It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and during this season our thoughts turn thankfully to the clients who have made our year memorable. We again survived many challenges and as always appreciate your support and understanding. It is in the spirit of Christmas that we say thank you and best wishes for the holidays.
Posts Written by Dianne Hutton
Could have been the company, might have been the wine
No matter the cause we were all feeling fine
No more isolation, we can mingle again
We loved doing that and the group felt the same
Great golf and fabulous weather
So very good to be all together
Wasn’t that a party?
Arriving at Kokanee Springs we were thrilled to see familiar faces unpacking their vehicles and mulling around seeing old friends and hugging again, it had been far too long. Kokanee offered us great accommodation, great golf and a very warm welcome. We all gathered for a meet and greet at Wood’s Pumphouse and Grill and had a lovely surprise, Grand Marnier for all, on the house, they so appreciated having our group there and we very much enjoyed our stay. A do over for sure. The ferry from Crawford Bay to Balfour was very scenic, a little bit smoky from the fires but still very lovely. Arriving in Nelson we were happy to see the smoke dissipate and excited to be playing the following day. We checked into the Hume Hotel & Spa what a great place for sure and a few surprises as well. The hotel was constructed in 1898 and has been totally renovated, retaining many of the hidden treasures that were discovered during the renovation. When you walk through the doors you will feel the character and warmth of the hotel. The staff were very friendly and attentive and we all enjoyed the great hot breakfast that was included with our stay. Think Eggs Benny and a menu with the choice of four awesome breakfast meals, served hot, not buffet style, what a treat. The rooms were spacious and unique in design. Folklore has it that the Hume still retained the energy from people who have stayed there in the past and is inhabited by “caretaker ghosts”, there has been reports of guests seeing and hearing things, including a couple of our group…………….could have been the martinis, could have been the wine LOL.
Balfour golf course was one of the favorites we think, it wasn’t easy to say the least, a shot makers golf course, especially the back nine. We encountered lots of raised tees and greens and many elevation changes, sometimes we were reminded of the Kusadasi Golf Course that we played in Turkey. It was a fun course to play regardless of the score. Our next round at Granite Pointe was also very challenging. The course is under new management and I am sure that there will be many future improvements. The conditions were on the dry side but the greens were fair, good job because we played the Sock Game, so much fun. We raised $65.00 which Golfaround will match and donate to Enviros “a Calgary-based social services agency that delivers programming to: children and teens who require intensive short- and long-term live-in programs, young adults in need of wilderness addiction treatment, Albertans of all ages diagnosed with FASD, young adults transitioning out of “the system”, and the families and caregivers of all of these individuals.” There are some goofy holes where you need your mountain climbing gear but it was fun, and dangerous at the same time. The dry conditions added to the challenge of approaching the green off wildly kicking mounds, not always a fun shot. Nelson was a great destination, there were so many awesome restaurants and patios within walking distance offering all kinds of ethnic fare as well as a great menu at the Hume on their newly made patio which we made good use of for sure.
Rossland was our next spot, a tad smaller than Nelson, however our stay at the Prestige Mountain Resort was very enjoyable and the staff were accommodating making sure we were all looked after. We did not have the abundance of eating choices but Gabriella’s at the Prestige was great, awesome food, large portions and friendly staff. The prestige did not have a common meeting area but that did not stop us from gathering in Mel & Gord’s room tasting replacements for our depleted Birdie juice, Gord got way too many Birdies. How about Sheep Dog Peanut Butter wiskey or Revel Stoke toasted pecan whiskey……yummy.
Redstone Resort was the first game we played in this leg. Jeff and the staff were excellent, happy and friendly! The course was
beautiful and challenging with amazing views. Lots of elevations, what else would you expect in the middle of the Kootenays? The mountain surroundings combined with the towering trees provided a secluded feel and the rugged terrain covered with chutes, streams and ravines guaranteed a unique landscape on every hole. The greens appeared large but some of the subtle rolls made for careful maneuvering. When we talked to Jeff, previously, he bet us that we would, for sure, see more than one little black bear. We saw one on Hole #15 and he wasn’t that small and much too close for our comfort. The next day we hit the road to go to Christina Lake Golf Club. The road is very high and there were a few times that visibility was obscured by clouds, thank goodness that did not last for too long. The views were outstanding and after a short drive we arrived at the golf course. While we were waiting to tee off we saw someone coming towards us and OMG none other than Lynn Stolarchuk, who was the coordinator in Edmonton a few years back, what a great surprise, they were on their way home. We started our play at Christina with more than one not so good shot and thought it must be because it is too flat LOL. As the game progressed the play improved and it was a nice respite from our mountain treks. The course was in great shape, we saw lots of deer and the staff were friendly and helpful. The pro shop was well stocked and had some great sales. Last but certainly in high contention for a top spot on our list was Castlegar Golf Club. The course is long with lots of steep hills but a really nice mix mountainous and parkland. It is designed to challenge but we encountered many interesting shots and scenic views during our game. The players assistants were great and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. The restaurant offered great food and the staff was friendly. There is a sign that says that bears have the right of way and believe me we certainly did give the cinnamon bear on hole #9 the right of way. In addition on our way, getting out of Rossland, we saw yet another bear crossing the road. All in all Castlegar was one of our favorites and a hidden gem for sure.
Looking back we had so much fun, sometimes a little too much fun and this is a trip that we would not hesitate to do again, it was great golf at affordable prices, fabulous accommodation and friendly folk, what more could you ask for?
There was a great turnout for the last game for the Beginner League at Crystal Ridge Golf Course, so a scramble was planned to end the season with some fun. It was a beautiful night and we saw so many deer, Mom and Dad and their fawns, it was great, the starter informed us that they had had many does, fawns and also a couple of bucks that we did not see. Half way through our round we heard much whooping and hollering and thought someone must have got a birdie or something, but guess what they were having the time of their lives riding in the cart enjoying the roller coaster ride, with their hands in the air. Throughout the rounds there were many “member rebates” where the ball entered the sand, jumped out, hit a rock and ended up on the fairway, how sweet is that? then there was Kerry’s chip-in for a birdie, so exciting, their team name was Crazy Birds. The scores were all very close and I think some of the team players may not be Beginners, they are playing a very good game for sure. The winning teem BKMN came in with a 38 and the Chicks were close behind at 39. The restaurant staff were good enough to stay open for us so we were able to indulge in some beverages and great food following our round. It was a great way to end a great season. We did try to have a Golfaround Wind-up but unfortunately we were unable to nail down a venue to do it this season, next year we will be able to plan this earlier and have a better result.
As we come to the end of our 2021 season we hope we have come to the end of the disruptions we have faced for the past two years. We have survived business and school closures, stay-at-home orders, face masks curfews, social distancing, and remote work. We were very grateful for the support from the golf courses it allowed us some sense of normalcy and helped us keep our sanity. Now we can look forward to 2022 with excitement as we plan to get back to a more normal environment. Some of the golf courses have already replaced the rakes back in the bunkers, I was just getting used to not having to rake my tracks, darn. I will also miss the different touchless ball retriever systems, they were really great and leaving the flag in does speed up play.
As we start to plan for 2022 we are deciding where we will hit balls in the winter months: where will the Mystery Bus Trip be; where to go for that special play and stay? it is so good to be thinking of all these things that we used to take for granted.
Looking back over this past season we have more MOBs, moments of brilliance and a few Mulligans too. How do you think Shawnna felt after having a great drive, and an even better second shot that went right into the hole, an eagle!!! or not….. as it bounced out and went into a ditch. We almost witnessed a hole in one at Muirfield Lakes as Doreen almost got a second one almost a year after her first in 2020. However Karen Hawkes did get a hole in one at Lynx Ridge hole #17, congratulations. Cheryl Worthy chipped in for a par on Heritage #4 a par 5 at Highwood and Paula Albers birdied #12 at Bearspaw, we got to have birdie juice too, yum yum. and I got an honest 8 on that huge long hole at Bearspaw, sure thought I would get at least a 10, probably more and then I pared the next hole. Celia got an eagle at Lil Devil, good for you.
Start up this season in Red Deer was great we had 16 gals who joined and learned that girls just want to have fun. Peggy, a member that has been away from golf for a number of years, got her first par, way to go. She really enjoyed her lessons at Lakewood with Jordon, she had never had lessons before. We did try to meet everyone at their last game but unfortunately the much needed rain changed the plans. Theodora did a great job and plans to be back next season. Thanks Theo for a job well done. Thanks also to Scott Bergdahl for helping get Red Deer Golfaround off the ground.
“Take me into the future ‘cause I know it’s goin’ to be better”. Bring on 2022.
I am sure we will all agree that 2021 has been a challenging and stressful year. We experienced a lot of on again off again challenges but we made it through having fun as well. We know that a constructive way to deal with this is to spend time doing things we really enjoy and what better way than spending time on the golf course. The peaceful surroundings are therapeutic and then there are those moments that make us cheer, laugh, high five or sometimes jump for joy. We asked our members to recall some of those moments and we have summarized them as best we could.
There are a few wildlife stories and I don’t mean our members. Watch out for the crow at Mickelson National on the first hole, he loves pretty pink balls and took Deborah’s away to add to his stash. Beavers also seem to like the limelight at both Fox Hollow and Sirocco.
I think this memory really identifies why Golfaround is here “We had choices but our foursome took the challenges and did not use the forward tees. When we all hit our balls and even my dear friend Cathy K made it over the gulley and landed on the green. We cheered and hugged.”
This is who we are are, strong women who feel the fear and do it anyway. Another quote also adds it all up for 2021 “The weather has been great, the variety of courses has been so enjoyable!! And just to be out enjoying and being with wonderful women has been such a welcome activity!!
We also had some MOB’s, we will always remember the big ones!! a long par from Carole Anne; a great chip in from Christine and I do believe Cheryl had her fair share of Pars. This all happened at Sirocco not an easy track. Verness had her MOB, she chipped into the hole from 20 to 25 yards out and we witnessed an almost hole in one……….it would have been her second almost a year to the day later. Doreen’s ball landed about 6 inches from the hole, a birdie and we had the juice at Muirfield lakes. Shaunna had a true mulligan moment at Mickelsen National ‘s #5 her second shot on this par 4 bounced out of the hole and flew off into a gully. yikes. Would have been an Eagle!!!
Something a little COVID related but true is the following “Most everyone has abandoned pulling the flag when putting out. I love that – really speeds things up. Not sure about the return of the rakes in the bunkers.
Here are a few more quotable quotes:
“Beautiful evening to golf!! Only slightly hazy from the smoke…I was away from golf for the past 5 years and Golfaround allowed me to meet up with enthusiastic and welcoming women golfers. This has been a wonderful return to the game I love – thanks!”
And evening golfing summer of 2021 with basically no mosquitoes – not exciting but true 😆
I am a first year golf around member and could not be happier about joining. I have met some wonderful ladies and also got my first true par this year – no toe kicks involved 🙂
Having lessons at Cottonwood is another favorite memory – I always love the first glimpse of the fairways and greens at the entrance to the club – so peaceful and inviting.
My third memory should be first because it pertains to the feeling of hope again that I felt when I saw the email that we would be able to sign up to play again. I just want to say thanks again for making it so easy for us to enjoy the game of golf.
Thanks to everyone for their input. Some of these memories will stay with us forever and as life goes on I am sure the challenges of the past two years will not be forgotten. We are so grateful that everyone was so supportive and flexible and thank you all. Can’t wait to have some more memorable moments hopefully on a Mystery Bus Trip or a Play & Stay…….bring on 2022.
The last leg of our Golf Trail is Rossland which has the reputation of being a four season Shangri-La. Spring, summer and fall offers up world class mountain biking, hiking and golfing. We won`t have time to bike or hike but we will enjoy some awesome golf. Canada’s alpine golf courses are some of the most gorgeous greens to play in the world. Redstone Resort, just a short five-minute drive from Red Mountain in Rossland, BC, is one of the Kootenay’s most beautiful courses, featuring unique rocky ravines, interesting layouts, and elevation changes. Set against the backdrop of the Monashee Mountains, the natural beauty is second to none, each hole offers a different postcard view of the surrounding peaks and you never know when the resident wildlife may cross your path.
Anther alpine gem that we are going to play is Castlegar Golf Course. This is a long and beautiful course with many steep hills. It’s designed to challenge and there will be plenty of interesting shots and scenic views during our game. The course is beautifully maintained and the staff are super friendly. Let`s hope we don`t encounter any bears, they have the right of way.
Situated on a plateau surrounded by the Kettle River with an abundance of wildlife and natural pine forest, we will find Christina Lake Golf Course. This golf course started as a nine hole and expanded to 18 holes in 1986. The original and now front nine places emphasis on ball placement and your short game. The back nine, designed by renowned architect Les Furber features large undulating greens, elevated tees and an abundance of strategically placed black sand bunkers and water hazards, that along with the front nine all add to an exceptional and diverse golf experience.
I am sure that in between rounds we will find much to discover. Riding on the longest free ferry amid fabulous scenery, savoring tasty food and craft beers and experiencing vibrant locally focused markets are just some of the experiences we will be able to tell our friends about back home.
Golfing around offers us the opportunity to play at many wonderful golf courses and we all have our favorites for sure. Maybe it is where we finally broke a hundred or got our first birdie. There are so many incredible golf courses in Alberta to choose from, many of which are included in our league play. Situated in the foothills of the Rockies is a lesser played, but in our estimation a must play golf course, Livingstone, a hidden gems for sure. It is a beautiful 9 hole track just 30 minutes west from the Calgary city limits. This course has an authentic untamed aura and the scenery is hard to beat. You will love the serene feel of the environment as you play pristine fairways and enjoy the great scenery, you may even be lucky enough to see some of the wildlife that roam the area. Each hole offers a new, exciting and challenging experience. Following your round you should stop for a bite, the food was great and the staff superb and the hanging baskets were outstanding. We encourage you to take the road less traveled and we are confident you will not be disappointed.
A recent article in the AMA insider talks about “Diamonds in the Rough” Alberta’s best under -the- radar golf courses and guess what Golfaround has experienced many of these. Pine Hills at Rocky Mountain House was the location of a Mystery Bus Trip where Calgary and Edmonton met to have a fun tournament with a Mad Hatter Tea Party theme. The course is tough, undulating but enjoyable and the natural ambience is spectacular. Speargrass was another gem and we get to play this one in the Day league, just love the finish along the Bow River. The Edmonton crew got the opportunity to play Coal Creek, a rough and ragged abandoned mining site. The setting is definitely memorable with black coal-slag bunkers lined with fescue. This is a hidden gem we would love to play someday. Desert Blume in Medicine Hat was another Mystery Bus Trip locale. Deserts, canyons, coulees and cliffs all come into play here. Not sure if you may remember when we left Calgary it was pouring rain and Desert Blume was the only sunny place in Alberta that day for sure. Last but not least is Black Bull which is about halfway between Red Deer and Edmonton. It is a tough course but evidently a great golfing experience. Black Bull has earned a reputation as one of Alberta’s most rewarding, challenging, and impressive golf courses being played today. The sheer scenic beauty alone, along with golfers’ quests to “Tame the Bull” keeps players coming back. We will have to try this someday I am sure it will be fun.
Next leg, Nelson BC and, unbelievable as it may sound, this city is among just a handful of small cities in North America that can lay claim to a unique mix, an unusual abundance of big city cosmopolitan amenities , coupled with small town charm. Our location, at the Hume Hotel & Spa, is right in downtown close to the action. Action , you say, but you will feel the funky vibe and authenticity after a quick stroll down historic Baker Street, a vibrant main street that is a true adventure in itself. You’ll find galleries, museum browsing, alluring back lanes, over a dozen pubs, live music venues and dance clubs. For those with a zest for fine dining, retail fashion, nights on the town or relaxing days and stimulating conversations in a local coffee shop, it is there for the asking. Nelson boasts 50 restaurants and cafes, in fact more per capita than San Francisco, many with outdoor seasonal patios adding to that cosmopolitan feel
Our second round of golf is the Balfour Golf Course a magnificent 6510-yard golfing challenge, designed by Les Furber, what a course, what a view, what a layout. Winding up and down through the Selkirk Mountains will make it a challenge I am sure. I read that it’s a real shot maker’s course, especially the back side. With lots of elevated tees and greens you need to hit a straight ball so I should do OK, short, in more ways than one, and accurate. We must make sure to eat at the clubhouse, I heard the food was amazing.
A few miles down the highway you will find Granite Pointe I have heard it is a challenging but manageable course with stunning views of Nelson and the surrounding area. The front nine begins with park-like settings, generous fairways, and spectacular scenery however we may have some mountain climbing to do as we head to start the back nine. Your concentration may be challangeded as it can be hampered by the many magnificent vistas that include the crystal waters of Kootenay Lake, the historic city of Nelson and the surrounding area.
We will be sad to leave Nelson but excited to go and experience Rossland.
One of the common questions at the start of the golf season, especially from new golfers is “what golf clubs do I need”. In most cases we advise new golfers to wait until their lessons and check with the golf professional to advise them. We do ensure that members have clubs for lessons. If you are just taking up the game you can either borrow some clubs or purchase some used ones. It really doesn’t matter initially, but get a few woods, some irons and a putter and a bag. Get some inexpensive golf balls and you will be good to go.
If after a few months you think golf is here to stay, then you definitely need better equipment. You could buy a set of used golf clubs from a pro shop or second-hand sporting goods store, or you could buy a new set. The used option would be cheaper, about half the price of a new set, and would be satisfactory until you decided to make a commitment to golf as your pastime of choice.
The sport of golf offers more equipment choices than any other sport and it can be very confusing for even the experienced golfer. Another problem area is the gendering of golf clubs. What I mean by that is there are ladies clubs, men’s clubs, senior clubs and everything in between. This environment can lead salespeople to classify customers by age or gender rather than as unique individuals and result in the purchase of ill-fitting clubs. As mentioned previously it is much better to consult with a golf professional who is knowledgeable about you and your skills.
Then there are those experienced golfers who like to see what new each year especially drivers and putters. It is especially important to test run both these items to ensure that they are the right clubs for you and your game. Putting accounts for a third of your stokes so many pros have more than one putter, as do recreational golfers.
Another thing that the pros think a lot about and we recreational golfers should be aware of are the grips on your clubs, if they have a sheen in any spots you are probably past due for some new handles. When you do re-grip your clubs make sure the size of that the size of the grip is correct for you because the size will effect the way you deliver the club into the ball. Treat you clubs well and they will return the favor.
You also want to avoid yardage gaps throughout your set and also avoid any tightly bunched yardages too. For example, if you have a 4 and 5 hybrid that go roughly the same distance, as I do, you may want to ditch the 5 for an extra wedge or wood.
We just finished watching Lisa’s Golf Town clinic which is also about golf equipment and offers much more detail and many more interesting facts so check out the link and increase your golf knowledge.
Our planned trip this year The Kootenay Golf Trail is something we can look forward to. I am sure that like us you are all missing the golf get-a-ways and the mystery bus trip but if we all do what we are supposed to do we will be able to go back to enjoying life as it used to be. The next couple of news feeds will feature some of the fabulous stops on this amazing journey.
The route from Creston to Kokaney Springs along Highway 3A is beautiful. Allow plenty of time to meander along this winding road to enjoy the views across the lake to the mountains beyond. The distance From Creston to Crawford Bay is only 80 kilometers but it will take at least 90 minutes without stopping. An unusual sight along this route is The Glass House a former funeral directors home with walls constructed from more than 500.000 empty embalming bottles. Another stop can be made at Crawford Bay where you will find many artisans and studios.
First stop is Kokanee Springs Resort a special place that offers comfortable accommodation on over 500 acres of pristine natural landscape paired with one of BC’s most scenic courses We will love every hole of the golf course as each one leads you into a world of it’s own, distinct and unique in character. Elevated tee decks offer majestic views of Kokanee Springs expansive fairways and the Kokanee Glacier. Large, contoured green complexes bring fun and joy to the challenge of putting. Towering evergreens and old growth cedars separating each hole bring a peaceful solitude that is only enhanced by ten-minute tee intervals, ensuring every visitor experiences the very best of this scenic course at a relaxed, comfortable pace. After our round we can relax at Woods the restaurant at the course or if we want we can take a short 10 minute drive to Boccalinos to enjoy an exceptional dining experience, a Swiss/Italian eatery.
After a short drive and a 35 minute free ferry ride we will travel to Balfour then on to Nelson. The ferry ride offers stunning views of Kootenay Lake, the Purcell mountains to the East, the Selkirk Mountains to the west, and a glance at the famous Kokanee Glacer.
We will be playing at the Balfour Golf Course but have chosen to stay in Nelson instead of Balfour as we had a better choice of accommodation.In addition there are more restaurant choices and things to do and see. The drive to get back to Balfour is short and very neat as you wind up the west lake shore.
Check out the hyperlink above to find out more about our trip, space is limited