Category Archives: Golf

Keep Swinging All Winter!

If you were happy with your golf game this year, what can you do during the winter to retain that level of play into next season? And if you weren’t happy with your game, how can you get off to a faster start next year? Unless you spend the winter months in a warm climate, try bringing your game indoors this winter. Many top instructors will tell you that hitting balls indoors can accelerate swing changes, particularly when combined with the latest software in swing analysis. That’s where the new indoor golf academy at Legends on the Niagara can help. It’s complete with the latest technology to help with private and supervised practice and features a state-of-the-art golf simulator with 30 world-renowned courses to play like Pebble Beach and Pinehurst, ideal for league play.

Housed in the main clubhouse at Legends on the Niagara, the Legends Winter Academy is more than a place to hit balls during the winter. Private instruction is also available and each hitting bay features video and Flightscope technology which gives golfers feedback on everything from ball and club speed to launch angles and more. “Hitting balls indoors during the winter months is a great way to master swing changes and stay sharp during the off-season,” according to veteran PGA Instructor Norm Moote. “With Flightscope technology we can assess why the golfer is doing certain things and then prescribe the best way to affect change. Doing this indoors during the winter months is probably the most efficient way to prepare for a new season.” A basic Winter Academy membership is $100.00 per month or $300.00 plus tax which gives members one hour of daily practice time through to the end of March. Video and launch monitor technology is available in each hitting bay. Private lessons with Head Teaching Professional Norm Moote are $50.00 for 30 minutes or $85.00 per hour plus tax.

Another way to add more punch to your game in the offseason is with a golf specific fitness program. If you want a workout program to help you swing with more confidence and improve mobility, the Legends Academy has aligned with Nutrition and Fitness expert Nathane Jackson who offers a number of programs that are sure to improve performance. A golf specific training program with 2 private sessions per week is $640.00 per month. Group sessions are also available.

Finally, the off-season is the time to have your equipment checked by a qualified club fitter. Grant Tayler, a former tour player who has specialized in shaft technology for more than 30 years, is available for consultation at the Legends Winter Academy. While it’s tempting to have the latest equipment every year, there’s no magic cure to posting lower scores. Checking your lie angles, making sure that you have the right shafts, and a new set of grips to start the new season can make all the difference in the world.

For reservations and inquiries call Head Teaching Professional Norm Moote at 289-241-3525 or email nmoote@niagaraparks.com.

Legends at Legends

American Meg Mallon, who has been selected to enter the World Golf Hall of Fame next year, has a distinctive Canadian connection having won the Canadian Women’s Open on two occasions including the 2004 event on the Doug Carrick designed Battlefield course at Legends on the Niagara. Mallon will join 2016 Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III, 1991 Masters Champion Ian Woosnam, and former world number one Lorena Ochoa of Mexico, all of whom will be formally inducted next September along with the late golf writer and BBC commentator Henry Longhurst.

Mallon, 53, who became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1987, won 18 LPGA Tour events, including four major championships. She won three times in 2004 including her second U.S. Women’s Open. Her win at Legends on the Niagara that year was her second Canadian Women’s Open title, a 4-shot victory over Beth Daniel with scores of 65, 70, 65, 70 for an 18-under-par total of 280.

Mallon’s first win on Canadian soil came at the 2000 du Maurier Classic at Royal Ottawa, once considered one of the four LPGA majors until the ban on tobacco sponsorship caused its near-cancellation. Mallon was one of a parade of LPGA stars who lobbied hard to find a new sponsor and in 2001 the Bank of Montréal made a five-year commitment to the tournament, renaming it the BMO Canadian Women’s Open. With a purse of $2.25 million USD, the championship is today known as the CP Canadian Women’s Open.

The 2004 Canadian Women’s Open was the first major competition played at Legends on the Niagara, which officially opened in June 2002. Tournament director Sean Van Kesteren of Golf Canada, organizers of the event which attracted 41,000 spectators, called the course selection a “no brainer”. According to Van Kesteren, “We knew Legends had all the qualities we were looking for with superb conditioning and great greens. Everything logistically was perfect for an LPGA Tour event”. Winner Meg Mallon agreed. “This was the best conditioned golf course we’ve played all year,” she said.

Over the years Legends on the Niagara has continued to host important national championships among them the 2014 Canadian Junior Boys Championship and two Canadian Women’s Tour events including the 2014 affair won by a 16-year-old Canadian Brooke Henderson. Now an LPGA regular ranked among the top-5 players in the world. Henderson is on track to a Hall of Fame career of her own.

Desperate for Tiger’s Return

The PGA Tour doesn’t usually generate much attention at this time of year, but that was all about to change with the buzz building over the return of Tiger Woods. Slated to tee it up in the first event of the new PGA Tour season at the Safeway Open in Napa, California, Woods abruptly withdrew on the Monday of tournament week stating that his game was not yet ready to take on the best players in the world. The much anticipated return of the 40-year-old superstar is going to have to wait at least two more months. His next scheduled appearance is the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas the first week of December. If he can stay healthy, and get his game back, Woods will presumably resume a full schedule in 2017.

Tiger Woods, who burst on the scene 20 years ago with his “Hello, World” at the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open, last played a PGA Tour event, the Wyndham Championship, in August 2015 where he finished tied for 10th, his best finish of the year on a creaky back. He underwent microdiscectomy back surgery soon after, followed by two additional procedures, and he’s been on the shelf since Wyndham. He missed all four majors in 2016, the first time that’s happened in his career and in interviews, he has often sounded bleak about his prospects of playing again at a high level. This is the fifth time since 2008 that he’s missed three months or more because of injuries, and even Woods has had to grudgingly acknowledge that his rushed returns in the past did him no favors. But unlike prior comebacks, Tiger says that he has been smart about his recovery this time around. The question now is whether he can get his game back to a standard that he can accept. That’s a tall order.

For the past six to eight months all we’ve really seen of Tiger is shots of him with his young children, at corporate outings, and at the Ryder Cup, where he served as a vice captain to Davis Love III, and to many observers the game isn’t anywhere near as interesting without the 14-time major champion in the field. Everyone from the PGA Tour to his fellow players, sponsors, and fans is hoping for the day he tees it up again. And in the few glimpses we’ve seen of Tiger over the past month, crushing drives at a junior clinic and in a full warm-up session on the range at his new course design Bluejack National, he seems healthy. But then those have just been baby steps. You don’t go from the range to the PGA Tour overnight.

Assuming that we’ll see him once again prowling the fairways of the PGA Tour, what can we expect of Tiger Woods after his return from major back surgery? With 79 wins on the PGA Tour, he has nothing to prove to anybody, but expect him to win if his back holds up. He is after all a competitor, not an oddity, and no one has done more for the game of golf or drawn more interest to the game in the past 20 years like Tiger Woods. And the sport has missed him desperately. Today’s Tour players would be the first to admit that purses are what they are today largely because of what Tiger has done over the past two decades.

While there are no guarantees on how well Tiger can play, whether he’ll win another major, or even win again, make no mistake, the cameras and the spotlight of the entire golf world will be on Tiger Woods once again when he finally puts his tee in the ground at a PGA Tour event. Let’s hope that’s sooner than later.