Some new additions to the course

Happy Earth Day! The grounds and landscaping crews at Fairwinds have been busy as proverbial bees over the past few weeks, and the results of their hard work is plain to see both on the course and throughout the entire community.

One of the Garry oak seedlings planted near the Audubon garden.

A Garry oak seedling, planted in the Audubon garden.

Golfers may have noticed some new additions to the Audubon garden near #14. Ten tiny Garry oak seedlings were planted, and are now under careful protection and the watchful eye of our landscaping team. Garry oaks are very slow growing trees, and seedlings can take 5 or more years to grow to 1 m in height, though eventually they grow between 12m and 35m tall. Garry oaks are the only native oak species to British Columbia, and these trees and their associated ecosystems provide critical habitat for a number of rare or vulnerable species of plants, animals, and fungi.

One of the mason bee houses put out this spring.

One of the mason bee houses put out this spring.

Two mason bee houses were also put out this spring, along with several hundred bee cocoons ready to hatch. Mason bees are very important pollinators for trees, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, especially as honey bees and other pollinators appear to be at risk across North America and around the world. Mason bees are solitary bees and do not have hives.  This means they are quite docile and very rarely sting as they are not protecting a queen or nest.

A mason bee.

A mason bee.

There are no “worker” bees and they do not produce honey or beeswax. Instead, fertilized females lay their eggs, along with a pollen and nectar food supply, in narrow holes or tubes with a partition of mud between each egg. The mason bee gets its name from its habit of building these mud compartments.


Dave Lineker, our Landscaping Supervisor, installing the bat box.

Dave Lineker, our Landscaping Supervisor, installing the bat box.

A bat box was also installed on the side of the golf course maintenance building, and while bats are not the most cuddly of neighbours, they are important pest controllers, eating mosquitoes and other insects. You may not ever notice them swooping out at dusk and back in at dawn, but we all benefit from having fewer pests in our yards!

Bring Balance to Your Game

All too often I see players on the practice tee hitting buckets of golf balls, struggling to stay balanced and stable throughout their golf swings. Good posture and balance are imperative to making a good golf swing and solid contact.

Swing your irons while standing on a 2x4!

Swing your irons while standing on a 2×4!

To make consistent contact with your irons, and all our clubs for that matter, you have to make a balanced swing. Players often move too much weight toward their toes, or up on the balls of their feet. This results in poor contact and a loss of power. Swinging while standing on a 2×4 will help you improve your balance.  

Start by making slow-motion back swings to feel how your weight should stay in the middle of your feet, then slowly move to the impact position and hold it. Feel the weight moving to the middle of your forward foot.

Once you’ve stayed balanced at a slow speed, increase the speed until you stay balanced throughout your full swing. Don’t fall off!

Brett Standerwick
PGA of Canada Golf Professional
Fairwinds Golf Club

Tackling the first tee

The first tee shot on the opening hole is always one of the toughest shots we face. Every golfer gets the “first tee jitters” at some point. However, bringing the right mindset to the first tee will help enable you to overcome this anxiety and hit the ball down the middle of the fairway more often.

The first step is to avoid creating a life or death situation for yourself. Relax and think. This is only one of many shots in your round; it is not the most critical. Every shot is important as you play one shot at a time and add up the total score.

Teeing off on #4 at Fairwinds

Teeing off on #4 at Fairwinds

While waiting to tee off, pick out a target where you want your ball to go and visualize yourself executing it successfully. Picture the ball hitting your target and feel confident in your ability to make the shot. Breathe, inhale, and exhale deeply. Be sure to go through your pre-shot routine without being overly concerned with the outcome. A good pre-shot routine keeps you from calling back the last time that you missed your first shot off the tee.

Also, give yourself permission to fail. As with all shots, everything may not go as well as you expect. This acceptance helps reduce fear or anxiety, and eventually will eliminate it. Fear causes your brain to secrete negative chemicals that adversely affect your performance, thus ridding you of your chances of making a smooth, effortless swing.

To swing smoothly without fear it’s essential to avoid thinking too much about how to swing. You need to just swing, only thinking of hitting the ball toward the target. Thinking about swing mechanics or concerning yourself with shot results causes your muscles to tighten, inhibiting you from swinging freely.

Your number one swing destroyer is within you. Your real enemy is none other than your conscious mind. To improve your performance you need to avoid being conscious of any particular thing during the swing, keep your mind blank. Most importantly, practice a lot and breed confidence in your swing. Confidence enables you to swing without the first tee jitters, making it possible to hit the ball solidly with authority and consistency.

Good luck on your next round!

Brett Standerwick, PGA of Canada Golf Professional
Fairwinds Golf Club

Why the sod face?

You may have noticed our grounds crew redesigning part of the practice bunker. If the thought of how to get out of this practice bunker crossed your mind, well, the answer is in the question – practice.

The Fairwinds' grounds crew redesigning the sod face bunker

The Fairwinds’ grounds crew redesigning the sod face bunker

There is no need to worry about future sod walls being installed on the golf course. That won’t likely happen, but the uniqueness of a sod face bunker provides an interesting challenge. It requires a full swing with a very lofted sand iron. This will build confidence in your sand game and produce high, soft bunker shots that can be used in any situation.

Why the sod face? It was necessary to narrow the bunker for safer access from the back of the bunker. We also wanted to help prevent line drives caused by thin bunker shots that often fly across the green which could injure another practicing golfer. This formation will also keep more sand in the bunker which is usually a challenge for the maintenance crew on bunkers that get a lot of use.

We hope you enjoy this new feature to our practice facility. By the way, if you are finding the wall too challenging we have some fine instructors who can get you over it.

Keep it fun!

Happy New Year

It is a new year (and a new moon) and while everyone is setting goals, why don’t you take this opportunity to create a new you in terms of your golf game? Here is a poem that was presented to our top D.O.G. by the author after he shot ten under par for the first time.

So you want to be the pilot
Of the tiny white moon

And you haven’t lost your mind yet,
Well, you will soon.

When they throw you that little egg
And say “crack this”.

You’ll head for a field and practice.
When you come back,

Your mind will be blank.
That’s the start of another golf goon,

Always on the tee by noon,
That’s the pilot of the tiny white moon.

The point is that we have all become pilots in our own way and we should honour and be proud of the way we play golf. The new you may very well be you. Play your game or play your swing… either one is a great way to enjoy golf. Happy New Year.

Take a chance this Christmas

There are only 27 days until Christmas and you may not have started your shopping yet. This year, step out of the gift box before buying the first item on someone’s Christmas list, and think about the type of person they are and the things they like. One thing to keep in mind before you decide what to buy typically is what does your family and friends really want that they may not buy themselves?   thoughtful gifts

There are two types of shoppers: ones that find great gifts that mean something personal, and ones who aren’t sure what to get and usually end up giving gift cards. One type isn’t better than the other and some people are difficult to shop for. But when you do begin your Christmas shopping (if you haven’t already), try to find a gift from the heart. What would make that person smile? Is there a gift that can make their life easier or more enjoyable? Maybe what they truly want is an experience such as spending time together cheering on their favourite hockey team at Rogers Arena, tasting wines until they start acting silly, or quality time on the links with their favourite golf buddy. Those gifts may not last forever, but the memories will. So before you start shopping, try to think of a few things that aren’t on their list that they would enjoy. And hey, if they don’t like the gift, isn’t that why we include gift receipts?

Happy Holidays!

To walk or ride….

Do you need to ride a cart when you play golf? To answer this question you first need to establish the context. Many times the answer can be obvious. At Furry Creek Golf Club near Squamish, you pretty much need to ride as the walk is challenging and although some people can accomplish this it really doesn’t lend itself to the pace or flow of play. And of course some players are not able to walk the course for personal reasons. _67J9209

But if the question is asked and the playing field is level (not literally) then the game of golf is best played while you are walking. The flow of the game while walking allows for just the right amount of time between shots. It also allows for the golfer to get a sense of the course layout and to feel the real wind – not the wind created by a moving cart. Make adjustments for uneven lies and even read a putt before arriving at the green. These are all important to a player that is trying to shoot his or her best score.

But what of the average player who golfs less than ten rounds each year and wants the golfing experience? This player has different expectations of what a golf round should be. There is no concern with the fitness of golf, never mind the score. This type of person would likely benefit from riding. It speeds up the time between shots, and allows the infrequent golfer a place to rest if they are getting tuckered out from more than a few shots per hole. Carts also offer a place to put their favourite beverage.

While we recognize the revenue that golf carts bring, we do realize that there are at least two very different types of players. If the golf experience is one of a high expectation with all the bells and whistles, then you should ride and take it all in. However, if the player is of the competitive nature or plays several rounds per week, then enjoy the walk, fresh air, and exercise. The preference of riding or walking is up to each individual golfer.

In a recent Facebook post, we asked our fans if they preferred to walk or ride. The results were pretty even.