An annual World Senior Games played in St. George, Utah
I started going down to St. George, Utah to golf in 1999, usually only in the month of March. It wasn’t untll many years passed before we discovered how fantastic the golf was in the month of October. The golf courses have survived the hot summer and were now loving the cooler weather. It was now more like a high of 80 F instead of over 100 F.
However, something else was going on in St. George in October every year. We saw results in The Spectrum (the daily paper we read) of a variety of sporting activities. There was some kind of seniors games with odd names for sports like pickle ball, lawn bowling, duplicate bridge, etc. As well as baseball, basketball, golf, tennis and many more. We saw people wearing beautiful medals celebrating in groups in the restaurants. The city was bustling with many athletes and the restaurants were crowded!
I wondered, could this be something I could participate in? I remembered how my dear friend Anne Fleming had been an active senior! I received more information from Bob as follows: Anne started participating in the seniors games in 1991 at the age of 71. Anne competed in various seniors and masters competitions throughout Canada as well overseas, Gateshead England and Australia.
At 80 years old she broke the world’s record for the 100 mt. dash for seniors / masters over 80 in Australia. ( not sure if this record still holds.) She competed until she was 88, having received the gold medal for the 100 mt dash in her last competition.
Two pictures from Bob.
Many people at Sky Mountain Golf Course had been telling me I should golf in these senior games. I found the website of the Huntsman World Senior Games in the spring of 2014 and called for more information.
I had no idea that the Huntsman World Senior Games had been a part of St. George in October since 1986. That would mean it was going on way before I discovered the oasis for golf in 1999. I found out the games had participants from 27 different countries over the years as of 2013. I had no idea that there would be over 10,000 athletes competing over the two week time period.
I received the multi-page Program or the game’s to be held October 6 to October 18, 2014
I was so excited, in fact I was overwhelmed by the organization of games with such magnitude. Just every detail was covered in the program. All you had to be was 50 years of age as of December 31, 2014. Many sports are categorized into different ages.I found out (after being there) that players on a team can be from anywhere. Like a baseball team could be called the Rhode Island Reds may have players from Edmonton, Alberta.
My call to Deborah was to ask her to be my Buddy (see Bring A Buddy in the Program) and join me for a new challenge in golfing. I asked to have all the information regarding the Huntsman World Senior Games sent directly to her and we could plan our getaway.
Deborah and I entered the same events in our age category for medal golf and we also entered the Social Golf (Two Person Scramble) as well as the Western Dinner Dance. Total cost for all excluding drinks came to $335.00 Canadian.
My next call was to Weston at Coral Springs Resort &Spa to reserve our favorite condo from September 29 till October 27.
Deborah and I left Calgary at 6 a.m., September 17 and were at the Fairfield Inn in Idaho Falls by 5 p.m. Dinner was just a few steps away at the Olive Garden . Yummy. The next day we were in the condo at Coral Springs by 4 p.m. Down the road to Lin’s in Hurricane to stock up on groceries. The potato salad is made daily by the ladies in the deli and luckily there was some left for us! We bought some radishes, onions and some yellow mustard to add to it. Some pieces of fried chicken and salad and we were good for the night.
The next day it rained but on Sunday we were able to golf at Sky Mountain. I was thrilled to have six pars. You know how I love that course. Monday we were off to Coyote Springs, NV and Deborah bought the green fees to celebrate my upcoming Birthday. How sweet was that? Two scores of 89 for my first two games.
We registered for the Huntsman Senior Games on Sunday October 5. at the Dixie Center. Our first item on the program was a Social Scramble at Sky Mountain. Kent Abegglen gave us top priority and we were on Hole #1. We were finally joined by Ron and Bob from Rhode Island. Apparently they were coming from St. George on I-15 and missed the turn off onto Highway #9. Then they had to go some 15 miles to turn around and finally get to Hurricane/Sky Mountain. Our golf wasn’t spectacular until Deborah hit a fantastic shot onto the green at Hole #16, designated Closest To The Pin award. Now that hole used to be easy peasy, just 150 yards for us. Then they put another huge bunker in on the left side. With the green sloping from left to right to another bunker on the right and below that is the canyon. With a narrow entry to the green it isn’t easy get a ball to stop on the green. The banquet was at Sun River and to our surprise Deborah was honored with an awesome “games” blanket for the Closest-To-The-Pin Award. Congratulations Deborah.
Medal Golf for us was on October 14 and 15. First at St, George Golf and Sun River Golf. I played with the same two ladies and came in for Bronze after the two days. Deborah also played with the same three ladies in her group and came in for Bronze after two days. We also participated in Skills, Putting and Chipping. In the chipping we were chipping 40 yards and my chip was 9” from the flag. Easy Gold. Deborah came in tied for Silver. (I was looking at the results in the Skills online and there was no mention of Deborah for the the Chipping. We knew she had tied with another lady. So we headed down to the Dixie Center and got that clarified). In the Skills, Longest Drive I came in for the Gold with a drive of 208 yards in my age category. However there was only one lady who was from BC that had a longer drive of 217. She was in age category 50-59.
Our second Social Golf at Sun River was most memorable. We were paired with Josh and Joe from Grand Junction, CO. Josh had been golfing with Joe for some time and finally talked Joe into coming to the games. Now Joe is 97 and although in his younger years he had likely hit the ball farther, he hit the ball strait down the fairway and was awesome around the greens. And these two guys were the epitome of the word gentlemen. The first day when Deborah won the blanket she said she wouldn’t use it so I could have it. I said I would win my own! Would you believe the 3rd Hole at Sun River is a Par 3. 140 yards. It was the Closest To The Pin hole. I hit my 4 Hybrid to 5’3” and won my very own “games” blanket.
Deborah and I spent a couple of days down in Las Vegas and stayed at the South Point Hotel and Casino. Of course our shopping started at Chico’s, then the golf stores and back to Brio’s for one of our favorite dinners.
We had several more golf games until we headed home October 28. What a great experience.