WASAGAMING – The latest golf technology won’t be enough to dethrone the king of the Tamarack golf tournament.
Not for a while, anyway.
Eighteen years after his seventh Tamarack title, Bruce North is back on the Clear Lake Golf Course. At 65, he’s still strolling the rolling fairways of Riding Mountain National Park with the same ruthless devotion and iconic moccasins.
He has been known to prepare to tee off, then step out of them and get back up to check his alignment before backing off and snapping a drive down the middle of the fairway.
North calls them slippers and isn’t sure why most golfers wear these high-tech spiked shoes.
“I always play in slippers. It’s ten times more comfortable. I don’t know how these guys play in golf shoes, I hate them,” North said with a chuckle. “I played in golf shoes (Sunday) and when it started raining on the 13th I was 2 under, put the golf shoes on… went double bogey, bogeyed the next, bogeyed the next I don’t play in the rain unless it is “It’s kind of a competition that I have to go to.”
North last played at the Tamarack in 2004, desperate to defend every title he wins. While he says he’s about to quit competitive sport, that self-imposed rule has pulled him back into the scene. After six years without tournaments, he returned to play the 2018 Provincial Senior Championship in his hometown of Carman Golf and Curling Club. He won.
Then it returned to Carman in 2020 and he did it again. During this event, four-time Tamarack champion and old friend Jack McDiarmid convinced him to return for another run for the men’s title.
“I’ve always had fond memories, I love the course, the whole experience is always so much fun and I just had the opportunity to do it at that point,” said North.
THOMAS FRIESEN / THE BRANDON SUN
Bruce North, 65, shot his way into the men’s championship flight of the Tamarack golf tournament on Saturday at Clear Lake Golf Course with a 2-over 74. North holds Tamarack’s record for men with seven titles.
North and McDiarmid played the qualifying rounds together on Saturday and Sunday, along with Brent Young, who saw the duo in a Tamarack final about 40 years ago.
“It was in the late ’70s, early’ 80s, just back and forth in a Tamarack final, they had a great game. They are old friends and it was great to see,” said Young.
“(Norths) is a competitor, he goes out and plays and has all the shots. He’s great on the green and he’s a good putter. The man is just fun to play with and he loves it.”
North shot a 2-over 74 on Saturday, good to join a seven-way tie for 12th place or the last five championship aerodromes.
Since the Sunday lap was washed out due to excess water on the track, only the Saturday lap counted.
North made the top 16 and has a chance to win it all. Absolutely anything can happen with his style of play.
“I think ‘stupid’ would come in there,” chuckled North at his style of play. “My course management, you won’t find it in any textbook, but I like to play aggressively. I just play better golf when I play aggressively. I have a better feel for the game when I play afterwards” When I start playing carefully “It’s creeping into other aspects of my game, so I like to hammer it off the tee and try to get it down the hole asap.”
He could have competed with the men of men – formerly masters of men – which would have him compete against a talented field of boys aged 50 and over. But he just says it’s more fun.
“I was sure I was going to get killed, but if I can get into the championship flight, you never know how to play so I thought it would be fun,” said North. “As soon as I get humiliated this year, I’ll go back to where I belong.”