We wanted to play golf on August 21, 2017 but thought the Solar Eclipse would interfere with our day. We decided to drive across the border into Canada so we wouldn’t be bothered by this event. Suddenly, when we reached the third hole, the earth around us darkened as the sun began to be eclipsed by the moon (those words sound vaguely familiar). So this event was not only occurring in the United States?
Only kidding folks! However, I did hear a few frightening questions about the eclipse. Here are my favorites: 1) Why can’t they schedule it on the weekend when kids are not in school? 2) Why is it going through Wyoming? It should be coming through Colorado because it has a larger population. Seriously?!
Once we located the course (Siri abandoned us at the border), we were able to tee it up right away (thanks to Steve) in the scenic shadows of Wheatley Provincial Park. If you carry the water in front of the tee box, Hole #1 is an easy hole to work your way into the round. It’s a 440 yard (white) par 4 with a slight dogleg to the left. The trees on both sides of the fairway will help guide your way.
Hole #2 is one of the easiest holes on the course and this par 5 offers a good chance of recording a “4” on the scorecard. Just watch out for the water that fronts the green. Hole #3 is named “The Ash Hole” (for the native ash trees) and is the proud home to Doc McLean’s Lookout. The lookout provided two uses on today’s round. Ed and I donned our solar eclipse glasses and ascended the stairs to the top which allowed us to view the eclipse from four feet closer. On a regular day, it provides a better view of the fairway as your tee shot is a blind one. Doc McLean must have hit into the group ahead a few times!
Hole #4 is a fairly straight par 4 of 355 yards. Club selection is critical as there are a number of gullies and a creek to navigate along the way. Hole #5 provides another good birdie opportunity as long as you avoid the green-side bunker that curves around the front/left of the green. Hole #6 is a long (530 yard) par 5. It is a tight driving hole and if you slice you could find yourself hunting for your ball in the woods that line the entire right side of the hole. Even if you hit a perfect drive (me), you could find your (my) ball resting behind two small trees in the middle of the fairway – evil.
“Fly it, scuff it, or skull it, just don’t shank it!” The sign at the par 3 seventh hole says it all. The signs at each hole were very helpful and entertaining. Since we were wearing our NASA-approved solar eclipse glasses during the early holes, it was difficult locating these signs, let alone trying to hit a golf ball.
Hole #8 is named “Hooker’s Delight”. Aptly named as it is a dogleg left with plenty of trouble down the right side. If you try to cut the corner too much, you also have plenty of trouble over there. My suggestion – play it safe, take your par, and move on. The sign at Hole #9 reads…”The Ant Hill”. Elevated tee, postage stamp elevated green. Just a simple chip away. No worries about water, the parking lot, the OB, the crowd on the deck. Your basic birdie or no-nonsense par. Well said. After our tee shots, Ed played from the #1 tee box under the Canadian flag to the left; I played from close to the parking lot on the right, and we were given a warm Canadian welcome when we crossed the pink bridge.
Birdie: We had a fun day combining golf, the eclipse, and sampling local Canadian brew at The Pogue. Today the course was in good shape with a special nod to the greens. Four sets of tees will allow golfers of all levels a fun and challenging day.
Our only regret for the day was missing the sign for Point Pelee National Park, which is the southern-most point in Canada. If you are in the Detroit area and looking for a little adventure across the border, bring your passport, serious face at the border crossing, and head to see our friends at Talbot Trail Golf Club.
790 Talbot Trail, Wheatley, ON, Canada N0P2P0; 519-825-4521; www.talbottrailgolfclub.com