A lovely day for a (city-sponsored) game of golf

by Rob Roberts (National Post)

Councillor Paula Fletcher marked the opening of golfing season today by teeing off at one of Toronto’s five city-run golf courses (including the Don Valley Golf Course, above). The Post’s Melissa Leong went to Dentonia Park Golf Course to see if the councillor could hit a hole-in-one:

9:49 Ms. Fletcher, chair of the parks and environment committee, arrives with a red golf bag slung over her shoulders. She looks like she means business.

9:55 The councillor tells me the secret to the day’s glorious weather: “We ordered it.”

10:03 Ms. Fletcher steps onto the lawn. She sizes up her competition, professional golf teacher, Gordon Crossman. “I haven’t hit a ball since January,” he tells her. “So I’ve got a chance,” she replies.

10:05 She takes a few practice swings, kneads the ground with her feet and swings. The pink ball sails to the left of the green. She blames the broken wrist she suffered while opening the ice rink at Nathan Phillips Square last winter. “With the plate in my arm, [my doctor] said it was going to go that way.”

10:07 She hits eight balls for the media cameras. “OK, one more. Getting on that damn green.”

10:08 She gets on that damn green. The gallery goes wild. “That was it. It’s on.”

10:09 Mr. Crossman offers this critique: “Not too bad. Needed to extend a little bit more, let her hands go a little bit more. She made good contact. The distance was good.”

10:10 Last year, she hit a hole-in-one on the 18th hole at Dentonia. That earned her a second place in the Dentonia ladies league. “When I shoot in the eighties, I’m happy,” she says.

10:13 As Ms. Fletcher walks to the hole, James Dann, manager of enterprise services at the city, tells everyone about the mayor’s first shot of the season at the Don Valley Golf Course. David Miller’s ball almost hit a cluster of journalists set up on the course. They quickly moved their cameras for his second ball.

10:14 Ms. Fletcher tries for a par. Her ball rolls past the hole. “I feel like Chad Campbell.” (He was eliminated from the 2009 Masters after he missed a four-foot par putt.)

10:16 “Golf is a very good game,” she says. “Sometimes you have good days. Sometimes you have bad days. You have to recover from all of the problems and [savour] the good shots. It’s a good politician’s game.”

10:20 Ms. Fletcher gets a par. She does a little happy dance.

10:24 We head straight to the 18th hole to try for another hole-in-one. Ms. Fletcher whacks the pink ball, breaking the tee. The steel arm is working for her.

10:25 The ball lands on the green, several feet from the hole. Par. Not everything follows orders.