Of all the hazards, fear is the worst.

Sam Snead

The most important shot in golf is the next one.

Ben Hogan

This is a game of misses.  The guy who misses the best is going to win.

Ben Hogan

Cordova Bay's February

Although this snow has put a damper on things for us golfers, our crews have been working hard to get the course in tip-top shape for the season.  If you scroll on down you can read all about the work they've done throughout the winter.

While our maintenance crew has been working hard outside, we've been working hard inside to get everything set for our new Membership year.  

If you're interested in learning about our Membership options, click here! 

If you like what you see, email Megan and she'll send you all you'll need for registration!

FLOWERS OF THE BAY - January Gardening
by Emily Richardson, Horticulturalist 

The view out your window might not inspire thoughts of gardening and yard work, but believe it or not, now is a great time to start planning for the year ahead.  It probably feels like your garden is at its emptiest right now... all of the year's growth has died back, been cut down or is covered in leaves.  I find this time of year can actually be more inspiring than a full garden.  It is an ideal time to assess the bones or structure of your garden, as the bare ground offers endless possibilities like a blank slate for the coming season. Backdrop items get the chance to be seen and more attention can be given to trees and shrubs that might be forgotten about in high season. We are reminded in the winter that the skeleton structure of a tree can be just as interesting as a full canopy and that planning ahead can help lessen the work load when the time comes.  If you have any great ideas over the winter, you could jot them down in a journal with notes or drawings. If you feel like you just can't wait until spring, winter pots can help tide you over until the spring bulbs arrive. 

Here at the golf course we have many types of gardens, all of which require different attention and planning. The winter break allows us to regroup and assess the year behind us while prioritizing for the year ahead.  This doesn't mean we spend the winter indoors with pen to paper! The closed, frozen course is an invitation for excavating, tree removal and pruning.  We are making an effort to evaluate and make changes to our tree inventory over the winter. Many factors are considered including tree damage or disease, low branches that interfere with mowing or sprinkler coverage, and the overall health and success of a tree.  Think about the trees in your yard - do they touch the roof or eaves? Are they too low for pathways or driveways? Have any grown too large for their planting location? Here at Cordova Bay we are always considering these questions along with many more. 

Even throughout the winter, the vegetable garden remains an interesting feature of the golf course horticulture department. This year's seed catalogs have arrived and the dates have been set for local seed exchanges. No patio, balcony or back yard is too small for a window box of Asian greens or a raised bed of carrots and beets.  To many of us the new trend of sustainable or local growing is just that - a new and popular practice. For others, vegetable gardening and succession planting has historically been a household necessity. It doesn't matter whether you were raised with a backyard garden and root cellar, or are just becoming aware of the magic of growing your own food; it is a wonderful hobby that doesn't discriminate against skill level or experience. 

Take time this season to walk through your garden or sit on your patio. Try to envision the summer and what it will look like when your garden is in full bloom.  If you stay ahead of the game you can get to the garden centers before the spring frenzy hits the stores.  Even now there are daffodils poking through the soil! 

I would recommend starting your year with some reading material. The West Coast Seeds Gardening Guide for 2017 is a great start. It is a free crash course in veggies complete with planting charts, seed descriptions and growing instructions. Order it online or find it at your local garden supply center. Take stock of your seed packets from last season and determine if they are still viable. Most seeds have a three year life span depending on storage conditions. By carefully planning your garden layout and seed selection you can stagger planting throughout the year, resulting in a nearly continuous harvest. This winter we took advantage of frozen conditions and modified the large mound in our garden. It is an effort to increase surface area for planting and improve drainage in the lower, middle area.  

This coming year we will continue to push the growing capacity of the space by learning and trying new things.  Before you know it we will be in full swing yet again. It's setting up to get another great year at Cordova Bay, so check back with us throughout the season to hear about our successes!      

Emily Richardson


by Dean Piller, Superintendent

With our longest cold spell in several years, the maintenance department has been very busy working through our winter list of tasks and projects.  With the closures this winter, we have adjusted our priorities to focus on tasks that would be difficult to complete when the golf course is busy with golf traffic.  Our list includes tree removal and winter pruning, small drainage projects, fairway irrigation head replacement and the dredging of burnham brook on the second fairway that have become overgrown with cattails.  An overview of the rationale behind each of these programs will shed some light on the results expected from this work.

I recently toured the Hamilton Golf Club in Ontario; this course has hosted the Canadian Open and is established on a beautiful piece of property.  The course Superintendent, Rod Trainor gave me a tour of the facility that was established in 1894 and as we drove around he touched on the work they were presently undertaking. I found myself grinning as we drove through the facility, as their list of course projects that this 122 year old golf course was presently working on wasn't all that different than the list we had put together for Cordova Bay.

First on Rod's list was tree pruning and removal of trees that had dramatically altered the original design of the golf course.  Massive trees now towered along fairways, tees and greens; this heavy canopy had drastically reduced the air movement and sunshine that is so important to growing healthy turf grass.  Here at Cordova Bay, the majority of the trees we are removing have come up voluntarily from seed on the perimeter of the golf course.  This includes several alders from around the property.  Although these trees aren't a major issue at this point, looking into the future they could become a major issue causing afternoon or late day shade.  The trees throughout the golf course that were planted 25 years ago require some pruning each winter.  This pruning focuses on creating good branch structure and removal of lower limbs that disrupt sprinkler coverage and equipment access.

Next on our winter list is tackling some small drainage projects.  During the frost we were able to complete a small project down the right side of 14 fairway and we have started another small project to the right of 9 fairway.  We have developed a fairly lengthy list of drainage projects to work on in the spring and summer when conditions are right for this work to be done efficiently.  

Also on the top of Hamilton Golf Club's course improvement list was a new irrigation system.  We are probably 7-10 years away from this major project; however we will continue to update our irrigation infrastructure which will improve irrigation coverage and water savings.  Two winters ago we installed all new Rainbird Rotor sprinkler heads around our greens which improved coverage substantially.  Last winter Patrick Deme and Phil Joergensen replaced all of the sprinkler heads around our tee boxes which substantially improved the water coverage in those areas.  This winter we will replace half our fairway sprinklers, with the other half scheduled for replacement next winter. 

As I'm sure some of you have noticed, the cattails growing in our creeks have created an additional obstacle on our second hole.  We finally had the perfect conditions to dredge the cattails out of our burnham creek system and were able to take advantage of that.  The water plants and cattails that grow throughout the property are an important component of the filtration system that purifies the water moving through the golf course from surrounding neighborhoods and roads.  Removing a small portion from a section of the creek each year doesn't compromise this important filtration system but insures that cattails don't choke out this important waterway.

With warmer weather not far away, we look forward to getting back out on the tees, greens and fairways to prepare our playing surfaces for your enjoyment.  

Dean Piller

PRO-SPECTIVE: Putting Fear to Rest
by Brian Hann, PGA of Canada 

 Brian, CPGA

You had been playing pretty well, and although you would not verbalize it, you sensed that your golf game could be on the verge of a breakthrough. Aware of this pending breakthrough, you paid greater attention than usual to the contours in the green, examining each and every nuance that might make or break your attempt at another makeable putt. You swept aside a few tiny grains of sand a couple of feet from the hole. You finally settled into your routine, and gently tapped your putt. It rolled smoothly down and across the knoll, looking promising. Watching intently, you saw your ball curl ever so gently and slowly off-line, missing achingly short and on the low side of the hole. Yet another tap-in... those putts just weren't dropping! Upon tallying up the score at day's end you noticed another trend taking hold. Your scoring was stagnant. You had hit the same plateau as you'd experienced in this game before. What was holding you back?

If you are like most of us, you want to see improvement in your golf game and there will be times when this desire takes on greater importance than it really deserves. Nonetheless, one of golf's great hooks is that we inevitably step to the first tee with some promise that we could experience a breakthrough. We truly want it, and we want to believe that it will happen. However, it is precisely this perspective that can lead to the most crippling deterrent to performance - fear.

Based on the actions I see on putting greens, I conclude that it's the fear of failure that most commonly prevents people from becoming great putters. These actions come largely in two forms. First, people are susceptible to judging themselves on their ability to convert putts in the short to mid-range, inside fifteen feet. Negative self-talk and an overemphasis on results are common self-imposed roadblocks. Missed putts instantly lead to critical self-judgement, perpetuating a downward cycle. Consequently, people identify too many negative experiences with short and mid-range putts, leading to a strong underlying desire to disassociate. How do we disassociate? We unknowingly begin to putt carefully by default. We become fearful of seeing the ball rolling beyond our target so we tend to trickle our putts towards the general direction of the hole. That is a much different mindset than owning the task by visualizing how your ball will track into the hole, and at what speed it will enter.

If you identified with the opening paragraph in this article, take a moment now to re-read it. It is sprinkled with words that describe a careful approach. A careful mindset is never going to lead to becoming a great putter. Choose what you want to visualize on the greens, and do it without an ounce of fear.

Ladies' and Men's Club Members Reminder:  As a member benefit, you are entitled to a private 45 minute lesson with any one of our staff teaching professionals.  These are booked by appointment, with an expiry concurrent with the end of the member year (Feb 28).  Please contact the pro shop to book. 

Brian Hann
PGA of Canada

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Cordova Bay Golf Course

Cordova Bay Golf Course | 5333 Cordova Bay Rd. | Victoria | BC | V8Y 2L3 | Canada