April 10, 2020

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A fivesome for fall

It's well into the back nine of Manitoba's too-short golf season, but there's still time to grab a sweater, tee it up at some rural gems and soak up autumn's awesome colour palette

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/9/2019 (216 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

With the Labour Day weekend having come and gone, marked as usual, by a Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeat in Regina, we are reminded golf season is in the home stretch. Most courses will remain open till mid-October, leaving roughly five or six weeks left to fulfil all this summer's unrealized golf goals. We suggest Five Places To Play while wrapping up the season. These courses are outside the city and in the public domain. So get out and swing at it. Lash at it with a desperate fury, for time is truly becoming a factor. And don't forget, no white golf shoes after Labour Day.

Best Deal

TEULON

Starting Sept. 15, a round of golf and power cart at Teulon Golf and Country Club will cost $39. (Facebook photo)</p>

Starting Sept. 15, a round of golf and power cart at Teulon Golf and Country Club will cost $39. (Facebook photo)

Teulon Golf and Country Club by a long par 5. Get this: $39 for a round and power cart Monday through Wednesday. It doesn't get any better. Starting Sept. 15 this rate will apply through the week. Don't want the cart? $35. Compare to Neepawa for about $60, Steinbach Fly-In for $60-plus, Clear Lake, $65. It's a tap-in for this enjoyable, well-maintained layout.

"I think it's probably the best deal in the province," says head pro Shawn Coe. It's forced some courses around here to lower their rates. $39 is a great price point. The players are happy and we still make some money."

Bridges G&GG also offers some cut rates, but these come on short notice via email, usually the afternoon or evening before they are available.

 

Biggest Challenge

GRANITE HILLS

"It's (Granite Hills) a really tough course the first time you play it," says Landon Cameron. (Supplied photo)

"It's (Granite Hills) a really tough course the first time you play it," says Landon Cameron. (Supplied photo)

It's debatable of course, but this hilly, savage and demanding course northeast of Lac du Bonnet gets the nod. Why?

"Elevation changes," says Neepawa G&CC head pro Landon Cameron. "You just don't get those in the city. Most players don't know how to deal with it. Plus, it's a really tough course the first time you play it. You don't know where to miss."

Coe agrees. "Granite Hills, Neepawa, Minnedosa, Clear Lake, Morden, all have elevation changes you don't get around Winnipeg. Some players just haven't seen that before."

While a lot of urban courses might have three holes that aren't flat, all of the above-mentioned courses have about three that are.

Keep in mind the significant difference between challenge and maddening frustration. Some years ago a friend and I played a course in Alabama that boasted of being the third-longest in the world (at the time) at 7,900-plus yards. We got permission to play the tips and after a front nine of 257-yard par threes, 540-yard par fours and 660-yard par fives, we downed a few wobbly pops at the turn and moved up two tee boxes. Still oppressive.

 

Best Fall Colours

CLEAR LAKE GOLF COURSE

The orange and yellow tamaracks in and around the Clear Lake area make this course the most stunning during the fall. (Supplied photo)

The orange and yellow tamaracks in and around the Clear Lake area make this course the most stunning during the fall. (Supplied photo)

Credit the tamarack tree.

The Tamarack sheds its three-sided needles in the fall, but not before they turn brilliant colours. (Supplied photo)

The Tamarack sheds its three-sided needles in the fall, but not before they turn brilliant colours. (Supplied photo)

For the non-botanist Larix laricina, commonly known as the tamarack, hackmatack, eastern larch, black larch, red larch or American larch, is a species of larch native to Canada, from eastern Yukon and Inuvik, N.W.T., east to Newfoundland, and also south into the upper northeastern United States from Minnesota to Cranesville Swamp, W.Va.; there is also an isolated population in central Alaska.

The word tamarack is an Algonquian name for the species and means "wood used for snowshoes." Unlike other conifers, the tamarack sheds its three-sided needles in the fall. But not before they turn brilliant oranges and yellows. Throw in the blazing flushes of the deciduous foliage and it's a montage of Monet and Caravaggio.

 

Best overnight trip

CLEAR LAKE AND NEEPAWA

Neepawa is one of the most enjoyable courses you can play in Manitoba. (Thomas Friesen / Brandon Sun files)

Neepawa is one of the most enjoyable courses you can play in Manitoba. (Thomas Friesen / Brandon Sun files)

Head to the lake, stay the night and play 18 at the mighty Neepawa on the way up or back.

Check out the iconic Stone Angel up in a cemetary in Neepawa. (Wayne Glowacki / Free Press files)

Check out the iconic Stone Angel up in a cemetary in Neepawa. (Wayne Glowacki / Free Press files)

Stay a couple of nights and play 36. There's no shortage of things to do in Wasagaming. Dozens of lodges, inns, motels and cabins to choose from, plus the camping option. Restaurants, biking, boating, fishing, hiking. The Park Theatre. The Clear Lake Marina.

Keep in mind things do start to slow down after the Labour Day weekend.

Coming or going, Neepawa is one of the most enjoyable courses you can play in Manitoba. Once your round is complete visit the Margaret Laurence Home on First Avenue, a provincial heritage site. Then check out the iconic Stone Angel up in the boneyard.

 

Out of Province/Country

GRAND FORKS, N.D. AND MINNESOTA

King's Walk was designed by Arnold Palmer. (Facebook photo)

King's Walk was designed by Arnold Palmer. (Facebook photo)

It's always a blast in Grand Forks. And only 2 1/2 hours south.

The King's Walk was designed by Arnold Palmer and is promoted as a links-style course. That's right, it's pretty flat and doesn't have a lot of trees. But it's a fun and challenging course. Then enjoy a pint and a burger at the Eagle's Crest Bar & Grill.

Cross the Red River into Minnesota and play a game at Valley Golf Course. Lots of water on the front, lots of trees on the back.

And of course, all the shopping and entertainment wonders a city of such a humble size has to offer.

Happy hacking.

 

dhargreaves@freepress.mb.ca

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