The best advice I can give for playing a ball out of the water is - don't. 

Tony Lema

Cordova Bay's March

Although the snow looked beautiful out on the golf course, we sure are happy to look out the window and see green!  

With this warmer weather we're getting back into the swing of things for the season to come.  This means prepping our greens, gardens and pro shop for the spring. You can read all about what we've been up to in the articles below. 

by Emily Richardson, Horticulturalist 
The snowy periods this winter caught most of us off-guard and although it has long since melted, the side effects are still being discovered.  These side effects will continue to unfold throughout the season, making this spring much different than the last few years!  

Broken tree limbs, damaged shrubs and hedges, slow perennial growth and delayed spring blooms are all symptoms here at the golf course.  Some of the most visible damages like broken branches and fallen trees have already been cleaned up by our hard working crew.  Once growth has begun later in the spring, it will be easier to assess the extent of the winter tree- injury.  Our spring practices have been mostly unaffected and have only been delayed by the shift in temperatures.  At this time last year, trees were blooming and buds breaking - unfortunately we'll have to wait a little longer for that this year!  I'm hoping that our patience will result in an even greater spring display, even if it means shifting seed starting and planting a little later. 

One lovely, ornamental tree seems to have escaped unscathed from the winter snow.  It is hard to miss the witch-hazel, or Hamemalis, located just off the parking lot. While the witch-hazel progressed towards spring, Victoria moved back into winter mode.  The rich, yellow buds burst in the late January sunshine and were in full bloom just in time for a nice snow load! The delicate branches held up to the challenge, bearing the weight of the snow without difficulty. The strange, light scent of the witch-hazel is strongest in the warm sun.  Try and catch a glimpse or a sniff soon, by the middle of March this tree won't look like anything special. Hopefully by then the rhodos, magnolias and other March blooms will be ready for their turn on display. 

Emily Richardson

MAINTENANCE UPDATE - Finishing off the winter tasks

by Dean Piller, Superintendent

Over the past few months, Mother Nature has certainly thrown every curve ball possible including periods of heavy rain, ice, snow and wind chill temperatures of minus 14 degrees Celsius.  This was the harshest and longest period of winter I can recall and it certainly wasn't conducive to great golf, or any golf, for that matter.  Although the course may have been quiet, there was a beehive of activity taking place behind the scenes by our maintenance team, who were completing the long list of winter tasks that were discussed in last month's article.  

One of the main tasks we discussed last month was how important it is to ensure that trees add to the playability and beauty of the golf course.  Over time, if not monitored closely, trees can negatively affect the playability of the golf course as well as the health of the surrounding turf in a particular area.  Understanding this, it was easy for us to identify treed areas that had 'gotten away from us' or were overgrown with plants and blackberry bushes.  This included areas left of the 4th 10th and 11th holes, behind the 17th green and to the left of the parking lot.  Our crews were able to take advantage of the course closures and do some much needed pruning and thinning in the areas listed above.  These areas are now being tidied up in preparation for hydroseeding.  

We will be using a meadow mixture which includes fescue, foxglove, lupines, Shasta daisy, Corn Poppy as well as other native flowering plants that feed our pollinating insects.  Other areas that have seen a considerable amount of work during our frozen period are the ponds and creek edges.  You will notice we have nibbled away at some encroaching cattails and grass populations that were negatively affecting our water systems on multiple holes.  We still have a bit of work to do in these areas before the birds get busy preparing for their spring chicklets.

When you get back out on the links you will notice that the playability of the bunkers has improved since last season.  Over the past several months we have been working on getting the right sand depths in the faces and bottoms of the bunkers.  We are working on having this project completed shortly, when that happens you might even start aiming for them! 

We are very fortunate to have purchased some excellent new equipment to help with our goal of improving course conditions.  This year we have a new greens roller that allows us to roll the greens in 1.5 hours less than our old units.  We also have 2 new Eclipse Hybrid greens mowers that deliver the finest cut in the industry.  Combine these machines together and I anticipate fantastic putting conditions throughout the summer.  

With the sun shining through my window and a fresh cut on our fairways, I can say that we are off to a great start for the 2017 season.  

Dean Piller

PRO-SPECTIVE: Proper Practice
by Doug Mahovlic, PGA of Canada 

Reaching a new plateau in golf requires hours of practice, playing and thinking about your game. But all too often, as a full-time coach, players ask me how to improve their scores... but they never ask how to practice more effectively. It's like they think I have some secret to lowering scores without having to put in the work.
Even those who come to take lessons and really care about improving, often rush straight from the lesson tee to the course expecting their swing to be fixed. Most of the time, nothing is particularly "broken," except the way those golfers are practicing. If they're willing to practice more effectively, however, they can take their newly learned skills from the lesson tee to the course, and actually start seeing better results.  

First of all, golfers need to have a keen understanding of their game and what needs to improve. I believe this knowledge should come directly from facts. I personally recommend a stat-tracker on a web-based program called ShotsToHole.com, which allows a look at dispersion from the hole, and then give it a value.

For example, Player A hits a 40-yard pitch 5 yards from the hole; that is a Break-80 number (I talk more about Break-80 numbers later in the article). So what we would do with a student is look at their entire game and work out their strengths and weaknesses. We then design an appropriate practice plan.

If there are specific changes to be made in the swing, then practice sessions should allow time to work on technique. If technique is decidedly sound, then practice should be mostly of a performance nature. Regardless of the type of practice - technical or performance-oriented - I believe that golfers should change clubs and targets at least once in every 5 range balls. This allows our minds and bodies the best opportunity of ingraining a new movement or thought pattern.
If your Goal is to Break 80, here are the Numbers
3-5 foot putts: Score needed is a 40 percent success rate to break 80, or  4-out of-10 putts. Every putt should be hit on a different line.
20-40 yard pitch: Proximity needed is 12 feet. So let's aim for a 6-foot proximity and see how many attempts it takes to get five balls in that area. Every ball should be hit from a different angle.
140-160 yard iron shot: Proximity is 15 yards. So select a 10 yard wide target and see how many shots it takes to hit five balls in that gap.
Driving: Proximity is 35 yards: So go for a 20yard fairway and try to hit it 60 percent of the time on the range, ideally a different target each shot.
All shots are to be hit with your full pre-shot routine, and all results to be recorded and measured against previous tests. You can then play the same tasks on the course and see how the results compare.  The key to reaching your goals is not just hard work and beating balls, but practicing with pre-defined purposes.
Remember, practice needs to be...
  • Planned
  • Meaningful
  • Purposeful
  • Engaging
  • Error-full
  • Task-oriented
  • Reverent
  • Involve decision-making
  • Challenging
Time to break 80!

Ladies Spring Clinics:
If you're looking to improve your game this season, this is the perfect place to start!

3 60 minute clinics - $59

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays in March.

Click here for information and registration!

Doug Mahovlic
PGA of Canada

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Cordova Bay Golf Course

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