I have been back to play Tor Hill Golf Course several times since I moved to Calgary in 1998. I always played with friends that I had not seen for awhile and there was, of course, visiting and catching up on events as well as golfing.
I was in Regina last month but time commitments did not allow me to play one of my favourite golf courses, Tor Hill Golf Course. I wan t to share with you the last time I did play the course.
July 13, 2015 was different. No, I wasn’t alone. I was with my friend Ruth and we had been on the road together for five days so we were enjoying the course and our golf.
I saw the golf course in some ways as though I had not played it before. Yet it also was like an old friend that I knew so well there were no surprises. The first thing I noticed was on hole number one. Stanley Thompson perhaps thought the forward tees were for women only and not many women were playing golf at the time so the tee box was placed to the edge of the fairway on the right side. The first hole is a Par 5 and is a dog leg to the left. I hit my drive to the inside of the dog leg in great position. A 3 wood left me 100 yards to the green and a 9 iron had me just below the flag about 10′ from the hole on the collar. Just a sweet 8 iron chip made for a one putt par. Looking at this first green brought back so many memories! I could imagine putting from every part of this green. 5
Driving through the trees to the second hole I could remember right away the familiar smell of the trees and underbrush as though I had been there just yesterday. The tee box is of course to the side of the fairway only this time it is to the left. My drive was good and down the middle. My second shot was fat and around 120 yards to the green. I saw the flag was at the back of the green and played my 4 hybrid and what a great shot to 13″ from the hole. One putt for par. 4
The short #3 Par 4 has trees all along the out of bounds right side. I looked over there and remembered many errant shots to the right and promptly put my drive to the left! I hit the second shot right as I often do on a side hill, uphill lie. A PW chip and two putts for a bogie. 5
My favourite hole on the course is the #4, Par 3. At 170 yards over cattails and water to an uphill green usually takes a 3Wood. I was short and had to pitch to the edge of the green and promptly used my 8iron to chip it in! Another par. Oh the memories of this hole! Once I was in the water on the left side and about 12″ from the grass. This is the only time I have taken off my shoes and hit the ball out of the water. It took two tries as I had no idea how hard you have to swing to get the club through the water! The second try I hit it out. I am always up for a challenge. 3
The 5th hole is a straight 320 yard Par 4. One memory I have was one very windy day I hit my drive, down wind, 255 yards. Not today. I did hit a good drive and a 5 wood short of the green and in front of the bunker. A sand wedge came up on the collar and one chip and one putt made for a 5
The 6th hole is Par 4 and my drive was left by the 150 yard marker. I played a 5 Wood past the long bunker to the edge of green. A chip to a back pin and two putts for another bogie. 5
The 7th hole is a Par 5 and my drive was good and long. The Marshall came by to say they could see the storm going south. That was reassuring as we had been concerned for the last three holes. My 3 Wood was left and it took me two chips from the long grass to get to the green. Two putts for another bogie. 6
The 8th hole Par 3 has a large bunker on the left side, another large bunker back right and trees all the way up the right side. There is a very narrow path to the green. My 5 Wood was short in front of the bunker on the left. One chip was not enough so I chipped again and almost holed it! Five inches was left for a one putt. 4
The 9th hole is a Par 4 dog leg to the left and uphill. It has a large bunker on the right at the 150 yard marker. I was in the bunker and hit a great 3 Wood to 30 yards from the green. Two cups and one putt made for another bogie. 5
The next hole is West #1 but I will always think of these holes as the back nine from 10-18 so I will call it the old way.
The 10th hole is a dog leg to the right and down hill from the 150 yard sign. My drive was right and I had to play a 9 Iron to the fairway and another 9 Iron to the green and two putts. 5
The 11th hole is a good Par four with a dog leg to the left. There is a pond at the inside corner of the dog leg and if you are brave you can go over this pond to the fairway and have a short iron to the green. A good drive puts you inside the 150 marker on the fairway. I drove to the fairway and hit my 3 Wood to the edge of the green. A chip and a 2 putts and I had a 5
The 12th hole Par 3 is over the same pond as the 11th hole. The water is right in front of the tee box and the green is uphill. My 3
Wood was a bit short and a chip and 2 putts gave me another 4
The 13th is a Par 4 and in order to have a short shot to the green you need to go over the pond again. I hit my drive over the pond and my 5 Wood was pin high on the right collar. I mis read the break and my chip was not close to the cup. Two putts. Bogie. One time I hit my tee shot so far to the left that it was on the 14th fairway. Not only was it on the fairway but it was in the middle of the fairway. None of this, “the first thing to do is get it back in play” for me. I take my 5 Wood and lay it down on the grass to see if I have enough club to go over the big trees between the 13th and 14th holes. Sure enough I can clear the trees if I hit it right. I took a couple of practise swings and not only did I clear the trees but I was on the 13th green. 5
The 14th Par 4 is uphill all the way I hit a good drive and 3 Wood and was almost on the green. My 8 Iron shot was good and about 12″. One putt. Par. 4
The 15th hole is a Par 4 and straight away. One bunker at the right side of the green should not come into play. I had a decent drive and 3 Wood. Another Gap Wedge and two putts. Bogie. 5
The 16th is a uphill Par 5/4. The two fellows we had been following agreed to play with us the last three holes. Really nice young guys, Mike and Zack. This hole always reminds me of a Regina City Tournament and I was playing with Mae LaFayette. We hit our drives good and were about 175 to the uphill green. Mae was the first person I saw who took her driver out of the bag and hit her ball on the fairway and she hit it right up and on the green. I have tried it since and sometimes it works! My drive was good and 3 Wood to left. A 4 Hybrid put me close to the green over the bunker. A chip and two putts. Bogie. 6
The 17th hole is a Par 3 of 145 yards with bunkers on both sides of the green. So many times I have been inches: 3 inches below, 5 inches above, 2 inches to the side of having a hole in one on this golf hole. This hole always reminds me of a lady I was with hitting her ball into the trees and we had to go through all the options she had and I believe there are three or four options for this including going back to the tee. I did not have much luck on this hole. Not today either. I was on the edge of the green and chipped with my 8 Iron to 15 inches. One putt. 4
The 18th hole is another Par 4. So many times when I was a member at Tor Hill June Hudyma and I would be playing this hole in the dark. We would be trying to qualify for the Pro Lady Tournament and had to play the same day as the Tuesday Morning Ladies. We, however, would be playing after we left work and quite often there was not enough daylight to get all 18 holes in! I always think of those days when playing this hole. My drive was OK and my 7 Iron was short of the green. I chipped close and one putted. 4
I had such great memories playing the course and it seemed like every shot I made I had made one from there before. I loved every minute of our game (except we were quite afraid of the thunderstorm nearby) and although I did not score that well I was so happy I had the chance to play. I can remember the day I scored an 80 on that course. With no storm around I likely could have done the same. Thanks Ruth for forging on with me with the dark clouds around us. Score 42-42 84
What a memorable day!