This past weekend I had the pleasure of heading down the 401 to Gananoque, ON to Smuggler’s Glen Golf Course and the Glen House Resort for the 2011 Flagstick Spring Shootout. The shootout, in it’s 2nd year, attracts some of the top amateur golfers in Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, and even a few from upstate New York. This year’s edition of the event featured 72 players broken into 3 flights of 24 (A,B,C), the A flight was for those with index’s between 0 (or +) and 3.5, the B, where I would be competing, was for those with an index between 3.6 and 9.0 and the C flight was made up of players with an index between 9.1 and 15.
The plan was to drive down Saturday morning, get their early for a good warm up, play my round, spend the night at the Glen House Resort with my wife, play my Sunday round and head home.
I arrived at Smuggler’s Glen around 9:30am Saturday morning and went to work getting ready for my round. The course had a decent practice area with a grass and mat driving range (only mats were open) and a 4 hole putting green. The only complaint I would have was the area was a little small, but it wasn’t issue for me this weekend.
Round 1 was interesting to say the least. Having never played the course before I had put together a little cheat sheet on each hole based on information I had gotten off the course website. Surprisingly, this allowed me to know generally where I needed to hit my drives, not surprisingly, this did not provide me with the little nuances of the fairways and greens. I didn’t necessary struggle through round 1, but I also didn’t excel. I finished with an 84 that included a triple bogey on the second hole of the day, and a double on 18.
The only thing that really sticks out from round 1 was my inability to lag a putt. It seemed like I would rotate hitting long putts too hard and then too soft, and repeat. Without the triple and double (5 over) I played the rest of the round at 7 over, which I was happy with.
One of the interesting things about the tournament was that the organizers had made the decision to switch the first three holes of the front and back nines. The reasoning behind this was to avoid having the competitors have to open their rounds on the tough Par 5 opening hole that includes a 150 yard carry off the tee. Instead, players opened on the downhill, par 3 10th hole that required no more than a pw or 9 iron off the tee.
After a nice dinner and evening with the wife at the Glen House Resort I was surprised to find out that my 84 had me sitting in 9 place in the B flight, good enough to secure a later tee time of 12pm. Having played a fair share of tournament golf I have come to realize two things, one, your index means nothing. I have seen 15 handicaps shoot in the 70s and single digits shoot a 100. The second thing I have learned is that in multiple round tournaments the key on day 1 is to just stay in the hunt. I had managed to not blow up on day 1 and as such was still in it going into day 2.
On day 2 I played much more consistently, putted better and hit more greens. All this resulted in an 80, which again included a triple bogey and a double bogey, but also included two birdies (a chip in on 2 and a two putt birdie in 10). The round also included a one over back 9 with pars on 15 – 18.
Upon signing and handing in my scorecard I was pretty content with my total of 164, but was uncertain as to where this would leave me on the leader board. I headed up to the club house, had a coke and was pleasantly surprised to see I was sitting in the top 5 with 2 groups to come in. At this point I was confident that my score of 164 would get me in the top 10.
A short time later I was even more surprised to learn that with all groups in I had finished in 5th in B flight, 5 strokes behind the winner. The icing on the cake was the Flagstick guys had secured a great prize table of Nike products and for 5th place I walked away with a Nike Method Core putter.
One of the really unique aspects of the Flagstick Spring Shootout is that when all is said and done the winner of each flight, plus the closest to the pin winners from round 1 head up to the 10th tee for an elimination style closest to the pin competition …. worth $900 in credit from Glen House Resort and Smugglers Glen Golf Course. It is quite the experience to gather around a tee box and watch 8 players, who have just played 36 holes of competitive golf eliminate each other until only 1 man is standing. This year the A flight Dwight Reinhart also managed to make it though 4 rounds and claim the $900 credit at the resort.
Watching the Sunday evening shootout I thought to myself that I could hardly stand over a 5 foot putt for $10 rather a 140 yard tee shot worth $900, and do it 4 times in a row. But I also knew I wanted to be in that group, vying for the big prize. So, I’ll be back next year attempting to earn my spot in the Sunday night Shootout.
An all around great weekend, with a great tournament put on by the folks at Flagstick Golf and Smugglers Glen Golf Course.