Senior Ryder Cup
Lexus of London South West Region Playoff
Forest City National Golf Club – August 21, 2023
Forest City National Golf Club opened its doors in 1992 as a public course situated on 275 acres. Since then it has transitioned itself into a full private venture with strong enough membership support for a Senior Ryder Cup team – strong enough to make the playoffs in its first year and supportive enough to host the Lexus of London South West Region Playoffs. The course presents a very different appearance and layout than the first three playoff sites. Rocky outcroppings and dramatic elevation changes are replaced by undulating bent grass fairways punctuated with sculptured fairway and greenside bunkering. The front nine tends to be more open while the back nine closes in on the golfer, eventually finishing with the tree lined 18th hole, accentuated with a water hazard and a narrow green. The course is beautifully manicured and well maintained and its difficulty increases around the fast undulating greens with their protective bunkers. As well, there are numerous dogleg holes many of which take drivers out of the golfers’ hands.
As in the East Region, the South West is spread over a large geographic area with significant distances between clubs. Pointe West Golf Club and Erie Shores Golf and Country Club are found in the extreme southern and western corners of the SRC territory, along with Willow Ridge Golf Club near Blenheim. St Clair Parkway Golf Club and our only American playoff team, Port Huron Golf Club, is found further north. Listowel Golf Club in the north and Dundas Valley Golf and Curling Club in the east represent the other geographic extremes of the South West contenders. The majority of the playoff teams are located in close proximity to London including Highland Country Club, London Hunt and Country Club, Sunningdale Golf and Country Club and our host, Forest City National. The rest of the competitors can be found in the area surrounding London including St Marys Golf and Country Club, Stratford Country Club, Deer Ridge Golf Club in Kitchener, Craigowan Golf Club in Woodstock and Tarandowah Golfers Club in Springfield.
Predicting a winner in the southwest is difficult because of the large number of strong clubs with a long history of golfing excellence. In fact, a testament to the competitiveness of golfing in this region is that only five of the teams involved in this year’s playoff were present in last year’s. Despite the robust competition, Pointe West Golf Club from Amherstburg repeated as champion with an even stronger showing than last year with 22 points. Deer Ridge followed with 20 points narrowly beating out Craigowan. All three of those teams will be moving on to the Championship round in Brampton. Highland Country Club missed out on making the Championships by one point. Tarandowah with 14 points and Listowel with 13 points finished further behind followed by 4 clubs with 12 points. A complete set of team results can be found on the SRC website along with match by match results (Events/Playoffs/2023/South West).
Prize giving was not limited to team prizes as there were five additional sponsor gifts awarded. Lexus of London, our primary sponsor in the South West Region, provided the opportunity to win a car for a hole in one on the 168 yard fourth hole. Several shots bounced and rolled by the hole but none got closer than John Zdonek from Pointe West. John had to settle for a much slimmer version of the real thing but one which will delight someone of a much younger generation (see the picture below). John Mulligan from Deer Ridge was closest to the pin on both the 159 yard 7th and the tricky 99 yard 17th holes. John was rewarded with a golf bag and a case of beer from Sleeman’s Brewery for his win on the 7th and a large bottle of scotch from Lorne Steinberg Wealth Management for his shot on the 17th. My Custom Sports Chair awarded Jamie Hodgins, from St Marys, a specially designed Muskoka chair for his closest to the pin on the 165 yard 13th hole (see photo below). As well as providing a closest to the pin prize, Lorne Steinberg Wealth Management also awarded a lucky draw $500.00 Golf Town Gift Certificate to Terry Duffy from Tarandowah.
Forest City National Golf Club provided the players with an excellent golf course and the Senior Ryder Cup organizers with a wonderful facility and tremendous on site assistance from their staff. We are very thankful for their support. Numerous sponsors have also assisted in providing financial and product support, all of which goes into making this a worthwhile day for the 128 golfers participating from across the region. As well as those who donated closest the pin prizes, we would like to thank Sleemans, Tilley Canada, Walter Caesar, Hides Canada, Winding Road Maple, Charton Hobbs, Reif Estate Winery, Jancor Sales, Visit Tucson, Renfro Hosiery, Pizzaville, Maui Jim, TruLOCAL, Golf Away Tours, BDO, My Custom Sports Chair, Good Things Promotions, Sketchers Golf, Henri et Victoria, Chilly Moose, Jack Black Grooming Products, Panago, Jack Astor’s, Gorilla Gold, Sapsucker and Callaway. All of these donors have allowed us to add team and raffle prizes at each playoff and expand our lunch time offerings. In addition, the in - kind donations helped us raise $870.00 from our raffle. That money will be used to defray some of our playoff expenses. As you will see below, Tilley has provided the much sought after sunhats for the Playoff Champions.
Lexus of London South West Region Champions: Point West Golf Club
Pointe West team members sporting their new Tilley hats are from the left: John Saffran, Jeff Valade, John Zdonek, Jim Johnson, Scott Scantlebury, Bill Stiles, Barry Skov and Mike Boston. Congratulations!
The raffle prize table donated by several of our sponsors
Above left Chris Pinelli, GM of Lexus of London congratulates John Zdonek for his closest to the pin shot. He won the car below instead of the car on the right
Paul Brisson, Kelly Roberts, Dave Bergeron and John Lafferty eye both vehicles before they try their luck on the 4th hole.
Teeing off on the 386 yard 9th hole – the landing area is key for the best shot to the green on this dogleg