Golf is a puzzle without an answer.  I've played the game for 50 years and I still haven't the slightest idea of how to play.

Gary Player

Cordova Bay's October

Winter may be coming...

But for us here in Victoria, that means beautiful brisk mornings and crisp afternoons.  

At Cordova Bay, we love winter golf!  There's nothing better than heading out on the golf course with a hot coffee, a pair of mittens and a great group of friends.  Don't get us wrong, summer golf is perfect!  Just don't be afraid to brave the fresh morning air and head out for a winter round.  

Click here to read all about our Winter League Program at the Bay Course.  Registration can be done through our proshop.  

If you prefer playing the Ridge, you can read all about our Ridge Winter League Program here.  
Photo Gallery: The last of the blooms and the first of fall

FLOWERS OF THE BAY - Prepping for winter.
by Emily Richardson, Horticulturalist 

There are so many reasons to be grateful for living in the Pacific Northwest.  As gardeners we are spoiled with an outstanding growing season and mild winter.  When I relocated from Alberta it was like starting over and learning to care for plant material I'd only ever dreamed of.  So many Victorians are transplants from other regions and have no doubt experienced this same awe and excitement.  The possibilities that our climate offers are enviable.  Whether you have gardened here for a long time, or are just a budding gardener, there are always questions and discoveries.  

One of the biggest challenges in a mild climate is identifying timing and season changes.  In most regions of Canada the frost begins and inevitably the snow follows soon after.  The signs are clear - time to stop gardening!  Late last October I removed my annual plants in order to plant bulbs, even though frostbitten annuals in Alberta had been removed weeks prior. 

The brunt of the summer work is completed but there are still a number of tasks through the fall.  It is tempting to turn indoors and wait until spring to deal with clean-up; we all want to go dormant along with our plants! But if you can invest some time now you will be rewarded next growing season. 

Here is a short outline of some fall tasks and pruning suggestions, along with some ideas for leaving winter interest in the landscape. 

  • Dig and bring in dahlia tubers after stalks have died back
  • Remove and compost spent annuals and vegetable plants
  • Plant garlic and spring flowering bulbs - Daffodils, tulips etc. 

  • Transition pots and baskets into winter theme
    • Try Winter Roses (Hellebores), Cyclamen, Heuchera or Dusty Miller  
  • Mulch empty beds  with leaf or bark mulch
    • Protect from pests and erosion over the winter
  • Cut down herbaceous perennials that die back every fall
    • Daylilies, crocosmia, peonies, canna lilies, bee balm, bearded iris
    • Always dispose of diseased, infested or questionable material in the garbage, not your own compost pile!
  • Leave woody perennials, like fuchsias, until the spring!
  • Leave or tidy hydrangea blooms but prune in the spring or summer
  • Try leaving any ornamental grasses until the spring

  • Purple Conflower (Echinacea),Black-eyed Susan (rudbeckia), zinnias and cosmos seed heads will all feed birds over the winter
    • Consider leaving stalks intact if you don't mind the look of it
  • Shape rhododendrons in early spring before they flower
    •  Might sacrifice a few blooms as buds are already set for next year
    •  Best to prune after they finish flowering

  • Split and transplant perennials
    • Rejuvenate tired plants or move to a better location
  • Prune trees over the dormant winter period, finishing before spring growth 
Follow a few of these steps and your garden will be looking beautiful for next year!

Emily Richardson


by Dean Piller, Superintendent

It's 3:30 in the morning, Friday September 30 and the shuttle busses will be picking Max and I up shortly.  This will mark the start of our 5am morning shift, a pretty normal start for us greens keepers.  What a week it has been for both of us as we contribute in some small way to the amazing course preparation at Hazeltine National Golf Club, the host of this year's Ryder Cup. 

Our weeklong volunteer experience began on Sunday night with an Opening Reception and barbecue. This meet and greet was an amazing opportunity to get to know volunteers from around the world. 

Monday was officially the start of our experience working at the Ryder Cup.  The shuttle picked us up and took us to that day's early morning meeting.  During this meeting, Hazeltine's Superintendent Chris Tritabaugh introduced us to his amazing staff of close to 50 individuals and then one by one he introduced each and every volunteer that had been selected to support his team.  It was soon apparent to both Max and I how fortunate we were to be a part of what has become one of Golf's greatest showcases.  

What was really apparent during this meeting was how special Hazeltine is with a rich heritage in hosting major world-class golf events.  Following the morning introductions and orientation, Chris announced the 4 teams that would work together all week on the golf course during morning preparations.  Max and I were part of group D that would be responsible for work on holes 5, 6, 7, and 8.  These holes were beautiful, in particular the 6th and 7th holes. 

Pictured with Chris Tritabaugh

Tuesday morning was the start of our morning maintenance shifts. Max and I were responsible for blowing off the greens and tees prior to, and after the cutting of these surfaces.  The first two days of this work was very labour intensive as the golf course experienced a lot of wind overnight.  This wind brought a lot of debris out of Hazeltine's beautiful trees that needed to be cleaned up ahead of mowing.  The Sugar Maples were very messy with the dropping of their seeds - similar to what we experience on the 13th hole at the Bay each fall in September and October.  

The atmosphere and excitement really started to ramp up on Thursday after our morning maintenance activities.  The fans showed up first thing that morning to follow the European team and the American team as they played their practice round.  We used this time to familiarize ourselves with the course layout as the routing had been adjusted to ensure that the really dramatic golf holes were played earlier in the matches.  We utilized our free time on Thursday afternoon and evening to watch the players on the range.  Max had his picture taken with Stenson and I had to stand guard for Davis Love's golf cart as he went over to the practice green with a few of the players.  As the opening ceremonies began we joined a couple of fellow Canadians out on the course stimping the greens they were assigned to.  The biggest question we received from the fans was how fast the greens were stimping. Superintendent Chris Tritabaugh had each and every volunteer and staff member trained to give the same answer - 'They are rolling at Ryder Cup Speed.'  We stimp in the same manner at Cordova Bay, however, the stimp meter that was being used was the official stimp meter of the USGA. This stimp meter had adjustments that allowed the crew to stimp areas of the green that may not be long enough to get a traditional stimp reading from.  I think this tool will really help standardize readings across the country so we will be purchasing one shortly.

Another outstanding piece of equipment we noticed at Hazeltine is TORO's 30 inch commercial walk behind rotary mower.  In preparation for the Ryder Cup, Hazeltine was loaned a huge amount of equipment so that maintenance could be done very quickly and at the highest standard.  One evening while out on the course, I watched the green's surrounds being done by a fleet of these mowers.  The cut was impeccable and all the grass was collected in a rear bag leaving a perfect cut with no clippings left behind.  A piece of equipment like this would be very useful and would be ideal for many of our areas around tight tee boxes.

Friday morning was such a special experience to be a part of.  Chris addressed the huge group of volunteers and his staff prior to going out and performing our morning tasks that each of our groups had perfected.  Hazeltine staff must have been running on adrenaline at this point, having worked so hard over the past few months.  I recall sitting there feeling so fortunate to share in their achievements at this historic event and their warmth and tightness as a team was something that was very special.  

Team 1 and Team 2 fairway mowers would lead the parade out to their respective holes followed by Group A, B, C, and D.  By now everyone knew exactly what needed to be done and it was impressive to watch each person fulfill their role to achieve perfection.  In addition to the individual teams, Chris would be working his way throughout the course as needs required him, and mechanics would be back at the maintenance area or on the course if required.  Our first practice run on Tuesday took roughly 3 and a half hours to complete but by Friday things were so well orchestrated that the last group was back at the shop by 7:30am. 

Saturday morning ran perfectly again and was the day that both Max and I received additional responsibilities.  A detail team of six was put out on the course and each of us were assigned to 3 holes that we would be responsible for.  This assignment placed us inside the ropes behind the green on call for any maintenance issues that might occur, including leaf cleanup between groups or the blowing of sand off the putting surface from a sand shot.  My holes for both the morning session were 4, 10 and 16 and Max was on holes 6, 12 and 18.  On 16 green I had to take the blower out in front of at least 10,000 people and blow sand off the surfaces from two bunker shots that had occurred.  I was very nervous to say the least!  What I really remember about this experience was praying that the blower would start for me and the huge applause and acknowledgment of the duty once the immaculate putting surface was pure again.

On Sunday morning, Chris gave the morning briefing and he thanked everyone once again for being a part of the experience.  He then personally handed a Hazeltine flag to each volunteer from one of the holes they had worked on in their group.  After this was done, everyone worked their way to their starting hole assignments before walking up to the scoreboard on 18 green for a group picture at sunrise followed by our final maintenance sweep of the course.  

What made this morning more special for everyone is that this maintenance, for the first time all week, was performed in the daylight in front of full bleachers.  Our final hole to complete was number 5.  We all assembled on 5 green as the final hole was cut for a group D picture together.  While this was being done the packed bleacher started a slow clap and round of applause for the maintenance procedures they had just witnessed first-hand.

16th hole where I was stationed to blow the sand off the green.

The Ryder Cup experience was something we will always cherish.  As we left Sunday I thanked Chris for including us on his team and most importantly for how much we learned by watching his impeccable attention to detail in assembling and orchestrating such a large team.  Nothing was overlooked by Chris, he had every meal supplied, a barista was on site to make custom ordered coffee each morning, Kombucha was on tap, gallons of freshly squeezed fruit juices were always available as well as bottled water and Gatorade for everyone to access throughout the day.  It was a great learning experience witnessing how they did every maintenance procedure and what equipment they used to achieve the desired results.  We have a lot of new ideas now that can help us improve our maintenance programs at Cordova Bay.  The amazing number of people that we were able to spend a week together with really made a lasting impression on us.  All were professional and very dedicated to this industry; Superintendents from all over the world including the last 3 Ryder Cups and the next two in 2018 and 2020, fellow Canadians, Hazeltine staff, and everyone else including the drivers of the shuttle buses each day.  New friendships have been made that will last for a lifetime.

Dean Piller

PRO-SPECTIVE: How to work on your game over the winter.
by Corey Lowe, PGA of Canada 


Our beautiful summer golf season is coming to an end, now what?  Did you play as well as you had wanted to?  Are you wanting to make improvements over the winter or is it time to hang up the clubs until next year?  

If you are really, genuinely, looking to improve your game, now is one of the most important times of the year to create a plan and execute it.  The reason this time of year is so important is because there is usually less time to play in the crummy weather, and more time to practice! 

 As many of you know, making a swing change take two things: Knowing exactly what to change, and the act of repeating that change. 

One of the hardest things to do for an amateur golfer is sift through the vast amounts of swing advice found on the Golf Channel, Golf Digest, YouTube, etc. and decide what actually applies to them.  Most people run into the problem of applying this advice to their swing when it does not actually pertain to their swing at all.  This means you could be spending months working on something that has no benefit to you or your swing... talk about a time waster!  

Here are the things you should look at to really improve your game for 2017:
  • Your swing.  Working with a PGA of Canada Coach can help you to recognize and work on exactly what you need to in your game.   
  • Your equipment.  Having clubs that fit you properly will drastically increase your ability to hit the ball how you want to. 
  • Your fitness and mobility.  Don't forget that your physical limitations might be what's stopping you from getting into that position that you're trying so hard to do.  TPI Certified Trainers can help you identify those limitations.
  • How you think on the course is much more important than many people think.  Having a positive and reaffirming attitude out on the course will allow you to shoot those scores you're dreaming of. A Sports Psychologist can help you with these aspects of your game. 

At Cordova Bay, we offer a long term 6 month program that covers every part of your game so that you can have the best golf season possible!

For more information on our Delta Golf off season Program, please visit http://cordovabaygolf.com/lesson-promo.

Corey Lowe

The King and I
by Jim Goddard, Director of Golf

In 1964 I was crazy for baseball.  I played every day.  The Detroit Tigers were my team.  I listened to every inning of every game on the radio and enjoyed the very occasional visit to Tiger Stadium to watch a game in person, usually games against the hated Yankees.  I was sure that Al Kaline was a god.  I was a bat boy for the International League AAA London Majors and I was an avid baseball card collector. You got 6 cards for 5 cents with a piece of gum from a pack of Topps or O-Pee-Chee cards; by the time I was 8 years old in 1964 I must have had more than 1,000 cards. 

It was my love of baseball (and card collecting) that took me to golf.  With the exception of birthdays and Christmas, my parents refused to fund my habit so I was desperate to find a way to get my card 'fix'. My friend John who shared my obsession with baseball cards suggested that I join him at the London Hunt Club and try my hand at caddying.  I had no clue what a hunt club was, or a caddy for that matter, but when he told me I could earn $8 in one day, he got my attention.  Since I had just finished the 3rd grade my algebraic competency was a bit lacking so I had no idea how many cards I could get for $8...I just knew it was A LOT!  Surely it would take me only one weekend of work and I would finally have the only Tiger card I was missing....KALINE! I couldn't wait.

John banged on my door at 5:30AM the next Saturday, rousting my family from bed.  With my eyes half shut I asked John, "why 5:30". "If we get out early we can get out twice and make $16", replied John. Instantly, I forgot that it was the middle of the night, that my dog was barking incessantly, that my family was angry at me, and all of my apprehension about hunting or caddying or whatever I was doing melted away... all I could think of was KALINE. 

After a furious bike ride we arrived at the Hunt Club minutes later, where I was surprised to find out that the Hunt Club actually had nothing to do with hunting, rather it was and still is a Golf Club.   Masking my disappointment that guns were to play no part of my day, I glumly followed John around behind the Pro Shop to the caddy bench where we found Sandy - a portly Scot dressed in a wool jacket, tie, waistcoat and plus fours.  Judging by the aroma I don't think he or his his clothes had been washed since the war.  Looking down his large, veined nose at me with disdain he barked, "sit ye over theer laddie and DINNA MOVE! 

I sat at the end of the bench, glaring at my friend John who had yanked me out of bed in the middle of the night to bring me to this strange place only to be yelled at by a large stinky man.  To top it off...no shooting, no guns.  Luckily for John, Sandy called his name and he disappeared around the front of the Pro Shop.  Soon all of the other boys were called and they disappeared leaving me alone with the woolly beast. 7 o'clock became 8 o'clock, and then 9 o'clock. Still just me and Sandy.  He grunting and farting, me trying my best to DINNA MOVE.  Finally the fact that I rushed out of the house before going to the bathroom caught up with me and I began to squirm.  Sandy caught me moving out of the corner of his eye and yelled, are ye deef lad? I said dinna move! If ye dinna stop fussin you'll geet nae bag.  Now seet still!   Another hour passed with me shifting from cheek to cheek, only when Sandy was looking away, desperately trying not to pee my pants.

Finally at around 10:30 Sandy yelled "laddie up ye geet, away to the furst tee".  Tiptoeing away from the caddy bench, I hopped to the first tee where a husband and wife were waiting for me. Sandy joined us and made introductions.  I was the 'new wee lad', they were Mr. and Mrs. Something or other.  Let's call them the Havercamps. "Yewl pack fur both", chortled Sandy. As he turned to go I'm certain I saw a glint of evil in his murky eyes.

In 1964 golf bags were made of leather, single strapped and heavy.

In 1964 I was made of skin and bones. I may have weighed 70 pounds.

I soon caught on that I was expected to carry these clubs around the course. Did I mention it was 90 degrees with 100% humidity?  Well, it was.

This was caddying. 

I had never set foot on a golf course before, I didn't know the difference between a divot and driver.  The Havercamps each sported complete sets including leather head covers, umbrellas, ball retrievers, and what felt like 600 golf balls.

Knowing that disaster was about to strike, I excused myself, ran behind the bushes and spent an exquisite 4 and half minutes emptying my bladder. I arrived back on the first tee chanting to myself ... KALINE, KALINE, KALINE.

Off we went, me always 20 yards behind, dropping one bag or another off my boney shoulders, always standing in the wrong place, close to passing out.

Somehow I survived the day with the Havercamps. Mr. Havercamp slipped me a quarter when we left the 18th green and told me to find Sandy to get paid. 

Following my nose I found the smelly caddy master where I first met him, on the caddy bench behind the Pro Shop.

"Mr. Havercamp told me you would pay me", I said.

"Deid he?" snickered Sandy. "Weel laddie, let's see, yur a 'C' caddie, thawt ul bee furr dollars ta ye" said the beast as he peeled off 4 singles. 

Completely exhausted, sunburned, and I'm sure dehydrated, I had no energy left to argue about my pay cut.  I accepted the four dollars and stumbled off to find my bike vowing never to caddy again.

The wind in my face revived me and during the ride home and utter exhaustion was slowly replaced by euphoria realizing that I was in possession of four dollars and twenty five cents.  An absolute fortune. Riding past my house I headed to the corner store to invest my income in baseball cards.  I blew the whole wad on cards, except for 5 cents for a coke and headed home to unwrap my bounty. More than 500 cards.  That pay day was enough to inspire me to continue my career as a caddy. 

I rose through the ranks from C to A to AA caddy.  As time passed Sandy extorted less and less money from me until I was earning $10 for "packing doubles".  I was no longer the "new wee lad" but "young Jamie".  That was 4 years later and I had lost my interest in collecting baseball cards for no other reason than I had at least 10 of every card printed from 1964-1968.  Still though, baseball was my game, I had no interest in golf, never played it, only setting foot on a course to caddy.  Then one Monday (a day we never caddied), my friend John came by my house and told me we just HAD TO get to the Hunt Club because Arnold Palmer was there.  This meant nothing to me.  . In fact my parents related years later that I told them I was off to the course to meet Arnold "Parker".  On John's insistence I hopped on my bike and rode to the club with him. 

This was to be a decision that changed my life. 

Arnold Palmer was at the Hunt Club to film a Shell's Wonderful World of Golf.

All of the caddies had the same reaction when we first saw him.  We wanted to be him.  We trailed behind Arnie for every minute of the entire day.  We were soon hitching our pants and pretending to smoke like him.  We tried to swing like him and walk like him. When filming was over for the day he told us to meet him back at the putting green where he spent a couple of hours with us, showing us how to chip and putt, talking to us and getting to know us.  Imagine, getting to know caddies.  When it was time for him to go, he shook each of our hands, looked us in the eye, called us by name, and encouraged us to play golf.  

That was the moment for me, that baseball was replaced by golf. I turned in my glove for a seven iron and played and practised every day from dawn to dark. Seven years later I had won a national junior golf championship and I was attending an American university on a golf scholarship. After that I chose golf as a career. It's safe to say that a random meeting with "Arnold Parker" had a profound influence on my life.

I was lucky enough to have another encounter with Arnie as an adult and that one was as emotional and special to me as that day at the Hunt.

Arnold Palmer passed away on September 25th at the age of 87 and the world of golf is still reeling. I'm certain that like me, anyone that ever got the chance to meet him and shake his hand was sure that he would never die. Indeed his legacy of style and grace never will.

Do me a favour. When you play next, before you hit your first shot, flick a pretend cigarette away, hitch your pants and remember The King.

Jim Goddard

BILL MATTICK'S: Our final wine dinner of the season.
by Grant Soutar, Restaurant Manager 


Next month we will be hosting our final wine dinner of the season.  The dinner will take place on Saturday, November 5th from Chef Walter Gurtner and wine pairings by Sommelier Grant Soutar.

The dinner will be 5 courses, featuring ingredients from all over our property.  To view the menu or to book a table for the evening, please click here.

We look forward to seeing you!

Grant Soutar

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Cordova Bay Golf Course