(As a note, I will not write the names of those that participated to protect their privacy. You may recognize some of them but for the privacy of the rest, it is up to them)

On the 20th of May I received an email from Soldier On. Here is how it read:

Good day/Bonjour. After receiving so much interest for our National Golf Camp, and unfortunately not being able to select some people, we've decided to push ahead and create another fantastic golf experience!

Therefore, as a non-selected to the National Golf Camp, it's our pleasure to extend to you an invite to participate in our second annual golf camp.

Having applied to go to the National Camp and not being selected, I was disappointed, but felt that there is always "next year". But this (I thought) was a once a year opportunity and each year of not being selected means I get one year older... But "what is Soldier On" you may be wondering.

Soldier On is a Canadian Armed Forces program that supports currently serving members and veterans to overcome their physical or mental health illness or injury through physical activity and sport. The program is a highly visible and integral component of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces’ commitment and priority towards providing a comprehensive approach to care for ill and injured members. Read more about Soldier On click here

The Second Annual Golf Camp would be held "between 10-14 Sep at the renowned and exclusive Fox Harb'r resort in Nova Scotia."

(As a note, I asked if I could bring my wife with me as she is my rock, my support and has gone through many of the problems and surgeries that have really been what has allowed me to be eligible for this program. I was denied as it will all be double occupancy. I asked again if I could pay for her and bring her along, and again I was denied. As strong and supportive as my wife is, she encouraged me to go alone and take advantage of the program and the interaction with other veterans such as myself. Thank you to my lovely wife for supporting me)

First question you are wondering is where is this place located in NS.

Second question would be what is this place, Fox Harb'r Resort...I know I asked the same two questions. Here is a view of their home page

This was written at the bottom of the webpage...

Well, as you can imagine, that is all the information that I have at the moment. The Enchanting Escape mentions that "It's quite possible that you won't want to leave"...At this point, I am just really anxious to get there...

The Front gate (Taken from Wikipedia)

The 1,100-acre (450-hectare) property is owned by Canadian businessman Ron Joyce (co-founder of Tim Horton's) and opened in 2000. The course has a par of 72; the course record was set by Tiger Woods in 2009 (he shot a 63).

Here is a snip of the green fees from their website. Obviously I would never be able to afford such prices-and to be there from 10 to 14 Sep...this is what one would call an opportunity that comes along few times in ones life.

Here is a snippet of the room rates. As it stipulates at the bottom, the price is for a one night stay. Way out of my bracket but I look forward to seeing what hides in the Northumberland Straits.

Now, we just wait for the travel instructions to be sent out. At this point I do not know any travel arrangements BUT, whatever it is, it will be an all expenses paid and supported by the Soldier On program. Obviously, more to follow.Seems there will be a bit of rain BUT, I look forward to it...Not going to rain on my parade.

Overview before going into detail:

Thought Soldier On (SO) puts on mnany camps thoughtout the year, from adventure to golf to support people individually, this has to stand out in the annals of what they have done and what they do. We had (from what I have heard) a smaller group (given the cost per head to support for this event) we arrived 12 warm bodies each of us greating the other with the normal hand shake and introduction. After a few days we were high-fiving, laughing and ensuring everyone was included and not left out (unless they specifically requested it (ie due to fatigue or pulled muscles). The experienced golfers were quick to assist others and encouragement was and is second nature to all leaders regardless of rank. Rank was left at the door but our traning and mentoring was ever present.

Would I go back for a second round of group therapy/healing? Absolutely, but realistically, I know that there are others out there who would truly benefit from such a rewarding experience. Thank you Soldier On for helping me forget my personal trials and tribulations and decreasing my stress levels (which I now realize were elevated) to a more manageable level.

10 Sep

My plane departs at 1010 hrs. My lovely wife and support is there to send me off.

Boarding call-first time my wife doesn't travel with me since I left the military...even there on 75% of my trips abroad (and to the USA) she was with me, supporting me and being a great friend.

As many have said... "I will be back"

Moncton---There was a mini van waiting for us

I learned how to do selfies so here is one with me, waiting for the group

The road to Fox Harb'r

I would get familiar with this first tee where the rock and red flowers are located. The practice facility is located more to the left.

Overall impressions on the first day, just arriving, it looked like a great facility. Our rooms were double occupancy but I ended up alone.

From the balcony of my condo room 305, condo building 3, I saw the 10th hole.

Building 3 from the 10th hole. My room was second floor in the middle.

As you can see, there are many condo buildings along the golf course.

As you guessed, all coffee in the rooms provided is by Tim Horton's

We had a meeting that night (the first day) there at the SPA at 1800 hrs. We met with Kevin Toth President of Golf Operations and a few other professionals. We noticed that there was a plane on the runway and asked about it. They told us that Ron Joyce was on the grounds. I personally did not have the opportunity to meet with him. When I later talked with the head pro, he told me that there were 175 people in Fox Harb'r that made everything run smooth and that went from the cleaning staff, garbage pickup to kitchen staff to golf attendants-and oh ya, a quasi air traffic controller who doubles as a mini van driver and minor aircraft caretaker.

From left to right on the photo it was PO1 Joe Kiraly, Mike Feyko (PGA Teaching Pro and retired military), Kevin Toth president, Fox Harb'r Golf Resort & Spa, Elliott Isenor, Head Golf Professional/Director of Golf Operations (Not in the picture was Mike Clarke (Associate Golf Professional) and Devin DeBay (Associate Golf Professional)).

After the meeting I went to see what else was housed in this building

I learned that Supper was usually a variety of this menu

One evening we were provided with a dessert-don't ask, I can't remember what it was called.

After supper, we had a surprise meeting with Marc Messier. I was told that he frequently flies in and has a round of golf. I took a selfie and then as everyone approached, Mr Messier suggested a group picture.

Fox Harb'r is listed as the 12th top course in Canada.

The club house

11 Sep

Traditional breakfast but the choices were great. I ended up having this the first day and porridge the remaining time I was there.

We started by showing our support for "Soldier On" The pro with us was Devin with the Nike hat (Nike supported Fox Harb'r with everything from clothes to clubs-wonder which company will take over now?)

The first day we had access to the indoor practice facility where they measured your swing and gave you some tips.

 

In two groups, while one was inside on the computer analysis, the other group went with Mike (Golf Pro in whitish jacket) and we went over chipping techniques-those who know me know that I need a lot of work in this area.

We were also provided with a box lunch-nothing like the military. Also by having everything on the resort, those who needed to go to their Condos for whatever purpose, had the hour and a half to do so. Well situated resort.

After 3 hours of instructions and a hardy lunch, we were let loose on the 18 hole course (the second and third day, those of us who preferred went to the executive par 3 course). Each hole is presented with a plaque in a well manicured setting. The wind did not disappoint us for 3 days...why do I say that? Well, it was windy and when in doubt, blame the wind.

Par 3 Course

During the course of the round, we also encountered some nice buildings...homes. One of which is where Ron Joyce hangs his hat. The marina is right beside his home.

As you can see, there is the Northumberland Strait running along side the resort. I am standing on the idyllic tee box of the 16th hole. As you look at my close-up shot the hole seems friendly (can't see) and then you zoom back and see the sliver of land over rock and through the wind).

On hole #16, it is where they placed a plaque where Tiger Woods hit his drive. Needless to say, we all tried to best him...even from advanced tees ;) The picture on the right with nothing but rock and water to the left, is the 16th tee block.

A look at another group behind us

12 Sep

I forget the pro's name that came in for this teaching event. It was a friend of Mike's if I remember the introduction. As all the others, he was helpful. His insights were remembered. Well, until my memory cells were overloaded with hints.

13 Sep

Elliot was the golf pro with us on one of the days (may not be the 13th, forgetting already) and I even see Mike paying attention ;)

Ah yes, we are back to learning to chip, up hills and down hill lies.

Then we play as if there is no tomorrow....and in this case, there is "no tomorrow" we depart this Shangri La

Two companions where we played as a threesome for two days. Why were we only 3? Well, that is a story for another day ;)

We were lucky enough to have some of the local pros join us for 4 holes. Devin could hit it out there and in this case, he was aiming over the bridge to the green...did he make it? What happens in Fox Harb'r stays in Fox Harb'r.

Elliot on the left and Mike on the right. When these two joined us, I had mentioned that we would be morphing from a 3some to a 5some and "they" make not like that ! Mike just looked at me (all serious) and asked "Now who would "they" be"? I just laughed.

My swing looks so weak compared to the pros!! The result was good...but I see how it could have been better. My ball ended up...(What happens in Fox Harb'r stays in Fox Harb'r)

You never know what you'll see when teeing off

We were able to get a group picture with the soldier On flag flying over Fox Harb'r

The day is nearly done. The pro shop, where you don't need to be a pro to go in. Great buys and lots of things all golfers want. Joe on the left, Elliot behind the counter and Mike on the right.

14 Sep

Sitting in the main reading room waiting for the "go". Do I look sad?

Transport departs Fox Harb'r

Leaving Moncton Airport

Over the land...somewhere

Leaving Toronto in the BIG plane. We all had a window seat and an aisle seat.

I see Sharon to the left of the window

Supper at Montana's. Enjoying the company of my lovely wife.

RIBS!@!!

Oh ya, I picked up a ball marker and a towel. Never seen a ball marker with just one prong at the end.

Thank you Soldier On

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