“Yeah, I’m old.”
Bob Crowe really isn’t when you consider he’s only 44. But when the winner of last weekend’s inaugural Onigaming golf tournament at Heron Landing reflects on how he got started in the sport 30 years ago, it garners such a statement.
With his uncle, Harold Klyne, at his side, Crowe first learned how to swing a club when he was 14 years old on the old golf course located near the shores of Rainy Lake.
His uncle passed away some time ago, but that doesn’t mean Crowe’s passion for the game has faded. Quite the opposite, in fact.
By shooting a 198 over 45 holes (27 on Saturday and then 18 on Sunday), the man who boasts a three-handicap bested the field of 46 golfers on a course considered the toughest in Rainy River District.
The hot, muggy conditions also tested their resolve.
“It wasn’t too bad today,” Crowe said as he sat on the patio at Heron Landing on Sunday after his winning round while his forearms were beaded with sweat.
“Yesterday was wicked—thank God for carts,” he added.
Relying on a short game that always has been his strong suit, Crowe was able to take a five-shot lead into Sunday’s round. But victory was anything but wrapped up as fellow competitors like Jeromy Wensley made a charge.
So good was Wensley’s charge that he found himself even with Crowe after shooting a solid 38 on the front nine. But a disastrous 10th hole, where he posted a “snowman” (eight), was too much too overcome as he finished in second place with a total score of 200.
“I hit it into the bush a couple of times and then into the bunker, and had a plug lie. [I] didn’t play the hole well at all,” Wensley said of the 420-yard, par-four, which is considered one of Heron Landing’s tougher holes.
“I was pretty confident heading into the back nine,” said Crowe, which is an unusual statement considering that stretch at Heron Landing is more difficult than the front nine.
“I play the back nine better than I play the front for some reason.”
Wensley, 26, who has been golfing for only seven years, played well enough, although he still would have liked to have won.
“Not bad, but I wanted to win, but what can you do?” said Wensley, who has a seven-handicap.
Wensley feels to consistently play a course like Heron Landing, which offers many challenges, is the only way you can get better.
“This course will make you a better player, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’ve played at Kitchen Creek for a while, but you don’t really get much better.
“Here, you’ve got to play an assortment of different shots, and it’s a fun course because its challenging,” added Wensley, who said he wasn’t affected by the sweltering conditions on Saturday as he and a few others were looking to sneak in another round.
“We were going to go play again, but they wouldn’t let us out on the course because of tournament rules,” he noted.
Crowe agreed the challenge offered by Heron Landing is an attraction to him, too.
“It makes everybody better when you’ve got a golf course like this,” he remarked. “You’ve got to hit such a variety of shots. You hit every club and it’s just beautiful here.”
As previously reported in the Times, Heron Landing has been nominated by Golf Digest as the best new course in Canada.
The winner will be named next August.
“Yeah, I’m old.”