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Moe Norman – A Canadian Golf Legend

Published May 29, 2022 in Canada , Ontario - 0 Comments

The unique, quirky, uber-talented Moe Norman

By Paul Knowles

Moe Norman is a legend among golfers everywhere. Moe, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 75, was renowned for consistently making perfect golf shots. His swing has been praised and admired by hundreds of golfers up to and including Tiger Woods himself. Moe was also known as the quirkiest good golfer ever – an introvert, described as “slightly autistic” as well as “a savant.” His skill was unquestioned, but his struggles with learning disabilities and self-esteem robbed him of the success he could undoubtedly have achieved on the biggest stages of golf.

He was born in Kitchener, Ontario, and during his finest playing days, was primarily associated with Rockway Golf Course, the municipal course in the heart of Kitchener. But in his later years, Moe was mostly found hanging around Foxwood Golf Course, west of Waterloo, because Moe liked to spend time with his friend, advisor, and advocate – Gus Maue, at that time owner of Foxwood.

You can find dozens of Moe Norman anecdotes through a simple search on the internet. And in the works is a Moe Norman movie, the project of Canadian moviemaker David Carver, who told me that some big Canadian names are on board: famed Canadian comedian and actor David Steinberg and his wife, Robyn Todd “are executive producers, and Wayne and Janet Gretzky are co-producers.” Carver hopes to start production of the movie this fall, depending on the availability of a still-to-be-named director and actors.

This movie will tell the Moe Norman story to the world. But Gus Maue has a store of other, more private, and poignant Moe Norman stories – and he sat down to share some of them for this article. So, this is not an exhaustive, biographical piece – it’s a collection of powerful stories about Canada’s quirkiest – yet internationally revered – golf legends, a man who Gus simply describes as “a golf genius.”

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Surfing Portugal’s Silver Coast

Published April 21, 2022 in Europe , Portugal - 4 Comments
Silver Coast Portugal

SILVER SURFER

Jane Finn discovers a 60’s vibe while searching for hidden gems along Portugal’s Silver Coast

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Words by Jane Finn Photography by David Finn

As published in the April 2022 Edition of Planet Golf Review Magazine. To read the entire issue click here

I ease the car onto the Vasco da Gama bridge, admiring the bluebird sky above that’s mirrored in the cool, blue waters of the Tagus River below. It’s November, and Portugal is enjoying “St. Martin’s Summer.” The sun is beaming, and my heart does a little skip as I leave the hustle and bustle of Lisbon behind, feeling like an explorer, embarking upon a quest to uncover the secrets of the largely undiscovered Silver Coast.

In a little over an hour, my husband Dave and I are checking into the luxurious, five-star Evolutée Hotel at the Royal Óbidos Spa and Golf Resort. Stepping onto the balcony, I can taste the tangy, saltiness of the sea in the afternoon breeze as I catch a glimpse of the wild Atlantic Ocean in the distance. It’s too late in the day to play a round, but there’s plenty of time for a Mandalay massage before heading into town.

Óbidos Castle

Moorish Fortress and Castle Óbidos

Óbidos is delightful during the day but even more enjoyable in the evening after the tour buses have departed. Driving west towards the ancient town, I can’t help but be impressed by the well-preserved Moorish fortress that dominates the skyline. It feels like a place where time has stood still. As I step through the Porta da Vila gates, I’m immediately transported back to an era of intrigue where royalty reigned supreme. It was here that with the help of the Knights Templar, King Afonso I defeated the Moors to reclaim Portugal.

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Gus Maue – The Legendary Canadian Golf Professional

Published January 24, 2022 in Canada , Ontario - 1 Comment
Gus and Audrey Maue

Gus Maue: A life in golf… and he ain’t done yet

By Paul Knowles

A chat with Ontario golf icon Gus Maue is never really over – his supply of fascinating stories about golf and golfers is unending. We talked about a slew of golfing greats who have crossed paths with Gus – Arnold Palmer, David Feherty, Raymond Floyd, Al Balding, Moe Norman, and many more.

So, when Gus called me the day after our interview, to tell me about some important characters he had forgotten to mention, I wasn’t surprised – until he told me who these “characters” were. Their names were Willie and Bowdy. Willie was a black Labrador Retriever. And Bowdy was a yellow lab who gained national attention for his ability to find and retrieve golf balls.

Gus Maue has been involved with several golf courses, both as the pro and as owner – over the span of his storied career. One such – Foxwood – is located west of Waterloo. Foxwood is now part of the Golf North chain, which acquired it from Gus 19 years ago – but during the years Gus owned and operated the course, his pet dogs lived on the property. Continue reading

Queensland Australia – Of Beauty Rich and Rare

Published November 30, 2021 in Australia - 1 Comment

OF BEAUTY RICH AND RARE

Jane Finn heads to Australia and discovers the rich and rare wonders of Queensland

Australia is an island, a country and a continent. The perfect destination for the young and the young at heart. A place as diverse as the topography, the people, the plants and wildlife that inhabit it.  I loved sophisticated Sydney and pretty Adelaide, driving the Great Ocean Road, navigating the Snowy River Mountain Pass, and sampling world-class wines in the Mudgee, Barossa and Hunter Valleys, but it was Queensland that captured my heart.

Described as both the Sunshine State and the Northern Hinterland, these contrasting and differing perspectives dance together to weave the kind of magic that causes you to spread your wings and take on bold new challenges. I find myself embracing the philosophy, ‘the more you do, the more you can do!’ to ensure I remain an intrepid traveller – at home and abroad.

Crossing over the border from New South Wales into Queensland, we head north along the Gold Coast to Surfers’ Paradise, Australia’s equivalent of Miami but with a much more laidback vibe that is underscored by welcoming energy. The two-kilometre stretch of golden sand beach and rolling surf is lined with skyscrapers and condos that dominate the horizon, but it is at sea level where all the action takes place.

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Born To Be Wild – Costa Rica

Published October 1, 2021 in Costa Rica - 1 Comment

BORN TO BE WILD

Jane Finn immerses herself in nature and discover why Costa Rica may be “The Happiest Place on Earth!”

By Jane Finn, Photography by David Finn

As published in the April 2021 edition of Planet Golf Review

¡Pura Vida! ¡Pura Vida! In Costa Rica, whether you’re traversing a mountain trail, hiking in the jungle, relaxing by the water or ordering shi-frijo for lunch, you’re bound to be the recipient of this distinctive Tico greeting. Two simple words that translate as “Good Life,” but how do you define it?

Is it catching the perfect wave, thundering across a deserted beach on horseback or playing a round of golf beneath a jungle canopy? Is it meeting new people, savouring the local cuisine, volunteering or a combination of all or some of these pursuits?

For me, ¡Pura Vida! means doing more of what you love to do. Walking your happy path, wherever it may lead, and on this trip, it led us to the magical, majestic Pacific Coast.

I have to admit as I touch down in Costa Rica, I am not too impressed with San Jose. It’s boisterous, crowded and sprawling.  Where is the peace and serenity, the nourishment I crave to feed my soul? However, within minutes of leaving the city, I get the answer to my question.  Zipping along the highway en route to Jaco, the buildings that lined the narrow city streets soon give way to green, verdant rainforests, and the rallying cries of scarlet macaws replace honking horns, welcoming me to a piece of paradise on earth.

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Challenge Golf in Costa Rica

Published September 14, 2021 in Costa Rica - 1 Comment
Challenge Golf

Challenge Golf: Empowering People of All Abilities

by Jane Finn

As published in the April 2021 Issue of Planet Golf Review

I have listened to hundreds of TED Talks and paid big bucks to hear motivational speakers, but it has been a long time since I have been as inspired as I was after having lunch at the 18th & Greene with José Quesada.

José is a natural redhead, a spitfire, a bundle of energy, and a force to be reckoned with, who happens to be the PGA Director of Golf for Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort whose commitment and contribution to the game far exceeds his position. When José is not dreaming up innovative events or making improvements to an already exceptional course, he finds ways to make golf accessible to anyone who wants to play.

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A Taste of Thailand – James Bond Licence to Thrill

Published November 10, 2020 in Asia , Thailand - 1 Comment
Thailand

THAILAND – A LICENCE TO THRILL

Jane Finn heads east to Thailand and not only explores the caves on James Bond Island but discovers an inner peace after a chance conversation with a Buddhist monk.

By Jane Finn and Dave Finn

As published in November 2020 Issue 17 of Planet Golf Review

Life is full of contrasts, but Westerners are often oblivious to these nuances. In Thailand, you will find cosmopolitan cities and rural villages that dot the landscape, pristine beaches and dirty canals, ancient temples amidst towering skyscrapers, luxury hotels and backpacker’s havens and a vibe that is either enervating or enriching.

Like most travellers, we arrive via Bangkok, a city that never sleeps and the most visited city on the planet, eclipsing London and Paris. It’s hot, humid, congested and chaotic but teeming with life and an energy that invites you to dive in with a ‘beginners mind’ and immerse yourself in the culture. Ninety percent of the population is Buddhist.  It wasn’t long before we discover how this will influence every aspect of our journey to the other side of the world, a place like no other that invites you to get lost so that you can find yourself again.

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Mystical Maui Hawaii – Humpback Whales, Spinner Dolphins and Sea Turtles

Published August 4, 2020 in Hawaii , USA - 1 Comment

Mystical Maui

by Jane Finn, Photography by Dave Finn

As published in Issue 16 of Planet Golf Review

It’s 6:00 am. The sky is still inky black and the stars are just starting to fade. The mile of pristine beach stretching out below me is completely deserted and the only music  I hear is the sound of the surf.  Meanwhile, the clouds are silently rolling down along the sides of the mountains, like lava rushing to the sea and as the sun comes up the craggy peaks are illuminated with a mystical glow. This is the magic that is Maui, and I can’t help but smile when I think of the rainbows that greeted us when we touched down yesterday.  My pot of gold is having the luxury of knowing I have two whole weeks to explore this enchanting part of the world!

Hawaiians have a deep respect for nature, the ancestors, and the wisdom of their elders. The revitalization of their native language and the reverence they show for the sacredness of the land are intrinsic values that weave through the fabric of everyday life.  So, Mo’olelo, let’s talk story as I share a few tales of the people we met and the places we discovered on this journey.

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Oops – A Canadian Guide to Pandemic Golf

Published June 30, 2020 in Canada - 1 Comment

Par for Pandemic Golf

By Paul Knowles

We’re all familiar with the vocabulary of the golf course, which ranges from the congratulatory to the scatological and often profane. But this year, the most common utterance may be one seldom heard before on the links: “Oops!”

Today, that’s the go-too word every time we forget – or hopefully, almost forget but remember just in time – the new pandemic golf protocols that let us play our old familiar game that just isn’t familiar, any more. Reach out to shake hands… “Oops!” Touch the flagstick. “Oops!” Get in the wrong cart by accident. “Oops!” Walk into the men’s room and find one, just one, other guy in there. “Oops,” said while backing out apologetically.

The feeling that we’ve entered another, slightly off-kilter dimension starts upon arrival at our course. We proceed directly to the clubhouse, carefully distancing ourselves from anyone also on that same mission. We don’t bring our clubs – they stay in the trunk – we don’t shake hands or give the ol’ shoulder-chuck to anyone. We stand on designated spots, replete with posted warnings, awaiting our turn to check in.

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Boracay Phillipines Revisited

Published April 7, 2020 in Asia , Philippines - 1 Comment
Boracay - Philippines

Boracay – Paradise Reclaimed

By Jane Finn as published in Issue 15 of Planet Golf Review

It was almost fourteen years ago when I first laid eyes on Boracay, and it was love at first sight. To this day, the word I use to describe my first experience is idyllic. You see, I had been in Makati for over a month, working day and night in the nascent call centre industry, and desperately needed a break. At that time, Boracay was virtually unknown and certainly unfamiliar to me, but a poster enticed me to step inside a local travel agency.

Orchids Resort Boracay

The simple, laid back Orchids Resort is a two-minute walk to the beach

In the blink of an eye, I booked a flight to the Caticlan airport, passage to Boracay aboard a Paraw, and made a reservation for a modest room at the Orchids Resort, a backpackers’ haven that suited this solo traveller’s limited budget to a tee. What was even more astounding was the fact that within a mere six hours, I was checked into my room and found myself consulting with Lynn, the proprietor, to discover what this small island truly had to offer.

For the next few days, based on his sage advise, I sought to explore the nooks and crannies of Boracay and was never disappointed.

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