It is with great pleasure that I introduce our second Canadian golf course architect on our Q&A series, A Casual 9. Jeff Mingay has operated his own golf architecture firm, Mingay Golf Course Design, since 2009. Previous to that, Jeff worked under Rod Whitman for nearly a decade where he had a hand in the design and construction of three Canadian gems -- Cabot Links, Blackhawk Golf Club, and Sagebrush (although Sagebrush is currently closed with ownership issues, it has nothing to do with Jeff’s work!). His first solo project was a master plan for Victoria Golf Club in late 2008, with restoration work beginning in 2009 and continuing over the past 10 years and counting with Jeff as the consulting architect. Jeff continues to compile an impressive list of successful projects as a golf course architect and has a tremendous outlook on the game. Please enjoy.
We sat down on the patio adjacent to the first tee for a post-round beer and I excitedly scurried to choose a few photos to post on social media. When it came to describing what I thought about Victoria Golf Club after our maiden voyage, I just went with my gut -- if Pebble Beach and Pasatiempo had a baby and shipped it up to Canada, it would be Victoria Golf Club. Bold, perhaps, but after having some more time to chew on it, I generally stand by my statement.
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Every great golf destination, in addition to good golf, has a distinct sense of place which helps elevate the experience into a uniquely memorable one. Located in the beautiful Okanagan Valley with five golf courses, sprawling orchards, wineries, brew pubs, beautiful lakes, beaches, and a longer golf season than much of Canada, Vernon has that sense of place.
Having grown up playing golf in a small town, I have a huge soft spot for small town courses. It has instilled a permanent sense of appreciation for access and affordability, both of which were crucial in giving me the opportunity to fall in love with the game of golf. Sundre Golf Club, located in the small town of Sundre, Alberta, provides not only access and affordability, but a great golf experience to boot.
Our annual Club Championship was contested this past weekend, which marked my first stroke play tournament since last year's Club Championship. The Club Championship is every club golfer's major. For me it is always circled on my calendar early in the season. If I could only play stellar for one week all season, I'd pick Club Championship week. The problem with being pumped up for an event is that golf is a sick and twisted game.
Western Canada is chalk full of beautiful golf courses. Regardless of what style of course you prefer, there's no denying the beauty and uniqueness of Canadian mountain golf, and Greywolf is no exception. Greywolf is perched up among the Purcell Mountains in British Columbia's stunning Columbia Valley, a 20-minute drive up the mountain from the town of Invermere. Designed by Canadian golf course architect, Doug Carrick, Greywolf opened for play in 1999. This was our second visit to a Carrick-designed course, the first being stunning Magna Golf Club.
When I think about the town of Canmore, the first things that usually come to mind are the hardcore outdoor activities such as back country skiing, mountain biking and rock climbing. However, our recent visit to Canmore Golf and Curling Club set me straight -- Canmore is also a very proud golf town. The Canmore G&CC was born in 1926 when local residents comprised primarily of coal miners and businessmen funded the building of the first 9 holes with sand greens, coffee cans for holes, and a membership fee of $5.
I am pumped to finally announce a little project I've been working on - The Golf is Mental Hat Shop. I wanted to give my faithful email subscribers the first look at The Hat Shop before announcing it on social media, so here it is.
I am stoked to feature our first golf course architect on A Casual 9, Riley Johns. A fellow Canadian, Riley grew up in the Rocky Mountains near Banff Springs Golf Club and developed an appreciation for the game and the natural beauty within landscapes at a young age. Riley first started working on the course maintenance side of the golf business, then later worked for golf course construction contractors and architects where he developed many years of field experience building and shaping courses, then furthered his learning with a degree in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design. Riley has been fortunate to be mentored along the way by some of the great golf architects of our time – Tom Doak, Bill Coore, and Rod Whitman. Riley started his own golf architecture firm, Integrative Golf Design, back in 2013 and has not looked back. Please enjoy.