Larry Canning: Getting to the heart of loving golf!

Golf Pro and commentator Larry Canning ruminates on the perils, pitfalls and ultimate joy of the game we all love.



Eventual winner Su Oh tees off at Royal Queensland during the joint 2022 Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and inaugural Fortinet Australian WPGA Championship. Photo: Golf Australia

I’m watching the Australian PGA on Fox and realizing just how much the camera’s flatten out the humps and bumps.

At the risk of going down the old – “its all about me path”, I was quickly reminded of two of my weirdest golfing experiences at Royal Queensland.

Commentator, Warren Smith was talking about the history of Royal Queensland Golf Club and mentioned the last time the PGA was played at one of Australia’s most revered tracks was 2001 – and I was there. No, not writing or talking about it, actually playing!

It was the last big tournament I played and as it turned out, for good reason. I know, in golfing terms, 43 isn’t that old but back then after what I had forced my body to endure for 25 of those years, it felt like I was just months short of a walking frame. I accidentally pre-qualified at Gailes Golf Club in a playoff after some poor nervous kid flubbed his third shot into the pond on the 1st.

It was only a few weeks earlier when I was telling a mate how I had lost the love for golf. When you’re a Club Professional running your own business, you really don’t get a break from the game. It doesn’t help that your being told by some out of touch committeemen who have no idea what you do, that you don’t know what you’re doing. Not all of the members I worked with were wankers. But it only takes one or two to frustrate the living.

Anyway, my mate talked me into taking my 43/83 year old body to Queensland and have a crack. After stumbling over the line in qualifying on Monday, I realized my game was a long dogleg par five off competing against some of the best in the country so Tuesday morning I was first on the practice fairway trying to squeeze 5 years of practice into 8 hours.

I was being looked after by Maxfli so I had a brand new tour bag and two dozen Maxfli Revolution balls and 6 new caps waiting for me at the Pro-Shop. I looked like the real deal!!

About two hours in, I felt a twinge in the chest. Shit, I thought. I knew I’d be a little nervous but a heart attack!!! I looked up to see who was watching and spotted a young bloke walking towards me with a concerned look on his face. ‘You know what you need mate?” he said. Before I can say “Defibrillator” he says “A new Taylor Made 360 driver”. This bloke had literally hundreds of brand new TaylorMade woods to give to any competitors to help get the players using their gear numbers up.

Before I knew it I had a new driver and 3 wood and a sparkling new Odyssey Putter courtesy of another bloke from Callaway sitting in my brand new 10 inch Tour Staff golf bag. Oh yes, and a new cap.

I had no choice readers! Coronary Occlusion or not, it was on!

I must have hit 2000 range balls that day with the majority being drivers and three woods, then went out for 18 holes.

Wednesday, I was a little sore but again it wasn’t going to stop me. For the sake of my new sponsors – TaylorMade, Odessey and Maxfli.

Thursday I was off early and still with something wrong with my ribs but forge on I did, to a stoic and courageous 82.

There was something not right with my ribs, and now my self-respect, so after I signed my scorecard chose to go straight to the pub and medicate.

Friday morning and reality had hit and I figured I’d better go to the PGA Physio to get some treatment. While I’m lying on the couch, I looked up to see Australian Open Champion Greg Chalmers sharing his stretcher next to me with a pretty aggressive chiropractor. The Chiro had Greg’s left leg and right shoulder across his chest and told his patient to breathe in. Then went RIP! The Chiro grunted loudly and Greg farted louder! I laughed even louder! Until my chest hurt.

By the time my physio arrived I was doubled up like I was having contractions. After a push and a prod he said “Ahaa! you have a torn Maximus Decimus Meridius and you shouldn’t play, it could shorten your career”.

Sure, when I got home, I had a tough time convincing my mate I had no choice but to pull out because of a severe career ending injury, not because I shot 82. However my love for the game had returned with all the beautiful new gear I had… and it was all free!

The career-threatening 12th green at Royal Queensland

I have run out of words on this page to tell you the story of last time I played Royal Queensland in a Seniors Pro-Am after Mike Clayton had re-designed it. Let’s just say it involved a misjudged wedge to the front of a green, a badly misread putt finishing up in a bunker, a thinned trap shot which hit the wooden retaining wall, bounced back and hit me in the groin, resulting in a green hit in regulation, a score of 9 and another nasty career ending injury. I’m sure Mike Clayton thought his design of that green was totally safe but… Sorry my lawyer has told me I can’t say anymore at this point.




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