RIDEAU VIEW GOLF CLUB - OTTAWA'S PREMIER PRIVATE GOLF EXPERIENCE.
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The Rideau View Golf club opened with pristine conditions and is looking like it will wrap up the 2014 season the same way.
In the many spectacular days in between, there was honour and glory earned by its golfers, as evidenced by the hardware that gleams in the cozy new pub, trophies earned by Rideau View's best.
With the sun setting on an intense season of competition - including another record-setting win by the men's Intersectional team - the annual Beef and Greens tournament is less a strong-armed tussle and more a group hug for another season and a celebration of all that is great and good about the game. Think a combination of a round of golf on an outstanding course where your cart is a chip wagon.
It's a golf course with a four-, five- or six-course meal.
If it was a TV show, it'd be Big Break meets Eat St.
It's the kind of day where you think somebody is calling out "Fore!" but they are really yelling, "Fork!"
For the last 15 years, Rideau View members Tom Larocque and Rick Curry, superintendent Gord MacMillan and, more recently, assistant pro Tim Sewter have been putting the beef - as well as chicken, shrimp and anything else that can be grilled - into the Beef and Greens.
"It started out as a pre-golf tailgate party in the parking lot," said Curry, "and the party has moved onto the golf course."
It's a little different now. Different like, say, the difference between the Wright brothers plane at Kitty Hawk and the space shuttle.
At the 2014 Beef and Greens, MacMillan had a vehicle with a flat bed upon which were bolted two grills. One of them was the iconic "Coors Light BBQ," made to look like a beer keg placed on its side and cut in half.
Inside each BBQ, a wok had been wired to the grill to keep it in place as MacMillan navigated Rideau View's fairways.
Coolers filled with ingredients rested on the flat bed along with a sound system which hinted at the potential of being able to make an AC/DC roadie flinch.
"A Wok In The Park," was the theme of this year's Beef and Greens.
Previous themes have included a Mexican thing with Corona banners on the cart.
"Every time we made a putt that year, we yelled, 'Ole'" said Curry.
No, that couldn't have gotten tired very quickly for the groups within earshot, could it?
We started the shotgun format on the 18th tee under a brilliantly sunny sky.
"We've played in every kind of weather you can think of," said Larocque, "but never so bad that we couldn't cook."
Boston's "More Than A Feeling," and that distinctive guitar riff was the soundtrack to Curry ripping a tee ball down the middle.
Sewter was nowhere to be seen.
We rumbled off down the fairway, MacMillan behind the wheel of the flatbed. It had barely come to rest when Larocque declared, "Time to eat."
MacMillan threw the hot grills open.
"Throw the chicken in whatever sauce Tom thinks goes well with it," said Curry.
The chicken, sauce and noodles hit the woks and started to sizzle.
It was ready to eat on the first tee when Sewter arrived with more goodies, including a bag of eggrolls from the Golden Palace.
Imagine, for a moment, the GP as your clubhouse.
That's the way the round pretty much unfolded from there. Hit a drive, have some chicken.
Knock in a putt, have a shrimp.
One of my favourite parts of the preparation was the memo distributed by Larocque in the days before the Wok In The Park, which assigned the responsibilities of the day to each member of the group.
One assigned to Sewter was "remind Seve to speak to Mark Sullivan about surrounding us with groups that are of like mind."
That didn't seem to be a problem. When MacMillan wasn't veering off towards a distant tee or green to deliver some beef ribs or ginger shrimp, other groups were sidling up to the flatbed to load up.
At the turn, there were close to a dozen carts and golfers attracted to the aromas coming off the grills like bugs to a porchlight.
The golf was great.
The food was outstanding.
The company was better than both combined.
Another nice touch by MacMillan: the flags on each hole celebrated a member of the men's Intersectional team.
"It's a bit of a sad day because it means we're close to the end of the golf season," said Larocque as he steered the cart towards the sixth green.
"But it's also one of the great days because of the friendship and the camaraderie."
The boys have already cooked up a plan for next year.