You have got to play Quarry Oaks


A couple of days ago a message popped up in my promotions tab with a great offer from Quarry Oaks.  The offer was the twilight rate ($42.50) with cart but starting at 1230 in the afternoon.

I sent out a message to some fellow golfers and was quickly able to get a foursome together.

We played yesterday (2016-08-24) with a tee off of 12:38.

I’ve played Quarry Oaks many times over the years and every time I do I lament that fact that it’s located east of Steinbach, and I live in Winnipeg.  It’s the type of course that were it closer to a major population center would attract a high volume of golfers.  It is the type of course (if it were closer to where I live) I would be a member of.

Why you ask, what so good about Quarry Oaks?  Here are but a few reasons:

  1.  Variety.  Three very distinctive 9’s that offer significantly different views and challenges.
  2. Well conditioned tee boxes, fairways and greens.
  3. Interesting carries over waste areas and water.
  4. Undulating greens that are challenging yet fair (if you put the ball in the right spots).
  5. Friendly staff and superb service.

There are many more reasons but you probably get the drift.

I’ve often said to golfing friends from Ontario:  if Quarry Oaks were located in Ontario people from Toronto would gladly drive 1 or two hours and pay well over $100.00 to play a round of golf on a course that provided the experience Quarry Oaks offers.

If you have never played the course, or have not played it recently you need to get out there.  It’s the type of layout you need to play several times a year even if you don’t live in the immediate area.  It’s that good!

The Wildewood Golf Club, a hidden gem

wildewood 6This is the  135 yard second shot that faces you on the 6th hole.  If you have arrived at this position it means you avoided the trees left and right, and did not roll through the end of the fairway.

The Wildewood Golf Course located on North Drive in  Fort Garry  is a gem of a little golf course.  I say ‘little’ only because it is a nine-hole course that is not particularly long at 6048 yards.  I’ve had friends scoff at the idea of playing Wildewood, calling a ‘short little goat track’.  I’ve frequently countered with an offer that if they can break 90 on the ‘goat track’ the first time they play it I’ll pay their greens fee and if they can’t break 90, they buy lunch.  Over the past 25 years I’ve enjoyed many excellent lunches.

So how can a course that plays at 6048 yards, has no water hazards and a limited number of bunkers be difficult?  Don’t let the yardage fool you.  Because of the design of the course and the strategic placement of trees, a number located in the middle of fairways, it plays longer  than the stated yardage and requires a unique approach in terms of scoring.

Wildewood has trees.  I mean literally hundreds if not thousands of trees.  And they are not little trees, we are talking mature elms  and oaks many in the range of 40 to 50 feet tall. Apart from the aesthetics, these trees provide shade and serve as a buffer on windy days.

When I first joined Wildewood in 1990 one of the old timers who has since passed, advised me that either of two things would happen:  Either I would learn to hit the ball straight or alternatively I would quit the game.  I still don’t always hit it straight but neither have I quit the game.

Wildewood is a regulation par 72 course with four par threes, 10 par fours, and four par fives.  What makes it play longer is that for longer hitters the driver is not a good option on most of the par 4’s.  Because  you end up hitting a 3 wood or hybrid (if you are playing strategically) on the par 4’s you end up giving up anywhere from 30 to 50 yards on each of the par 4’s as compared to a wide open course where you can flail away with your driver on all the par 4’s.  Virtually every fairway is tree-lined, on both sides of the fairway.  In the case of the doglegs, tee shots must be curved to prevent entering the trees at the end of the fairways.  These factors make it a difficult course to score on until you understand the course and develop a scoring strategy.

Since first joining Wildewood in 1990 I’ve made my way around the course an estimated 3500 times.  That is a lot of golf, but it’s also a lot of years and in those years I’ve managed to reduce my handicap from the 15-18 range down to the 3-5 range (and I’m stilled married to the same woman).

If you have not played Wildewood you need to.  Over the past several years the course has been very well maintained and it provides some unique challenges that few others courses can equal in terms of  the scoring strategy required.

In a subsequent post I will detail some of the strategies I use to score on Wildewood.