A Round at Western

Few today remember between 1924 and 1960 The University of Western Ontario shared its property with The London Hunt and Country Club, an 18-hole golf course that wended its way between the buildings and along both sides of the Thames River.

While it has been more than 50 years since Western heard a 7-iron whip up a mound of freshly cut grass, Western News wondered what it would be like if you were to golf the course today. Thanks to the help of Western Mustangs women’s golf team member Danielle Szela, you can wonder no more.

This summer, Western News reporter Paul Mayne joined the second-year Health Sciences student as she ‘played’ the 18 holes of the former London Hunt and Country Club.

Hole #1
340 yards

Par 4

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Teeing off just northwest of the former London Hunt and Country Club clubhouse – and west of the former pro shop – this par 4 takes Szela over top the current Westminster Hall, and across the Perth Drive entrance to campus, to the first-hole green near the corner of Windermere and Western roads. Back then, the hazards would have included trap shooters, horses and hounds.

Score: 4
Overall: Even

Hole #2
140 yards
Par 3

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Heading back towards University Hospital, this Par 3 is a short but wide-open 140-yards for Szela, who finds herself on the green (well asphalt) in one to putt for birdie. Thankfully, there were no emergencies on the go as Szela drained the six-foot putt.

Score: 2
Overall: -1
 

Hole #3
380 yards
Par 4

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Teeing off in the neighbourhood of University Hospital, this long Par 4 makes its way through the hospital corridors, over the Biotron, into the Chemistry building and down towards the North Campus Building. While likely not a hazard back in the day, Szela found herself amidst and few beakers and test tubes on her third shot. Watch that backswing.

Score: 5
Overall: Even

Hole #4
375 yards
Par 4

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The pedestrian crosswalk along Perth Drive – in front of the John Labatt Visual Building – proved to be challenging for Szela as she chipped toward the Staging Building with her third shot. Thankfully, the crosswalk signals were in order as this traffic-stopping shot put her on the green in four, where she putt for bogey.

Score: 5
Overall: +1

Hole #5
200 yards
Par 3

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Making its way back to the centre of campus, this par 3 has Szela hoping not to shank one into the greenhouses. Thanks to a soft touch, there was no need to call the window repairman. While she hit the green in two, a two-putt cost her par on this hole. Ouch.

Score: 4
Overall: +2

Hole #6
520 yards
Par 5

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With all the self-help books on golf checked out, Szela is hoping this astrophysics book will help launch this tee shot in orbit as she plays the 520-yard sixth hole, one of two 500+ yard holes on the course. This hole will take her over the Natural Sciences Building, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and behind the Seibens-Drake Centre. A lot of students and traffic to play around cost her as she double-bogeyed this hole.

Score: 7
Overall: +4

Hole #7
130 yards
Par 3

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Following two bogies and a double bogie, Szela looked to shake things up a bit by grabbing her 5-wood for the shortest hole on the course. Don’t laugh, it worked as she laid it up within a foot of the hole for an easy birdie. Things are back on track.

Score: 2
Overall: +3

Hole #8
390 yards
Par 4

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The ongoing construction of the new Richard Ivey School of Business along Western Road has changed the wind flow dramatically along the eighth hole, which can make for some interesting shots. Szela does a little double-checking of the wind (in front of The Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory, of course). And that extra care paid off as she parred the hole.

Score: 4
Overall: +3

Hole #9
360 yards
Par 4

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While it may have been a chilly reception on the ninth hole for Szela, she’s hoping the cool air won’t slow her ball down too much on this par 4. And it didn’t, as she was on in two and sank the six-foot putt for birdie. So Szela finishes the front nine in good shape, heading into the back nine at +2.

Score: 3
Overall +2

Hole #10
360 yards
Par 4

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While not Convocation time yet, the 10th hole tees off around the entrance to Alumni Hall. With a clear path ahead of her, Szela has a nice opening to spot the flag on this 360-yard hole. Good thing she had her student pass on hand as Szela needed a brief stop at the Western Student Recreation Centre for her fourth shot, a pitching wedge to the green, where she would one-putt for bogey.

Score: 5
Overall +3

Hole #11
320 yards
Par 4

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Beginning just outside the Western Student Recreation Centre, this 320-yard hole presents a wide-open fairway, on route to the tennis courts. Despite meeting a handful of soccer fanatics along the way – and making sure she’s hitting the right ball – Szela is easily on the green in two, dropping the short four-footer for birdie.

Score: 3
Overall +2

Hole #12
325 yards
Par 4

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Making her way across Lambton Drive, with an early dogleg left, Szela has a decision to make – a long putt from the outdoor hockey rink, or a shorter, more manageable putt from the smooth confines of the tennis courts. Szela chose the latter, sinking this four-foot putt for par.

Score: 4
Overall +2

Hole #13
330 yards
Par 4

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Szela’s game looked back on track as she teed off on the 13th hole, but an errant tee shot put her in a tough position – in this case the chemistry parking lot. But with the help of her caddy, Facilities Management communications officer Brandon Watson, Szela found the fairway again, allowing her to bogey the hole.

Score: 5
Thru 13: +4

Hole #14
365 yards
Par 4

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Teeing off just east of Robarts Research Institute, Szela had to be on top of her game – since she found herself on top of the University Hospital parking garage following her first shot. Unfortunately, the garage overhang sent her second errant and caused her to bogey the hole. Heading into the final four holes, Szela looks to creep closer to par.

Score: 5
Overall +5

Hole #15
160 yards
Par 3 

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Got to watch that backswing, and those distracting car horns, as you tee off from the corner of Windermere and Western roads. Szela grabbed her 7-iron for this short 160-yard hole overtop Windermere Hall – and that decision paid off big time. On in one, Szela easily converted the 5-footer for birdie.

Score: 2
Overall +4

Hole #16
495 yards
Par 5

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With a nice breeze at her back, and just a few trees to contend with, Szela’s tee shot from just north of Westminster Hall had eyes for the centre of the fairway and with the help of a healthy bounce, set her up for a potential birdie on this long hole. Two shots later, Szela found herself a simple chip shot from the green, where she landed in 4. Dropping a nice 13-foot putt, Szela held par.

Score: 5
Overall +4

Hole #17
320 yards
Par 4

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With the gurgling sounds of the Medway Creek behind her, Szela had a few tall trees to attempt to thread and luck was on her side as she sent her drive down the fairway. While not your normal manicured green, Szela received some solid advice from her caddy Brandon Watson of Facilities Management as they line up the putt on the baseball diamond. And Szela knocked it home for a birdie.

Score: 3
Overall +3

Hole #18
320 yards
Par 4

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Ironically, as she teed off on the last hole, the London Hunt and Country Club clubhouse that would have welcomed her back had been razed a couple years back, giving Szela a wide-open view of the 18th green. With her swing still going strong, Szela was able to grab her sand wedge to chip on to the green in two and wrapping up yet another birdie, finishing the course at 2 over (72).

Score: 3
Overall +2