Event #3 — Mystic GC — Ancaster, ON — May 23, 2019
The first event of the 2019 Ontario Hickory Tour was played at Mystic GC in Ancaster, Ontario, on Thursday, May 23, 2019.
This one was a bit of a nail-biter, right up to the last moment. Terribly wet spring conditions meant that the originally intended venue, Oak Gables, was extremely wet and muddy, and without paved cart paths, using carts there looked very doubtful. So, most reluctantly, the week before the event, we looked for an alternate venue. We were able to find a new host in Mystic Golf Club, a Golf North course, located just 4 km. from Oak Gables. Having paved paths through the whole 18, Mystic was able to assure us the use of carts (needed by a large proportion of our participants). However, Mystic, though an extremely well maintained and interestingly designed course, would not normally have been our first choice for a hickory event – it is definitely a ‘modern’ course, quite long, even from the front tees, with a very rolling layout and some challenging carries (some, but not all, taken out for the front tees).
Six of our original registrants for Oak Gables elected not to play at Mystic, and one further player contacted us the day before the event to let us know that he would not be able to play due to an injury. That left us with 25 out of the original 32 registrants, and those 25 all turned up and teed off on the day, despite a pretty terrible weather forecast hanging over us. A sincere thanks to all!
As I say, the final hurdle was an awful weather forecast for the day – rain, probably more rain, and a good likelihood of thunder. The rain was coming down hard as participants arrived, and though letting up somewhat, looked still very threatening as the first group teed off. Indeed the rain continued intermittently through the tee times of all groups. But we were fortunate that no more thunder was heard (there had been some earlier), and after the first few holes, the showers finally moved away, and we were able to play the rest of the round in quite pleasant conditions.
As already mentioned, Mystic presents a bit of a challenge for hickories. It is a par 73 course, 7,365 yards from the back tees, and 4,868 yards from the front tees. On several holes, even when playing from the front tees, quite substantial carries are required. We did place custom ‘forward tees’ ourselves for Pre-1900 players and those over 75 years of age. The course is very hilly, and the greens are large and undulating. Greens had also been rolled well, and I think I can fairly say that most of us found them extremely hard to read. The thick green-side grass was also a devil to chip out of.
The group of Paul Dietz, Ron Dunn, Tony Matlock and Wayne Linton elected not to continue after nine holes, but I hope, and do believe, they were able to take some pleasure from attending the event.
Jim Wilhelm was the winner for the day in the Bobby Jones (post-1900) Division, with a round of 82 and 53.5 Modified Stableford points; runner-up was Bill Southall, with a round of 84 and 51.5 points. Rick Harper was the winner for the day in the Old Tom Morris (Pre-1900) Division, with a round of 94 and 46 points. Note that points for players in each Division are calculated separately, based on the average hole stroke scores of all players in that Division.
Although an organized meal was not included in the event, many of the players enjoyed eating and drinking in the clubhouse after playing.
Thanks to our photographers for the day, Frank Collis, who has done wonderful work for us at so many events, and a new face, Eileen O’Sullivan, a keen photographer new to hickory golf.