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Pair for the course

Golf series hits the road and links

You dont need to be a scratch golfer to enjoy the new golf travel show Highways To Fairways, which debuts Sept. 17 on Chek TV. In fact, its probably better if youre a duffer like Ontario pals Charlie and Wayde.

Charlie Teljeur and Wayde Greer hack their way around the course, spending equal time in the rough and in the water as they do on the fairway.

But its not about the golf, its about the unique courses the guys visit, and the journey that takes them there. As the camera rolls, the pair covers almost 12,000 miles in 60 days, touring quirky courses in Canada and the U.S. and facing homesickness, RV trouble and some very questionable golf along the way.

Their mandate: play courses that are public, affordable, and with unique qualities viewers will enjoy.

We think theres way too much starch in golf, says Charlie. We appreciate what the high-end courses do, but there are lots of people out there who dont spend $10,000 on golf clubs.

Wayde agrees, noting that 90 per cent of golfers cant break 90 on the course, and 70 per cent cant break 100. We are the public player, he says.

That means, for example, that the guys skip the tony Wyndham championship course and instead head to Brevard, North Carolina, where llamas were their caddies. They golf on the grounds of a maximum-security prison, and from inside the oval at the Indianapolis 500. They chat to actor Morgan Freeman in his Ground Zero Blues Club, in Clarksdale Mississippi.

The guys met on the ice playing hockey, which might account for Charlies Happy Gilmore-style of driving the ball. (Both men are lefties.) Personal crises were the genesis of the show. Both Charlie and Wayde found themselves divorced, and at the same crossroads at the same time. Charlie took off on a road trip to Austin for 28 days, and was anxious to find a reason to do it again. After a couple of drinks in my basement, we came up with this idea for the show, said Wayde.

After pitching the idea, Haliburton County, where the two are from, offered $250,000 in funding for the shows pilot. The guys say they basically had a week to get together a budget plan, and within a month of that basement meeting they were on the road.

Its not like a network came to us, we mortgaged our entire future to do it, says Wayde, a single dad with a nine-year-old daughter. We created a series based on an idea, not a paycheque.

The credit their hometown of Haliburton, Ont., for making it happen. Haliburton is a small town that has struggled financially but we just went to them with an idea, and they believed in us, says Wayde. Locals held an event for the project, and raised enough money to gas up the very thirsty RV.

When I get ready to ask a key question, Wayde jumps in: Are we getting married? We get that a lot, he laughs.

One episode zooms in as the cameraman tears into a glazed donut burger: Did they gain weight on the road? We ate out almost all the time, acknowledges Charlie, mostly at greasy spoons and truck stops.

And the most obvious question gets the quickest response: No, our golf game did not improve!

The shows pilot features a course in B.C.s Okanagan, and the guys plan to head west again for season two.

What you see is what you get, with Wayde and Charlie. None of this is scripted, unlike reality TV. We dont doctor shots or set up scenes, says Charlie. That means things sometimes get a little sophomoric on the bus (Wayde sticking Corn Nuts in a sleeping Charlies mouth) and on the fairway, where a lot of words have to be bleeped out. Theres no faking who we are and how we play golf, says Wayde. We just cant walk around the course saying Oh my gosh!

A prolonged golf getaway seems like every mans dream, but two months on the road can test even the best friendships. Still, the guys are eager to do it again. The goal is to do this every year until we get sick of doing it, says Wayde. Charlie agrees: The shows about friendship, golf and the adventure of life theres way too much that happens on the road, and lifes in front of you, so go for it.

Just dont expect any tips!

Highways To Fairways debuts locally on Chek TV at 7 p.m. Saturdays, and plays on TVtropolis and Fox Sports World Canada networks.