GORDON – Manitoulin Golf has received a very good course/slope rating from Golf Canada and Golf Ontario, which reflects the growth the course has experienced in its now 39 years of operation.
“The new rating really reflects the rationale behind all that has been done to the course and all the work of the staff over the years, led by Arthur (Pummell),” said Dave Carr, course superintendent. “It was Arthur’s vision of having a true links style course.”
He pointed out, for instance, at one time there were not clear approaches to the greens, “and there were no naturalized areas, and very few trees—if someone hit a golf ball two fairways over they wouldn’t hit anything. It was that clear. And, for example, there was one pond on the course and now there are three.”
Manitoulin Golf “has been turned into truly a golf course over the years and should now be on the radar of golfers everywhere, including Golf Canada and Golf Ontario,” stated Mr. Carr.
Mr. Pummell pointed out when he was first hired as course superintendent of the then-Manitoulin Island Country Club, “we had nine greens and 12 tees (now 18). “We used to cut from fence line to fence line three quarters of an inch high, and the fairways were not separate, so we started planting trees to make each fairway separate from the next one on the course.”
“It was the start of the green revolution and we started to bring in naturalized areas, let rough areas grow in; the work we did helped define the course,” said Mr. Pummell. “We also started adding bunkers to make the course more challenging. At one time there was only one small pond on the seventh hole, which has been enlarged twice, and a pond on the second hole was put in on the left-hand side of the green. We applied for and received funding for this.”
He noted the sixth hole was to be turned into an island green. Instead, the sixth hole was cleared and a pond was put in. “Most of the work was done by the grounds keepers and Loyalle McDougall construction.” He pointed out original club members and volunteers have helped with projects over the years.
There had been expansions to the clubhouse over the years and a deck constructed, along with a practice area with a green and a hitting net.
“Basically with the new rating, it means the course plays five strokes harder—which is good. And the course is busier this year than last year,” said Mr. Pummell. “To me this is now a first class nine-hole golf course.”
“When I first started working at the golf course I didn’t know a lot about course and slope ratings,” said Mr. Carr. “But I had thought about getting the rating updated, so I talked to a few of the men’s league golfers, John Windsor, John Gordon and Peter Carter and they all felt like it would be a good idea.”
Mr. Carr contacted Golf Canada last fall and they agreed to do undertake the course rating. He said the last time the course had been rated was about 20 years ago. “Since then the course rating/slope rating was 64.2, which is the rating that a scratch handicap golfer should score.”
A slope rating evaluates the relative playing difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers. The lowest slope rating is 55 and the highest is 155. A golf course of standard playing difficulty has a slope rating of 113.
Course ratings are determined by Golf Canada, for the purpose of providing a uniform basis of which to issue a handicap factor. Course rating, slope rating and handicap factors are marks owned by Golf Canada.
Two representatives of Golf Canada visited Manitoulin Golf earlier this summer to rate the course. “They measure the entire course, measure the size of the greens which were very close to what we had Arthur determined back in the day. And from the red tees the measurements were exactly the same. He pointed as part of the process one of the Golf Canada representatives played the course.
Based on the statistical course rating the red tees which had had a course/slope rating of 64.2 now sits at 69.6, and the white tees ratings went up by five strokes as well.
“The representative from Golf Canada, who is a scratch golfer as well as being a rating analyst, really liked the look and layout of the course. They both enjoyed the clubhouse, had breakfast and enjoyed their meal and liked how attractive the course is,” said Mr. Carr.
Mr. Carr noted now “with the rating having been done we now have access to their handicapping system as well that club members can sign up for.”