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.”
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
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.
Sault Ste. Marie, ON – In our technologically-driven society, we’re always on or at least we pretend to be, so when you need a ‘break from life’, I can’t think of a better place to reconnect with yourself and nature than Sault Ste. Marie. Nestled along the banks of the St. Mary River, this friendly and diverse community of 73.000 people is the perfect gateway to Lake Superior, in area, the world’s largest fresh water lake and the pristine, rugged wilderness that surrounds it.
After dropping our bags at our hotel, an easy stroll along the boardwalk found us crossing the narrow bridge atop the locks to Whitefish Island also known as Bawaating. Legend has it that when the Chiefs of all the First Nations needed to find a meeting place to gather without boundaries, a place to exchange information, ideologies, trade goods, and socialize, they sent out a crane to find the perfect gathering space. He led them to Bawaating, the place where the fast water flows and he chose well. Hundreds of years later, it remains a place with no borders except those created by Mother Earth, a place to align mind, body and spirit and heal.
By Jane Finn
Legend has it that when the Chiefs of all the First Nations needed to find a meeting place to gather without boundaries, a place to exchange information, ideologies, trade goods, and socialize, they sent out a crane to find the perfect gathering space. He led them to Bawaating, the place where the fast water flows. Nestled between two sections of the St. Mary River, hundreds of years later, it remains a place with no borders except those created by Mother Earth. A place to align mind, body and spirit to make a change and make a difference.
The crane is a powerful and auspicious totem in almost all cultures. Crane is a harbinger of long life and success. They are protective, wise and generous. They pick their battles carefully, choosing quiet wisdom and privacy over aggression. When he chose Bawaating, he chose well.
In 1997 this significantly historical land site was transferred back to the care of the Ojibway people of Batchewana. Under their stewardship, it remains a natural oasis within an urban landscape, a safe haven accessible to everyone who wants to learn, explore or heal and respect the land. A place where you can feel into the culture and the tradition and learn how we can partner in the journey towards Truth and Reconciliation.
By Dave Finn
Earlier this week I had the tremendous privilege of participating in the 17th Annual Chelsea Hotel Charity Golf Classic at Wooden Sticks in Uxbridge, Ontario. Not only did I get the opportunity to play at one of Canada’s premier golf courses, the tournament raised over $100,000 for a very worthy cause.
Tournament Organizer and Director of Public Relations for the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, Tracy Ford told me that:
“We have raised $1.5 million net for the following charities – Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity (when we were part of the Delta Hotels chain and it was their charity of choice) and then from 2013 to present, it’s SickKids Foundation. I chose them when we made the transition and had the opportunity to choose our own charity.”
Within our region, there are over 85 golf courses to suit every level of skill, and the majority are much more affordable than the GTA or Muskoka. Depending on your budget and location, there are 9-hole courses with green fees starting at $15, and championship courses like Blairhampton, that will test your skills. No matter your choice, our courses offer a relaxed environment with a lot less intimidation factor.
I was ten when I first swung a club, and I was hooked. I’d collect balls at the driving range and caddy, but I was in my twenties before I took my first lesson, one of my few regrets. If you have children who show an interest, I highly recommend that you take advantage of the many opportunities we have to teach them when they’re young.
Most of our courses offer group and individual lessons for adults, but I would suggest you enroll your kids in a summer golf camp. It will teach them patience, manners, respect, honesty and most importantly, perseverance.
By Mike Johnny
Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course is one of the top courses in Canada. Arguably one of Stanley Thompson’s finest works, this course sits adjacent to the historic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the Bow River. The layout is majestic, the views expansive with the river and the mountains providing a stunning backdrop. It may well feature the greatest opening nine I have experienced and possesses numerous signature holes. Leading Canadian Golf publications place this course well within their top 10 and the Top 100 Golf Courses of the World currently ranks it #5 in Canada.
On a cold spring morning, I was fortunate to play as a single where I could take my time, take lots of pictures and enjoy a unique golf experience. The starter advised me holes which I should have my camera ready – 4 and 14. He may have said all 18 of them.
As a tribute to Canada’s 150th celebration, we would like to share with you our article that was published last year by the National Federation of Federal Retirees. I can’t think of a better way to explore our great country and meet our friendly people than in an RV.
The freedom to stay or the freedom to go, the freedom to explore or the freedom to move on — I’m talking motorhomes, not motorcycles. I fell in love with RVing almost 30 years ago when our walkabout in Australia turned into a “ride about” in New Zealand.
You see, a few months earlier, in what was both a very brave decision and a complete leap of faith, my wife and I sold our house and set out with our two young daughters to explore the Pacific Rim. En route, we stayed in a condo in Hawaii and a resort in Fiji. In Australia, we camped or stayed in caravan parks, hostels and the occasional hotel, but it wasn’t until we scored a motorhome in Auckland that I finally felt that I had a home away from home.
The cry “Allons!” — a single word that translates as “Let’s go!” — opens many of the stanzas in Walt Whitman’s poem Song of the Open Road. His story celebrates the out-of-doors, and the road in particular, as a place where people can come together in a meaningful way — where status matters less and the experience matters more. I believe that is also the mantra of the folks we have met who take off in their RVs to see friends and return to familiar places or, alternatively, satisfy their wanderlust.
Despite the fact that the days are getting shorter, fall remains my favourite time of year. I love the crispness in the air, the crunch of leaves under my feet and the smell of logs on the fire. Autumn is the perfect time of year to don your sweater and comfortable shoes and get out there and explore.
On our last trip to the Laurentians, my husband Dave and I arrived on the shores of Lac-Supérieur in the Laurentians in time to check in to our suite at Tremblant Elysium North and observe a lunar eclipse. After grabbing a few provisions, including a nice bottle of wine or two at the onsite L’Etalage Gourmand Marché, we settled ourselves on the deck with our cameras and to watch the show. As the earth slowly aligned itself between the sun and the moon, it cast a shadow across the entire moon, whose surface gradually turned red. That set the pace for the next few days, as we took our time discovering the Laurentians.