Playing golf without gimmies?! What was I thinking! I conquered some serious jitters and played in my first Alberta Golf Tour Event ever. Was I nervous? Oh you bet.

The stage was the Tour’s season opening Major at Stewart Creek. Two rounds in beautiful Canmore surrounded by the always outstanding Rocky Mountains. The plan was to put on a show for the Three Sisters as they watched to see how “The Rook” would get around a course he had never played before but also in a tournament setting. What a narrative!

The Competition

As a low handicap player there is a stigma that you are a douche bag. Or a douche canoe (a fantastic term I learned from AGT Prez Leah). Why this stigma I can’t give you an exact reason but I’d like to think I buck that trend being the stand up guy I am (modest much?). But playing in the Champ Flight I totally thought I would play with a canoe at some point over the two days.

Am I a douche bag for thinking other low handicap players are douche bags and that I somehow aren’t one? #DouchebagDebate

The seven gentlemen that I played with were far from what a douche canoe constitutes and I had a great time pegging it up with them. I think we would all say that maybe we didn’t play the way we wanted and left some strokes out there but that’s what we douche bag, low handicappers will say when our score doesn’t start with a 7. But it was pretty neat to get the competitive juices flowing playing against guys of similar skill and  puffing my chest as far as it could go amongst the Tour veterans. The Rook had to state his case!

No offence to my friends who I play with back home but it was quite refreshing to play against players that were on my playing field (I’m going to hear about that one for sure).

The Track

Stewart Creek is one of the many amazing courses that the Alberta Golf Tour schedule boasts. I absolutely LOVE a mountain backdrop while I am golfing and had to visit a course I had never played before.

Looking ahead to a schedule with Jasper Park Lodge, Kananaskis, Priddis Greens, and Dinosaur Trail how would you not want to play at any of these stops? First class facilities that show off Alberta’s best features and the Alberta Golf Tour can take you there. If you’ve ever wanted a reason to go play any of these amazing tracks you now have one.

The Tour is such a great environment to golf, make some new friends, and play these amazing Alberta tracks. If you were hesitant like I was to play (apart from serious first tee shot jitters) it’s just like golfing back home but surrounded by amazing views.

canmore hole 9

The Verdict

So I think we all agree golf gets a bad rap. That it’s a sport that almost demands exclusivity with dress codes, country clubs, and confusing rules. This deters people from the sport and I don’t blame them. Golf needs to be fun and that’s what the Alberta Golf Tour stresses the most.

After both rounds of my tournament I went upstairs to find people having a few beers, food, and some friendly jabs were tossed calling each other sandbaggers. You can see a community of avid golfers forming and it doesn’t matter what happened on the course. Everyone feels welcomed, included, and at the end of the day what you shot or where you played is merely an afterthought.

I can remember thinking initially about how I could have played better and what I could have done differently. But I was on vacation in Canmore. Why would I let that ruin my weekend? I had some friends join to make a trip out of it. Stopped in a few pubs over the course of the weekend (the fellas that played with me on Sunday can attest to that), enjoyed some amazing weather, and each other’s company.

On the drive home I looked back at the weekend as a great trip with friends where I was lucky enough to sneak two rounds of golf in and meet some great people. Not that I went and played a tournament. That to me is a successful weekend and I am so glad I got to play in this event.

Hats off to Leah and her team for putting on a great event and I’m certain the rest of the season will be just as successful. To the rest of the Alberta Golf Tour players, play well and have fun! To anyone who’s reading this and is thinking about playing, DO IT! (Too aggressive?)

Okay, but sentiment and seriousness aside, let’s get down to brass tacks here. I am a competitive guy and my tour debut was average at best. I owe it to myself at least for some redemption. I had trash talked leading up to the event and quite frankly a 5th place finish just doesn’t back up the smack. Champ flight-ers beware #neilerknows what he needs to do to get on top of the leader board. You’ve been warned.

And can we please get a better joke than calling someone a sand bagger?


  1. Lana

    Congratulations on completing your first big event dear. Good job! Mom

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