Having won five Grand Slams in his career, Manitoba’s Mike McEwen is someone usually associated with curling. But when the curling season isn’t on, McEwen enjoys another sport that requires tremendous skill and careful concentration — golf.
“I think it appeals to me the way curling does. Each round and every swing is broken down into equal parts of strategy, physical ability, and mental focus. Now if only I could do it as well as throwing a curling rock,” he says.
McEwen enjoys golfing in the Pinawa and Lac du Bonnet region, where he says he loves to bask in the wide open spaces and enjoy nature. “I love the area and the unique feel and challenge it brings to your golf courses. I’ve always been drawn to rock, water, and forest. I just love the feeling of the outdoors in that scenery.”
Wayne Ewasko agrees. He’s the MLA for Lac du Bonnet and has 34 years of golfing under his belt. “It’s really nice to get out and spend time with friends and enjoy nature, especially out our way. It’s nothing to see a few deer walking across the fairway,” Ewasko says.
Three great courses are situated in the Lac du Bonnet and Pinawa area.
As Lac du Bonnet’s only nine-hole course, Black Bear Golf Course is located just 10 minutes northeast of town along Lee River Road. A par 34 course at over 2,600 yards, Black Bear is a good choice for golfers who want to play a quick round and get some exercise at the same time — it can be easily traversed on foot. It runs along the picturesque Lee River.
Granite Hills Golf Club is located just 20 minutes from Lac du Bonnet. This 18-hole course is situated in the heart of the Canadian Shield and winds along the shores of Lake Lac du Bonnet. All holes boast four sets of tees ranging in yardage from the back, black tees at 7,082 yards to the forward, red tees at 5,428 yards. This championship-calibre golf course is challenging, but fair playing and will accommodate golfers of all skill levels.
Surrounded by a mature boreal forest, the 18-hole Pinawa Golf & Country Club stretches along the edges of the Winnipeg River and the Pinawa Channel, its fairways undulating over and around outcroppings of shield rock for 6,270 awesome yards. These natural environs and their wildlife inhabitants make the club one of the most scenic, exhilarating, and challenging courses in Manitoba. Located in the midst of pristine wilderness beauty, it’s become one of the province’s premier golf venues.
“In our region we have, within 35 minutes of each other, multiple great golf courses,” Ewasko says. “We have lots to offer. Somebody could basically make three or four days of coming out our way and camp or rent a hotel room and just golf, and not have to golf the same course twice.”
McEwen enjoys the wide open spaces which allow him to concentrate like he does on the curling rink. “It’s interesting bringing bits and pieces of curling discipline to golf, like some of the physical and mental training we do as a team,” he says.
Ewasko has played a lot of team sports, but likes how golf is “totally about the individual.”
“It’s addicting. You make that one nice shot like you see on TV and it makes you want to go back and try it again,” he says.
Mike McEwen’s Golf Tips
Mike McEwen offers the following three tips for the avid golfers out there.
Tip #1: Do not emulate any of Team McEwen’s golf swings, except for our 3rd man, B.J. Neufeld (he’s a golf pro).
Tip #2: A good golf shot can be very much like a great curling throw — pre-shot routine, settle the mind, and think process instead of outcome!
Tip #3: A good putter toss can make you feel better!