The last time I went golfing I found myself watching as each dimpled white ball that I hit flew sideways across the driving range, or pitifully lolled just ten feet from where I was standing. The golf balls never went where I intended them to go.
It’s good to see nothing has changed.
It’s the middle of May on a warm Sunday afternoon and with the Fernie Golf and Country Club recently open, I invite six of my girlfriends for a nine-hole golf game for the Fernie Fix. Most of us have never golfed before.
The great staff at the Clubhouse set us up with tees, scorecards and golf carts and then we pile in and head to hole one. Cruising down the paved pathway in the carts is already too much fun and I can just imagine where the day will lead us.
We all watch as Shannon—the most experienced of us all—tees off, her golf ball flying more than 200 yards and landing in the fairway with ease. We cheer and secretly hope we can hit our balls half as well and in that general direction.
One after the other we take our first swings. Some golf balls land in the fairway while others find themselves in bushes and between trees.
Thankfully, the first hole has no water traps.
We wait for other golfers to bypass us (our group moves at turtle pace) before continuing on.
Minutes later someone asks, “That was the first hole, right?” And follows up with, “I’m only on my second golf ball and I’m quite proud.”
Hole after hole we tee off, use our irons on the fairway, chip the golf ball with a wedge to the green and putt until we land our balls in the hole. We manage to avoid running over gophers that dodge the golf carts and are glad when the woman driving the drink cart swings by and mixes us pink drinks on ice.
As we sit at the fourth hole and wait for more experienced golfers to go by, I can’t help but get nostalgic (as I normally do) about the day. Dark clouds dominate the horizon above the Lizard Range, but the air is warm and the grass on the course is vibrantly green.
The trees along the course are tall and beautiful, providing the right amount of shade when the sun breaks through the clouds, and the mountains are—as always—incredible.
We chatter, as all girls do, about golf and Fernie and how much we enjoy being here. And of course, about how terrible most of us are at golfing.
Shannon, who began practicing the sport six years ago, says that golfing is always a good time.
“You’re hanging out in nature with friends,” she says. “And it’s a challenging sport so you are constantly taking new shots and improving.” Shannon guides us through the course and offers tips when we need it (which is most of the time).
We finally make it to the eighth hole and after a lengthily chat with the drink cart lady who graciously delivers another round of pink drinks, my friend Anna says something that is a clear indication of how much fun we are having.
“I feel like we are at a stagette,” she says, laughing. “But we’re not.”
As I prepare to tee off at the ninth hole, I know my goal is to avoid the pond that looms to my right. I grab my driver, walk onto the grass and swing.
Nothing but style. No, wait. It’s a swing and a miss. I try once more and my golf ball—going at a surprising speed and distance—lands in the middle of the pond.
“That makes six,” I say, referring to the number of golf balls I have lost over the last nine holes.
We finish the ninth hole and head into the Clubhouse for a bite to eat. Several runaway golf balls, multiple purchases of pink drinks and three-and-a-half hours later and it is safe to say we’ve had a good time; a great time, actually.
It would seem that my experience with golfing has changed.
The Fernie Golf and Country Club opened in 1918 and is ranked in the top 25 of BC’s golf courses. For information about tee times, rates/memberships and a map of the course visit www.golffernie.com or call 250-423-7773.