've been involved with the Clubhouse business here since 1993, and I've seen some unusual wedding trends... but never this severe. One theory is the year: 2013 - an unlucky year to get married.

© John Wood Photography

Oh well, at the least the tournaments have been unfazed by Trikaidekaphobia!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rory vs. The Robot

Here's a great little video, featuring Rory McIlroy on a driving range, being challenged by a smart-assed computerized ball-hitting robot.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And Here We Go Again!

Remember this? Well, it will soon start up again.
Of course, Victoria Rd. South between Stone Rd. and (since last year) Arkell has been a mess for years. With the boon in housing construction, there's no question that a major fix is needed.
As many of you are aware, they began ripping up the road a year ago, from Arkell to the new McAllister Rd. So, the whole summer was a "ballet" of which way to go, to access the golf course. It was frustrating (to say the least), and a major construction delay at the land bridge just south of McAllister didn't help. However, the new road at the golf course entrance is great, and the centre turning lane is very handy.

Here's what's up for this season: at the beginning of June, construction will begin between McAllister and Stone. Victoria Rd. will be closed for 2 weeks at McCallister for deep service work, so access to Victoria Park East will be northbound from Arkell. After those 2 weeks, Victoria Rd. will be open both ways, but with restrictions, basically until November.

I will keep the Victoria Park website updated, as well as social media posts (Facebook and Twitter), with construction news.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hits and Misses

This year, it seems like the Masters, opening the golf courses (late) and the playoffs came smack together like a bad hit. Granted, it was an enjoyable last round at the Masters with Adam Scott prevailing over Cabrera... and of the course the Leafs finally breaking through to the post-season... but April made it tough for me to enjoy. My wife had a cancerous tumour removed, and fortunately the prognosis looks good. Her strength and attitude continue to amaze me. Now, we stay positive and look forward to a great summer.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Oh Come On!

Here's a screen grab of Environment Canada's 14-day trend for Guelph. Of course, here we are in April, everyone's patiently (or impatiently!) waiting for Victoria Park to get the tee blocks on for the 2013 season.
I've been updating the homepages of our websites with the following: "The golf course and driving range are not open yet. Our "target date" is April 12 or 13, however this may change. This page will be updated frequently with opening announcements - please check back!"
But look at that dip on the 11th! Things may change, but the weather sure has been a tease this spring. Anyways, we'll do our best to avoid "the latest opening ever" - opposite of last year's "earliest opening ever."
Feel free to come by the Pro Shop for a visit. And visit for frequent Opening Day updates.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This Sure Ain't Like Last Year!

How many times have I heard that in the last few weeks! A year ago at this time, as it turned out, we were 3 weeks away from FULLY opening the golf course. Well, winter gave us another blast of heavy snow last night, and the 14-Day trend is looking seasonal to below seasonal, with more snow in the forecast. So, keep the clubs covered-up for a few more weeks.
Here's a pic of our 1st tee area, taken this morning at about 9am. Lots of snow...good for the turf!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Over the Hump

With February just around the proverbial corner, and our Year End (almost) done, we're beginning to shift gears and focus on the impending 2013 golf season. It sems crazy, but at this time last year, we were 6 weeks away from FULLY opening the golf course! Let's hope for another early start, it sure was a great bonus for us and the golfers.
Here's a snap-shot of stuff we'll soon be featuring:
  • 2013 Membership Info is "out there", on our websites. We've kept prices the same as 2012, with the exception of the Combined East/Valley memberships - they went up about $40 - and the Junior meembership actually went down a bit.
  • Road construction on Victoria Rd. finally came to an end, for now, at the beginning of December. As many of you can attest, it was a big pain in the butt to have this major roadwork being done on our doorstep during the summer. Apparently it will continue in the Spring, but they should be able to proceed with lane restrictions instead of road closure.
  • We hope to have a "refreshed" website online by the end of February. Thanks to all of you who offered suggestions for changes.
  • Jay Pembleton will be back at the end of February here at the East course, getting the shop in shape. Rob Douglas will also return to the Valley, probably at the beginning of March.
  • John Teeter and Len Halsam have already been in contact with some of our Tournament customers, and they will continue to do so as we head towards March
  • We have some great advertising opportunities at both courses, especially with our Tee Signs. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please give me a call. There's also a golf component to our advertising that's a great bonus.
I'll end off with a link to a funny "commercial" that was sent my way by one of our members. Thanks Harry!Play These Balls!