There's a surprising lot of interesting stuff going on around here, and this space is devoted to discovering and sharing it. We'll post regular updates on merchants, activities and events. Look in often and soon you'll see why Meaford calls itself "The other Big Apple".

posted September 18th, 2015
A history of Meaford Golf Course, Part II

Ivan Alderdice grew up on a large cash-crop farm in Meaford, but he was a born entrepreneur – always on the lookout for a new opportunity. “I always had about three different careers,” he says with a laugh. Over the years, he operated a long-haul trucking company, worked as a broker for McIntee Realty, and developed a successful subdivision in Meaford – all while he continued to run an 800-acre farm. When the Meaford Golf Course came up for sale in 1991, he was intrigued. “I was never a golfer, beyond charity tournaments and that kind of thing,” he says. “But the subdivision was finished and I was looking for a good investment.”

At the time, he was already maintaining his real estate and farming careers, but the agricultural side of course management appealed to him. “That was the easy part for me – hard for other people, but easy for me. I had a spray licence in agriculture way before they even brought them in to golf courses.” He and his wife, Mary, made an offer.

From the beginning, Ivan planned to expand the course from its original nine holes. Initially, he added an additional set of tee blocks for each hole with enough difference in position to begin to approximate an 18-hole course. Meanwhile, to accommodate the expansion, he’d bought two properties off Nelson Street at the same time he purchased the course. Eight years of careful planning and hard work clearing and transforming the rough property later, nine brand new holes were ready for play.

The 18-hole course opened in 2000, and the new nine holes became known as the Millenium. The older nine were now christened Randle for the original owners of the course.

Ivan’s proud of the work he’s done to transform the golf course, particularly the natural and agricultural enhancements. He added ponds to capture water, which previously flooded the lower holes in the spring, and to stop erosion and provide for irrigation. “You used to have to wear rubber boots to play the 7th fairway right till July,” says Ivan. “So when you’re out there cursing me for these big ponds, remember they’re not just a trap for your balls. They’re there to control the water in the spring.”

Meaford Golf Course aerial view

He’s also proud of the club’s scale. While modern golf trends toward longer and longer courses, he believes golfers are really looking for shorter, but still challenging, courses – the kind of play you’ll find at the Meaford Golf Course. “We’ve got to get rid of our ‘architect’s eagles’; we shouldn’t be building these 7,000 yard courses,” he says.

Even as the 8th hole on the Randle Run earned Grey-Bruce Golf’s recognition as one of the “toughest holes in Grey-Bruce” (with the Millenium #1 “a close second”), the course plays quickly, and golfers are welcome to play four or six hole configurations.

“It’s supposed to be fun,” says Ivan. “It’s called a game.”

Meaford Golf Course

posted September 15th, 2015
A history of Meaford Golf Course, Part I

It was the summer of 2005. Great-aunt Minnie, a spry and sharp 90, stood looking down at the 9th green from the clubhouse deck at the Meaford Golf Course. She turned to her great-niece’s husband. “Ivan,” she said, “when did you change the green?” Ivan Alderdice, who’d owned the course with his wife, Mary, since 1991, was surprised. He’d enlarged the green in the late 90s when he expanded the course to 18 holes. But Minnie’d just arrived from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan for a wedding celebration and family reunion, and as far as he knew, she hadn’t seen the previous set-up.

“How did you know I changed it?”

“I used to work here when I was a girl, back in 1934,” Minnie replied.

“You could have hit me with a sledge,” says Ivan. “It turns out Minnie’s aunt was married to Mr. Randle, who built the course in 1934.”

As the fifth owners of the club, Ivan and Mary have seen the course through more than a quarter of its 81 years, longer than any other owner, and they’ve taken it from its original 9-hole configuration to a challenging 18 holes, without losing the comfortable scale and casual atmosphere that made it unique. The newly discovered connection with the founder seemed about right.

It was a new arrival from Windsor, the manager of the Bank of Montreal, who first got the idea of a golf course in Meaford rolling, and Randle’s farm was a great location. Enlisting the enthusiastic support of the Owen Sound Golf and Country Club, a group of volunteers built a dam, installed irrigation, and mapped out the 9-hole course. “They were serious,” says Ivan. “They did a pretty good job back then.”

Meaford  Golf Course 1930s

Meaford Golf Course

While the course managed to thrive during the Depression, World War II drew many of Meaford’s men overseas, and it almost ceased to be a golf course, says Ivan. “It went back to a farm for a bit. They cut hay off the fairways, but the greens weren’t kept.”

After the war, Archie Platt took over the course and brought it back to life. With many in Meaford looking forward to getting back to golfing, it became a real community effort, with volunteers carefully tending to the greens and the fairways. Platt also built additions to the clubhouse, including where the pro shop is currently located, and focussed a lot of his effort on the restaurant.

In the mid-sixties, Mick Baynon, an avid golfer, bought the course and devoted his energy to the play. “He wanted to make it better, and he did,” says Ivan. After 11 or 12 years, Bob and Pat Shorter became the owners. Bob was a good golfer, says Ivan, but there was still a lot of potential to be realized in the property. That’s what Ivan saw in 1991.

Part 2 next time.

posted April 5th, 2012
Easter golf at Meaford and area golf courses

The skiers were still on the hills when Meaford Golf Club opened for play on March 17 this year. With temperatures predicted in the low teens this weekend, getting out for a round of Easter golf might be just the ticket. The Meaford Golf Club is right in town, right next to the Meaford Haven retirement community, and offers a twin nine-hole configuration, so you can play 18 holes of golf in two different ways – on the same day if you want!

Stone Tree Golf Course, just south of Owen Sound, is also open this weekend, accenting the golf with a delicious Easter brunch on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.. And with “Pay-the-temperature” green fees, the price is right. Pay only $20 plus the temperature for 18 holes, and $10 plus the temp for nine holes.

The same deal applies at Legacy Ridge Golf Course, which is the new name for the Owen Sound Golf and Country Club. With sweeping views of Owen Sound Bay, the 91 year-old club has started new life under ownership of Stone Tree. And during April, you’ll pay only $30 plus the high temp for 18 holes, and $20 plus the high temp for nine holes.

Cobble Beach, the much-lauded new links-style course north of Owen Sound, opened for the season today. Among other praise, the course has been named one of the top 20 courses in Canada by Links Magazine; Ontario’s Best New Course by Ontario Golf Magazine, and Top 10 Best New Courses in the World by Travel & Leisure Golf. It’s just a half-hour drive.

Just a few minutes down the road, the Golf Club at Lora Bay is also open Easter weekend – the earliest opening weekend yet for the course. This weekend, all greens fees are only $59, including power cart and just $39 after 3 p.m. The course has hosted the Telus Skins Game, and the PGA Nationwide Tour Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic.

Monterra Golf, at Blue Mountain, is also offering a deal on greens fees – only $49 through the weekend, cart included. Monterra was designed by Tom McBroom and opened in 1989.

These are just a few of the golf courses you’ll enjoy in your Ontario retirement community at Meaford Haven. So why not start checking them out now?

posted August 19th, 2011
Blue Mountain happening all year round

Visited Blue Mountain earlier this week, twice in fact. Canada’s third busiest ski resort is just a 20 minute drive from Meaford Haven, but if you’re an avid skier, you don’t have to worry about the “busy” part. A Blue Mountain 5×7 pass is a great deal and allows you to ski Monday through Friday day and night, and nights on Saturday and Sunday. Head there during the week, and you’ll be surprised at how short the lift lines are – if there are line-ups at all. More often than not, you’ll be skiing right up to the lift.

But back to this week’s visits. Blue Mountain isn’t just about winter. Come summer, it seems like there are even more things to do. Last Friday, the mountain bike got its first real ride of the season with a tough climb up the trails alongside Scenic Caves Road. With few glimpses of the road from the treed trails, you didn’t really have an idea of how far you up you were until you finally emerged right across from the popular Scenic Caves Nature Adventures attraction (more on that tomorrow). Then, thankfully, the course flattened out (for a little while). A few downhills were invariably followed by more climbs, which had me dreading the next descent, until the final ride down to a well deserved lunch in the Village at Blue. (It’s the downhill trails that attract most bikers to the hill – an easy ride up in the gondola followed by an exhilarating descent has something to recommend it over the cross-country climb, except for the bragging rights, of course.)

Back on Monday for more leisurely pursuits. For a few years, Plunge! Aquatic Adventure has been welcoming kids (and the young at heart) year round with its indoor/outdoor pools, indoor water playground, hot tubs, rope swing, dock and slides. Paddle boats and kayaks ply the pond during the summer months. Kids try their hands (and feet) at the climbing wall. Shoppers tour the array of shops in the Village, followed by a drink or a meal in their choice of pubs and restaurants. And this year, the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster offers new thrills. It’s like a roller coaster ride down the hill – for more than a kilometre – but you control your speed with a brake; if the max 42 kilometre per hour is too fast, slow down and enjoy the views.

But the newest attraction, and one that might just attract the real golfers among us, is the miniature golf currently under construction at the base of the hill. This looks like it’s going to be much more than an ordinary mini-putt, with realistic greens, bunkers, and challenging lies, all set among monolithic blocks in the side of the hill, recalling the ruins of Greek temple or amphitheatre.

Blue Mountain's new mini golf course

Blue Mountain's new mini golf course under construction

posted May 16th, 2011
Meaford Golf and Country Club hosts Fourth Annual Combat Golf Tournament

This is one golf tournament that will definitely be a blast.

Next Friday, May 27, the Meaford Golf and Country Club will host the Fourth Annual Combat Golf Tournament. That doesn’t mean you attack the next foursome with your 3-wood or a well-targeted Titleist. The event is a fundraiser for the Military Family Resource Centre, a Meaford organization which offers services to the families of our soldiers stationed at the Land Forces Central Area Training Centre. The golf tournament kicks off at 8 a.m., and it’s followed by a military reception at “the base”, with a variety of military activities on display during the afternoon and evening. Enjoy dinner, a silent and live auction, and enter a draw for a ” Combat Golf Adventure” weekend trip to Kingston Military Base. There, you’ll “living the military life” for three days and two nights – a life that includes a day of golf and use of carts at the Garrison Golf and Country Club.

Registration is limited to 36 teams and there are still a few spaces available. Call the Military Family Resource Centre at 519-538-1371 ext. 6509 for more information.

The Meaford Golf and Country Club lies immediately south of the Meaford Haven property, and offers a challenging 18 holes in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.