In 1997 we were 12 beginner golfers who wanted to get better and have some fun, we called ourselves the Dirty Dozen”. The twelve grew to 40 with some spares and Golfaround was born. 1998 was a very successful year and the start of great things to come. We had our first tournaments at Carstairs and Sundre and a wind-up hosted by one of our members, Ellen Janzen. In 1999 we expanded our evening league to accommodate 80 women and we started a day league. We offered two choices a week in the evenings at 16 different courses and a choice of 7 courses once a week for the day league. Shelly Charlton and her team at Country Hills gave us great instruction and we started to improve our game. Tiffany Gordon was always there to help and offer great advice.
Well we survived Y2K and our computer systems are still intact, wow that was a relief. We have been doing this now for five years and we are thinking we really do have a viable business opportunity. We have a domain name and website thanks to Kim Worth who we met at AWE, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs so let’s go for it, a league of our own. We continued to add golf courses to our schedules and golf professionals to our teaching team. This was the year that Brian Fast started his teaching career at Cottonwood, and he is still teaching for us fourteen years later. He is also married with two sons.
It was interesting to look back at our newsletter for 2002, the weather challenges have not changed that much. The Day League were at Heatherglen May 21st, the wind was almost blowing them over and it was extremely cold. The gals were in the restaurant waiting to see what they were going to do. Sandra Hunter told one of the new members in jest “yes we meet at different courses once a week and have coffee” it does sometimes seem that way early in the season.
Something I forgot last month was to mention our first international trip. This event was spurred by Fran Esler, then Burrows, who thought we should go somewhere warm to golf in the winter months. We were a little skeptical about organizing a trip to a warm climate, Canada sure wasn’t an option, so we thought how about four days & five nights in Laughlin Nevada? We also had the guys along for the first time. This trip turned out to be a grand total of 44 and we had a blast. We were in all four states during our travels, oh not quite correct it was Arizona, Nevada, California and some of them in the “drunken state” not sure where that is. Back in those days our cost was $728.00 for the package, it sure wouldn’t be that now.
This success motivated us to go a little further away, so we planned a trip to Veradaro, Cuba for 2003. We stayed at Breezes, a great resort in close proximity to the golf course. We had another good size group which included seven sets of sisters, believe it or not. We also took our then mascot, Clem, or Phlegm. He was a blow up doll that Joan Holmes had given to Marg Hardstaff to keep her safe when she had to drive home alone from golf. Clem had a great time as we did, he even danced with the bride at a wedding there. We also had a mock wedding for Irene Shewchuk and if I remember correctly some of the gals left their mark on the walls of the Cuban restaurant noting the “the first wives club”. There are lots of great memories including the synchronized swimmers, amazing golf course personnel and the tour to Havana, including the legendary Tropicana Show, a Cuban classic.
The 2002 wind-up event was themed “friends” and funnily enough Gloria Boogmans just sent us a very special prose about friends:
Why do I have a variety of friends who are all so different in character? How is it possible that I can get along with them all?
I think that each one helps to bring out a “different” part of me. With one of them I am polite. With another I joke.
I can sit down and talk about serious matters with one. With another I laugh a lot.
I listen to one friend’s problems. Then I listen to another one’s advice for me.
My friends are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When completed, they form a treasure box. A treasure of friends!
They are my friends who understand me better than I understand myself. They’re friends who support me through good days and bad.
Real Age doctors tell us that friends are good for our health. Dr. Oz calls them Vitamin F (for Friends) and counts the benefits of friends as essential to our well being.
Research shows that people in strong social circles have less risk of depression and terminal strokes.
If you enjoy Vitamin F constantly you can be up to 30 years younger than your real age.
The warmth of friendship stops stress and even in your most intense moments, it decreases the chance of a cardiac arrest or stroke by 50%.
I’m so happy that I have a stock of Vitamin F! In summary, we should value our friends and keep in touch with them.
We should try to see the funny side of things and laugh together and pray for each other in the tough moments.
We are so very grateful for all the friends we have made through Golfaround and I know that there are many of our members who feel the same way. We were also very saddened in 2002 to lose a very special lady and friend after a courageous fight to breast cancer, Nancy Morrison. Nancy and her husband Brian were loyal supporters of Golfaround. Because we wanted to make this loss meaningful it spearheaded our first attempt at raising money for charity, hence the Cottonwood Classic.
2003 was the year we expanded Golfaround in Edmonton starting there with approximately 30 members and Shannon Chambers was our first Coordinator. Some of the original Edmonton members were Heather Bishop, Lesslie Ingledew, Jan Young. The Orientation/Social was held at Millwoods Golf Club and the wind-up was at Retail Landing a course that has supported us from day one. The weather was ugly at the wind-up, I have never been so wet and only played three holes. Oh yes I have been that wet but it came later at Lacombe as many of you will remember.
We wound down 2003 with a Halloween themed wind-up and I can still see Maria Emond, the skeleton and Cheryl Oliver, Snow White dancing to the music of Dan the One Man Band, what a fun night.