Captain's Blog

The Year in Review

2018 has been an interesting year at Niakwa.

The main topic of conversation for much of the year was, of course, playing conditions.

As I said in a previous blog, the winter of 2017/18 was unprecedented.  (or “unpresidented” as the leader of the free world would Tweet) Lack of snow cover, cold temperatures and unrelenting, howling wind did a number on our greens and fairways. Fairways recovered quickly, but the greens were another story.

Fortunately for members, the Board of Governors and Management had the courage to address greens damage head on. The four greens that were rebuilt in 2018 should be in good shape in 2019 and for years to come.

Read More>>  Read more »

A Hard Close

The last time I played golf, my playing partner told me he had read Craig’s (our Course Superintendent) recent blog entry about the course closing on October 15 – which prompted his question “what does ‘course closing’ mean?” My response – “Um, well Jimmie, it means the course is closed and you can’t play till spring”. Which prompted a follow up question – “why is that? I remember playing on Remembrance Day a few years back”.

Good point, Jimmie.Read More>> Read more »


I overheard Aretha Franklin singing ‘Respect’ while I was waiting on the tee box the other day. When the song was released in 1967, of course, there were no remote speakers, no blue tooths (blue teeth?) and no ear buds. I did have a recording of the song on 8 Track, though and played it religiously in my 1964 Plymouth Valiant on the way to the U of M.

The USGA policy on playing music on the golf course is all about showing “a little respect. Just a little bit”.Read More>>     Read more »

Pros with a Heart

If you were lucky enough to be at Niakwa last Friday, you may have noticed a bunch of robust young men pounding the ball around the course. Our Club was fortunate to host a group PGA of Manitoba professionals competing for a purse of several thousand dollars in the Cobra Puma Fall Final. The tournament was a great success and the pros were very impressed with how our course has rebounded after the awful winter we had. There also many positive comments from these golfing mavins about our four new greens. Here’s a link to the Manitoba PGA website

Most golfers don’t know much about the PGA of Manitoba and the good work that’s done by this organization. Our own Wade Nybakken just happens to be President of the Board of Directors and Niakwa has five PGA members helping us to be better golfers. Read More>>  Read more »

A Botanical Interlude 

Year in and year out one of the most popular people at Niakwa is our gardener. And why not? Her mission is to beautify our facility and to enhance our experience around the clubhouse and out on the course. It doesn’t hurt that our present gardener, Kerrie Ferris, is charming and engaging, and is often accompanied by her friendly dog, Taz.Read More>>  Read more »

Changes to the Drop Rule

The Current Drop Rule

I’m often asked by my playing partners about the rules for dropping a ball under different circumstances on the course – from hazards, unplayable lies, obstructions and other impediments. Anyone who has read the Rules of Golf knows the answer can be complicated.Read More>>  Read more »

Our Greens

There were a lot of questions, opinions and complaints about our greens this year.There were so many solutions proposed that it makes you wonder why we have a Course Superintendent – when we have 500 or so experts on growing grass.

What happened to our greens in 2018, was highly unusual. Yes, we’ve had colder winters. Yes we’ve had melting in January before. We always have wind in the winter don’t we? And there are years when we don’t get much snow, right? Right – but we don’t get all these conditions in the combination we had in the winter of 2017/2018.  The combination of climatic conditions at Niakwa last winter could not have been worse.Read More>> Read more »

The Rough

Fish gotta swim. Birds gotta fly. Members have to complain about the rough being too long when it’s thick and healthy. And that it’s too brown and thin later in the summer when conditions are dry.

Despite our whining, rough at Niakwa is maintained to very specific standards throughout the golf season.  Read More>>  Read more »

Driving Range Etiquette

A few years back, when I was Club President, I recall being on the driving range one evening with a couple of newly minted Student Members. I was full of self-importance, grooving the new swing I had picked up the night before from the Golf Channel. These brash youths were on either side of me. Apparently they wanted to hit beside each other so they could discuss their plans for the weekend. Rather than take up a couple of stations on the end of the deck, one of them, in his ‘outside voice’, told the other to “ask the OLD GUY to move”. As I looked around, I quickly realized I was the only other person on the range.

My response (aside from wanting to introduce the lads’ shins to the business end of Gramma’s cane) was to become sensitive to driving range etiquette.Read More>> Read more »

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