Book One – 78mph

How much do you know about the golf course you are going to play, or have just finished playing? Did you check your handicap for this course before you started playing? Do you even know how to find your handicap for this course? Depending on where you live, you have either a factor or an index…do you know how these are calculated? Do you post your score to establish your factor or index? Do you know why slope and rating are important?

All these things should be important to you as a golfer.

Slope and rating at River Spirit

Checking my handicap at River Spirit Golf Course

Slope and Rating

At the crux of slope and rating is a brilliant idea that is an extension of the idea of handicap, which lets players of different levels compete against each other equally, with adjustments for skill. Slope and Rating takes this idea one step further, making each course equal for every player, adjusting their handicap for the ease or difficulty of a particular track.

The course’s Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers under normal conditions and weather conditions. The rating is expressed as a number of strokes.

The Slope is the evaluation of the relative difficulty of a course for players who are not scratch golfers compared to the difficulty of the course for scratch golfers. The lowest Slope rating is 55 and the highest is 155. A course of standard playing difficulty will have a Slope rating of 113.

River Spirit Golf Course - Rating and Slope for men and ladies for each sets of tees. As there are 27 holes the chart shows the combination of nines that make up the rotation for 18 hole play.

River Spirit Golf Course – Rating and Slope for men and ladies for each sets of tees. As there are 27 holes, the chart shows the combination of nines that make up the rotation for 18 hole play.

USGA and Golf Canada

Golf Canada is the governing body for golf in Canada and in the USA, the governing body is the USGA. The provincial organizations in Canada and the state organizations in the USA are responsible for determining the rating and slope for all the golf courses in their jurisdictions. In Canada this is called a “Handicap Factor” and in the USA, it is called a “Handicap Index”, but no matter what they’re called, the resulting calculations are identical. And that’s no coincidence because Golf Canada adopted the Course and Slope Rating System that was developed by the USGA.

Slope and rating at River Spirit

Slope and rating at River Spirit Golf Course


Every golf club that belongs to the state or provincial organization will have a Course Rating and Slope Rating for each set of tees on the course for both male and female players – and those ratings are usually displayed right on the card. Then for your handicap, the charts of Course Ratings and Slope Rating must be easily accessible to all players, and that is where you look up your factor / index to find your handicap for that particular course.

The Factor or Index issued by a golf club or authorized golf association (through its member clubs) indicates a player’s skill and is a number to one decimal place. e.g., 17.2 or 17.1  If I scored 90 at River Spirit playing Spirit/Millburn from the red tees the calculation for posting my score would be: 90-70.5 x 113/128 = 17.2.  If I scored 90 playing Cattails/Spirit the calculation would be: 90-71.1 x 113/125 = 17.1.  You can see the different ratings and slopes for the above courses.  Generally speaking the higher the slope the tougher the course.

A player posts scores along with the appropriate golf Canada or USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating to make up the scoring record. The Factor or Index is computed from no more than 20 scores plus any eligible tournament scores. It reflects the player’s potential as it is based upon the best scores posted for a given number of rounds. ideally the best 10 out of the last 20 rounds of golf.

Most clubs have computerized handicap systems for members to post their scores.  However you must take into consideration ESC as shown below before posting your score.  For me I have a maximum of 7 on any hole so if I scored 90 with an 8 on one hole I must take 1 off my score before posting.  I would post 89.

ESC stands for Equitable Stroke Control. It is the downward adjustment of individual hole scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicap factors or indexes more representative of a player’s potential ability. The ESC sets a maximum number that a player can post on any hole depending on the player’s Course Handicap. This is used only when a player’s actual or most likely score exceeds his maximum number.

Course Handicap Maximum Score
9 or less – Double Bogey
10-19 – Maximum 7
20-29 – Maximum 8
30-39 – Maximum 9
40 and over Maximum 10

Provincial and State associations conduct series of handicap seminars and new golfers should attend one of these seminars so they can understand what their handicap is all about.

Both Golf Canada and the USGA rate new courses after they first open, and again within five years. Established courses are rated every ten years, or if major changes have been made to the course, like making modifications to a hole, lengthening the course, adding hazzards.

When I get to a golf course, one of the first things I do after checking in at the Pro Shop is go and check my handicap. You can usually find these hanging on bulletin boards in an obvious place, but if you can’t find it, ask for help from the Pro Shop.



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Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks – Carving the Turkey at Ruth’s daughter’s house last night

First of all, I must thank all of you who have read my blog and given me encouragement to keep writing.  I certainly didn’t start out as a writer….A few years ago, my sister Georgie gave me several letters that I had written to her when I was between seven and nine years old.  What spelling!  What grammar!  I can tell you, they were not very good, but I’m going to publish them  in “My Life Story” which I’m working on. FYI.

Secondly, I am so thankful to be healthy. There a couple of minor parts of my body that are giving in to time, but for the most part, I am not complaining and my daughter Colleen thinks I talk far less occasionally about my ailments than I did before I started writing this blog. As documented on my road trip with Ruth to Whitefish, MT, the two of us had no problem golfing five days in a row.  I do believe in doing, not sitting, although sitting is for writing!

I was so lucky to inherit good genes. There has been cancer (and what family hasn’t been spared from that?) and Parkinson’s disease in my family, but we have no history of diabetes, heart disease or other lifetime affecting problems. Knock on wood.

I am also extremely thankful to have four of the best kids a Mom could ask for!  Kind, considerate, loving, helpful, responsible all.  Although my husband, Doc, was gone when our youngest was 14, he was so instrumental in them all growing up to be really good people.  I have been lucky to have grandchildren who are generous with hugs and always saying, “I love you Grammo”.

Even though it was necessary for our livelihood that I worked outside the home all my married years, I am thankful that I did!  I always needed a challenge. And even if Doc was not physically capable of many things, he knew how it should be done and if we listened to him, we could accomplish many tasks.  I wasn’t always that smart.

Thankful for friends is an understatement for me.  I truly love my friends and some of my best friends are from almost 60 years ago, and there are some I have recently met.  Kids and grandkids live busy lives and certainly don’t want to go golfing at eight in the morning like my friends do! A big thank you goes out to Bob and Anne and family for a friendship that has lasted all these years. Their hospitality is second to none and I will be enjoying brunch at their home today. Congratulations go out to Bob and Anne as it is their 35th wedding anniversary!

Giving Thanks

Prize winning table setting

Lastly, I give thanks to Ruth’s daughter, Anna, for inviting me for Thanksgiving dinner last evening.  I lost count of the number of people there as some grandchildren came and went because they were playing in a hockey tournament.  I am sure there were at least 20.  I love it when there is a “new recipe” on the menu.  Everything was delicious.

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I’m sending this again, loyal followers, because I’ve looked in my albums while watching this Toronto/Texas Game go on and on and on, and I think you’ll like what you see.

Here I am along with a huge crowd of Canadians cheering on the Toronto Blue Jays in their quest for a Stanley Cup World Series Championship (whoops, I nearly made a major faux-pas there…you know, us Canadians are so hockey-centric!) Not only is there a Championship Ring as a reward to the victorious players, but most certainly a $$$ bonus for the winners.


I know that many of you have jumped on the Blue Jays’ bandwagon, and the truth is, that’s no surprise, as the Blue Jays are the only Major League Baseball team in the whole country of Canada. That is more than enough reason to be cheering for the team and I’m one of their fair weather cheerleaders.

HOWEVER I am and always have been a Dodger supporter.  I even have a jersey!  As far back as I can remember everyone in my entire family was fans of the National League.  Many of my siblings cheered for the St. Louis Cardinals but I, as a youngster, was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Dodgers fan

Maureen O’Shea “I’ll always be a Dodgers fan”

Back in 1895, the name of the team was the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers.  The “Dodger” name came about when the city of Brooklyn trolley system became electrified and the pedestrians had to “dodge” the fast moving trolleys to get across the streets! This had not been a problem with the horse drawn trolleys.  There were several baseball teams named “Dodger”. When the team moved to Los Angeles, it took on the name of that city and became officially known as the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I have to admit it is going to be the Dodgers I will be cheering for if they are in the finals for the World Series against the Blue Jays.  Till then, I will cheer on the Blue Jays in their quest for the finals of the American League series.  But I will be cheering for my Dodgers to make the finals in the National League series as well.

Don Drysdale

Don Drysdale’s Whaler’s Pub

Don Drysdale's Whaler's Pub

Don Drysdale’s Whaler’s Pub menu

In 1980, my husband Doc and I had lunch at Don Drysdale’s Whaler’s Pub on the waterfront at Lahina, Maui, Hawaii. Drysdale had been a pitcher for both Brooklyn and LA, and after his professional playing career was over, he became a commentator. When he was just 56, he was found dead from a heart attack in a hotel room in Montreal, where he’d been scheduled to commentate on a game between the Montreal Expos and the Dodgers. In his personal effects was a cassette tape of a 1968 speech that Robert Kennedy had given just before he was assassinated in which he commented that Don Drysdale had pitched his sixth straight shutout that evening. He took that tape with hi everywhere he went.

Doc O'Shea and Johnny Weisshaar

Doc O’Shea and Johnny Weisshaar telling stories in Hawaii

Although that pub no longer exists, I remember it well: there was a wall of memorabilia of his Dodger years at his pub and it was a lot of fun to see it all!

Maureen O'Shea in Hawaii, 1980

I love wearing hats. Hawaii, 1980

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I was awake early.  Well, that’s no surprise as me and most of my siblings were early morning risers.  My first phone call was from Colleen with Birthday wishes.  I had just read the blog post she had written about me turning 81.  What a beautiful tribute to her Mom. I was humbled and thrilled at the same time.  Thank you so much, Colleen!

I poured myself a coffee, got dressed and got ready to go. I loaded my car with my golf gear, and headed down to Bridget’s.


We transferred my stuff to her car and took some pictures.  By this time the sun was up and the temperature was rising from a daybreak +8C.  After dropping off Lily at school we headed for A Ladybug & Expresso Bar for breakfast.  Now this is a really cool European style café. Lily explained to me when were were in the car (who’s been to Europe as well as to A Ladybug), said, “It’s just like Europe, except there’s no smoke!”  The menu covers the wall behind the food showcases. It was not long before Bridget and I had made our choice.  Eggs Benedict for Bridget and Raspberry/Strawberry Crepes for me.

Ladybug Bakery and Espresso Bar

Strawberry/Raspberry Crepes

Our table number was “6” and Bridget said they got it wrong because Mom, “you are a ten”.

Bridget and our table

Bridget says I am a ten not a six! At A Ladybug Bakery and Espresso Bar.

Our food came…along with all the members of the staff singing Happy Birthday and my crepes were topped with a lit sparkler. What a tasty breakfast for both of us!


When we left the café, we knew we were in for a perfect day — warm, shorts-wearing weather.  We arrived at Redwoods Meadows about 20 minutes later, and soon we were warming up at the range.  We joined the two gentlemen who would be playing with us at the first tee and soon we were down the first fairway.

Redwood Meadows

Maureen and Bridget O’Shea, Waiting to tee off at Redwood Meadows.

It had rained the night before and the ball was skittering through the water in the grass for the first few holes. The greens were in terrific condition and were quite fast. There were no easy pin placements  and quite often the ball would turn away from the hole in the last few inches.

Redwood Meadows

One of the par 3s at Redwood Meadows

The course is quite long at 5791 yards from the forward tees. Some of the par 4s were too long, in that I could not get on the green in two shots. The holes with distances of 354, 358, 368, 369 and 384 yards were difficult, with hazards in front of many of these lies. The par 3s seemed to play long, although only one was over 150 yards and it was 162 yards. Of course, it was over water to the green on all the par 3s.

Maureen and Bridget at Redwood Meadows

Maureen and Bridget selfie – at Redwood Meadows

All in all, Redwood Meadows is a great golf course ,with wide fairways (although bunkers were in the range of our drives) but at this time of the year the fairways are getting harder as the grass-growing season is pretty well over!  The greens and large with sneaky undulations.


Ruth picked me up just after 6:00 p.m. And we headed out to the…Redwater Rustic Grille in the Aspen Woods subdivision of Calgary. And if you can believe it, I forgot my iPad…so I don’t have any pictures but to show you but I will make it up with one of my all-time favourites of her and I that was taken in Lake Louise…

picture of Ruth and Maureen

Ruth and Maureen at Lake Louise

I had Roasted Chicken and it was moist and delicious. Ruth had Scallops and Shrimp. Both meals were tasty.  We came back to my place and had a coffee.

I had a most wonderful birthday.  Thanks to all who made this happen.

I think I will just hang around till I’m at least 82.

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