By: Juztin Bello, Copy Editor
Hello readers of The Peak sports section,
Welcome to the Peak Sports Mailbag. My name is Juztin Bello and I’m this week’s host of the golf-themed Mailbag. I’ve been playing golf since I was five years old and come from a very golf-centric family — truth be told, we sometimes decide who pays for dinner based on whoever loses the round of golf.
Thanks so much to all of our readers that submitted their golf-related questions, and my apologies if your question didn’t make it into this week’s edition. Usually, the Mailbag host will only answer three questions. Don’t worry though, you can find more of your questions answered online. Also, each question submitted counts for an entry into the raffle draw whether or not they are addressed in the Mailbag. Now, onto the questions!
Question 1: What are some of the best places to golf in the Lower Mainland? – Jay
In the interest of length, I’ll only give you my top three courses. My first recommendation is Burnaby Mountain Golf Course. According to their website, they are rated on Golf Digest as one of the best courses to play in North America. As someone who has been several times, I can vouch for this. The fairways are well maintained, and it’s quite affordable in comparison to some other courses I’ve been to. The cheapest price (for weekdays and weekends) is $15 at sunset, with the most expensive rate being $43 for mid-day on weekends.
Swaneset is another course I would recommend — it’s actually where I started doing lessons when I turned eight and my dad decided I should get some extra practice. Located in Pitt Meadows, Swaneset features two beautifully crafted courses: the Resort course and the Links course, which are both worth playing. I should also mention the food here is top-notch, which can be helpful in either celebrating a good game or coping with a bad one.
Finally, if you’re willing to make the drive, Furry Creek is one of the most breathtaking courses you could ever have the pleasure of playing on. Described on their scorecard as “BC’s most scenic golf course,” Furry Creek features the best that a golf course the Sea to Sky Highway has to offer. While a little on the pricey side, the inclusion of a shared golf cart, three golf balls, bottled water, a cooler, a USB connection, and a club cleaner makes up for the higher price.
Question 2: What recommendations do you have for the most efficient approach to improving at golf? Like, what parts of the game should I focus on first as someone relatively new to golf? – Rob
While some could argue that perfecting your drive and improving your distance are the most efficient, I personally think that working on your short game is huge. What I mean by short game is how you approach the green from a relatively short-range distance, usually at pitching distance (pitching being a type of swing used with a wedge). If you can hit a ball far from the tee box, that’s great, but how you get onto the green afterwards can really determine how well you finish a hole.
How you play on the green is also something you should work on — putting can truly make or break you. If you can get onto the green in two strokes, but it takes you four or five putts to get into the hole, you’ve basically wasted your approach. You’ll want to practice putting so that you can learn how to read a green; this can include knowing how a green is going to slope, how fast a green is going to be, and so on.
The best way to practice both your short game and putting would be through playing pitch and putt courses, which only have holes less than 100-yards long. A pitch and putt course I frequent is Kensington Pitch & Putt: it’s a relatively easy course for beginners and has a great variety of yardages and greens for practice.
Question 3: Golf seems like an expensive sport. How can I reduce costs associated with golfing and get better at golf without spending a ton of money? – Kyle
For starters, some golf courses offer specials depending on the time of day. Look for twilight or sunset specials, as those tend to be the cheapest options. Another way you can reduce costs is by walking instead of renting a golf cart. What you’ll miss in speedy gameplay and ease of transportation you’ll make up for in saved dollars and added exercise.
If you’re looking to improve and also want to save some money, you could always just hit the driving range. Eaglequest, which is a course I’ve been to numerous times since I started playing, has special bonus-ball hours at their driving range where you can get an additional 30 balls per unit. Bonus-ball hours are on their website, but I typically enjoy the 7:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. slot since the volume of people is usually lower. A regular unit (60 balls) is $7.50.
If you would like to participate in future editions of the Peak Sports Mailbag and be entered in a raffle for an end-of-semester prize, here’s what you can send to email@example.com:
- Sports-related questions that our weekly host will answer
- Weekly theme ideas to guide our questions
Or: sign up to host the Mailbag (and get paid)!
Thanks to all of you SFU sports fans for blowing up my inbox!
The next original Mailbag theme is: NHL playoffs
The host for the NHL playoff Mailbag is: Dylan Webb
Send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.