Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa – September 2016 I have had the pleasure of spending two nights at Ron Joyce’s vision of “luxury without pretension” and it certainly is that.
While I will be writing about all my other adventures – food, wine, spa, agriculture, real estate, fishing and clay pigeon shooting – this is just about the golf.
I was staying as part of a fam trip with a bunch of fellow journalists and we had the choice of spa, golf, horse riding. While I would have loved a spa treatment after working so hard on Fairways for the last few months, golf wins out every time and wow what a course.
We were playing the Championship Course and my partners on the front nine were the Director of Golf Operations, Elliot Isenor, and my travel buddy Tom Bedell. Fellow writers, Ted and Sherel were the group in front teeing it up with the President of Fox Harb’r, Kevin Toth.
We were planning on mixing the groups up at the turn.
After inhaling a delicious lunch of halibut fish and chips, we grabbed our dessert to go and headed out to hit a couple of balls before teeing off. The boys both nailed their first drives while I hit mine off the bottom of the club and watched it veer left. Usually I can get away with a shot like that but today it hit the cart path and bounced into the water. Three off the tee but my second drive was fantastic.
I started with a 7 and that seemed to set the scene for my score. I prefer it when my number is 5.
The front nine is a more of a parkland course while the back nine is a links style with less trees and amazing vistas over the water. Graham Cooke certainly knows what he is doing and often your estimation of hazards are completely incorrect as your eye gives your brain incorrect data (that is what I am running with anyway).
I did play some great golf on the front nine but it was some great golf shots sprinkled in with a multitude of rubbish.
One thing I can do is putt and this didn’t let me down. While I might have missed the first attempt (although sometimes hearing that wonderful gurgle as the ball hit the cup the first try) I would get it back on the second. I am an aggressive putter (maybe an aggressive golfer actually) and only once yesterday was I short and that was my par putt on the 18th – not short by much either I must say.
I had a good golf chat with the boys although they were sharing a cart and I was kicking it solo so when I overheard some chat about Tiger, I piped up asking “of what Tiger do you speak”. Elliot then told us the tale of the day he and Ron Joyce golfed with Tiger Woods. I was surprised to learn that Tiger is funny and gregarious. He joked around with Ron and had clearly done his research on his playing partners teasing the Tim Hortons cofounder about coffee and donuts.
I was chatting with Elliot about Fairways and my trip to India at the end of the week and got talking about my golf guru Dave Bowlan, who Elliot knows and spoke of fondly.
Elliot and Kevin had to head off to a brief meeting so Tom and I played two holes solo while scoffing our carrot cake.
We whacked balls all over the course (well I whacked while Tom and Elliot threw darts) as we laughed and enjoyed a wonderful round of golf. I had some good belly laughs at some of my attempts at playing golf and completely messed up the 8th with a nice rounded snowman scoring a quadruple.
What can I say? That is just my golf.
We met up with Ted, Sherel and Kevin and we switched Elliot for Kevin and were off for the back nine. My golf improved on the back nine and I hit some great drives and was getting on to my 3w and 5w well. The sun came out and the wind died down a little (methinks it might always be windy here) as we traversed the fairways, smiling all the way.
There are gorgeous homes, town houses and guest accommodation suites that overlook the fairways across to the water and my only thought was “How can I live here?”.
As we headed out past the lighthouse and Ron’s residence, my driver just kept improving. It is a shame I need to hit other clubs besides my driver and my putter. I did hit some wonderful iron shots but I was always too long and gave myself some extra challenges chipping back on to the green I had just bounced off.
One shot I was really happy with yesterday was a sneaky hybrid chip from around the greens using my putter grip. A mate of mine showed me that recently and I figured I would give it a whirl and had used it very well on the first hole. When I pulled off a second very good hybrid chip, Elliot congratulated me and I surprised him when I told him I’d only added that to my repertoire last week.
Tom entertained Kevin and I with golf jokes and as we made our way to the par three 15th we sat and waited for Elliot, Ted and Sherel to clear the green. The boys were teeing off on the other side of the fairway, so I sat overlooking the water taking photos and tweeting.
After I heard the thunk thunk of their balls, I lined up and hit a great tee shot landing nicely on the green around 10 feet from the pin. My first birdie attempt of the day. Both boys had hit the green but bounced off as the greens were very quick and unforgiving. You mishit anything on the green and you paid the price.
I dropped my birdie putt getting a fist pump from the boys as it was a great putt (if I do say so myself) – it never looking like missing.
Then we stepped up to the tips on the signature hole, the 16th. You have to hit from the tips over the water – it doesn’t matter if you donate a ball to the course. As we waited for the others to hit their second shots we fooled around on the tee posing for a couple of photos.
I had no problem with my drive as my driver just kept getting better and by the 18th I nailed my drive of the day.
I finally strung five proper golf shots together and while I missed the final par putt on the 18th, I was delighted with my game.
I might not have broken Tiger’s 63 course record (not quite doubling his score) but I had a wonderful round of golf in great company on a spectacular course.
Fox Harb’r is my 87th golf course since July 2014 and this is one place I will definitely return to play as yesterday the course played me.
While currently there is a 9 hole executive course there is a course redesign in the pipeline incorporating the current nine hole track into another full sized nine so you have 27 stunning holes to choose from.
Pack your clubs and head to Nova Scotia – the golf will not disappoint….. and then there is the food and the wine and the spa and the clay shooting – but that is another story altogether.