Calgary Golf & Country Club – August 2016 Today I had the pleasure of not only playing the oldest private course still in play in Alberta, but teeing it up with fellow golf blogger Josh @Golfismental and his lovely wife Beth.
We were originally going to golf on Tuesday afternoon but due to tree snapping wind, we postponed until today and we were all very pleased we did.
The weather was perfect for golf and while I had spent the morning at the CP Canadian Women’s Open watching the women golf I was very pleased to be out whacking balls myself.
I chatted to a gentleman in the car park as I headed off to find Sean Thompson who Gordon Moir had told me to look up while I was in town. As he is the assistant pro, he was giving a lesson on the range and as I stepped up to say hello, I saw Josh and Beth warming up on the range.
I hugged them hello and while only meeting them for the first time I have known them for ages. We follow each other on twitter and read each others’ golf blogs. I followed their golfing journey to Hawaii and remember the perfect golf/wedding day they had at Pebble Beach.
It was wonderful to be here teeing it up with them on their home track.
The first hole plays long up the hill and it didn’t help that I drop kicked my first drive and pushed it left near the trees. I just made it that little bit longer. Beth had one of the attendants take her clubs to the top as she pulled a couple clubs and strolled up the fairway. As I had no idea what clubs I would need I opted to push my clubs in front of me and by the time I was putting my heart was pounding.
The course is a great test of golf and while I was whacking balls all over (some even in the direction I aimed) Beth and Josh were throwing darts. They both hit a great ball and while I too hit some great balls their golf is another level. And it should be as between them they don’t even have a handicap of seven. In total – that is combining both their handicaps.
We laughed and smiled chatting our way around the course. The front nine holes are in the middle with the back nine circling the front. I haven’t played a course designed like that before – I also haven’t ridden in an inclinator to reach a tee box.
The back nine was better than the front, both my golf and the views – oh and did I mention the pears?
After riding the inclinator to the 11th tee box we smiled watching a rabbit nibbling what we first thought was an apple until upon closer inspection we realized it was a pear. We then looked up and noticed a pear tree laden with fruit.
We each picked one (I might have picked three) and bit in, delighting in the sweet flesh. Beth and Josh were both amazed as they had no idea that pears a) grew on the course or b) could actually grow in Calgary.
Beth was adamant her father had never mentioned it and was unsure if he was keeping the secret or had no idea himself.
Calgary Golf and Country Club was established in 1897 and while there is quite the waiting list to join (it can be 15 years) Beth had the luck of being born into a golfing family who had been part of the club for a couple of generations. Let’s just say Josh married well.
There views are stunning from the back nine over the Elbow River and one of the nicest spots was at the halfway house with the waterfall trickling in the background. A gentleman we were chatting with told me he used to slide down the water pipe as a child while sitting on a tray and my only question was “Do you think an adult would fit?”.
It looked like it would be fun but instead I opted for more golf.
My driver was not my friend for the first couple of holes and then BAM it was back. I hit some great balls (plus lots of rubbish) but had a wonderful time regardless. My putting wasn’t great today and it was a combination of not reading the greens well nor judging the speed.
They were very fast and hard.
I hit some great approach shots that zoomed across the greens giving me another 3 shots to hole out so I could certainly improve but I was not unhappy with 106 for a first viewing and I must say I finished well with four great golf shots in a row.
The tips on the 18th are high overlooking the river (it sometimes calls Josh’s name) and we all hit a tee shot from there. Josh and Beth found the fairway but mine didn’t even clear the rubbish.Beth had nailed her drive, the best of the day and from the tips too. Perhaps that is where she should play from now on.
My ball was donated to the course then Beth and I hit the forward tees and played our balls.
I whacked a good drive ending up about 140 yards out and I as pulled out my 3 hybrid I was thinking that this may now be too much club for that distance. I am constantly adjusting my club selection as I continue improving – not a bad problem to have.
It sure was too much club. I hit it really well and it went screaming down the fairway then over the back of the green.
“What is over the green?” I ask.
Hmmm, I would have to see when I got up there.
Beth played both balls to the green and after her second shot with the ball from the tips, I exclaimed that I wanted to golf like her when I grew up.
What a shot!
Josh threw a dart on to the green as I went looking over the green for my ball.
There it was nestled in the long crap just on the other side of the hill. I had a shot but had to balance a little precariously on the edge of the ravine. I couldn’t believe the shot I pulled off and delighted in the fact while thanking the golf gods.
We all dropped our putts and I finished with my first par of the day while the others had their umpteenth par.
We then headed to the patio for dinner (I enjoyed a delicious cajun catfish).
We stopped and chatted with Sean briefly who was running a competition this afternoon and told us that from the patio we could watch the blind tee shots on the 1st.
Blindfolded that is. Part of the tournament they were running.
What entertainment that was!
I actually want to do the same thing for a tournament sometime in my travels, I have noted it as things I want to try.
The clubhouse is lovely and it is the attention to detail that just makes it one of the nicest private clubs I have played to date.
I can certainly say that my 85th golf course experience is one I won’t forget.
I can’t believe how lucky I am to meet so many wonderful people golfing around the world and I just hope Josh and Beth come and visit me on PEI next summer to tee it up there and of course visit The Chowder House.