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Road trip begins

The road trip begins

It was a beautiful morning in Calgary for the start of our trip. We set off just after 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, heading west on Highway #8.

The last time that Ruth was in Fernie, B.C. was about 40 years ago and I thought it would be nice for us to take that route to get us from Calgary to Whitefish. I have been down that way many times and have used pretty much all the different routes available to get there, and I like this one the best.

Frank Slide

The Frank Slide

And this route didn’t disappoint! The views of the mountains were spectacular and we saw wildlife too: a moose, a fawn searching for her mom — and at least one hawk.

En route, we stopped in Blairmore, Alberta for a coffee at the Crowsnest Pass Golf & Country Club.  The great weather was reflected by the number of cars in the parking lot; there was a group of six having breakfast in the restaurant. After a quick stop there, we were back in the car, and back on the road again.

On The Road Again

As we neared the border crossing at Roosville, Montana, we could see smoke in the sky as there are, as you probably know, dozens of forest fires burning in the mountains. After the border, we drove past the turnoff to The Wilderness Club (where we’ll be staying and playing golf at on Tuesday) and we started searching for the On the Fly Cafe which I’d found a great write-up about on the Internet and thought we should make a scheduled stop.


Trina Kelly’s On the Fly Cafe

The thing is, our GPS couldn’t find it. I searched for it, but couldn’t find it. So we made a rest stop just off the highway to have a bite to eat – a small picnic that consisted of a sandwich and some water that we had packed. As soon as we started driving again, wouldn’t you know it, perhaps just 100 yards further down the road was the cafe! So we stopped the car, and in we went!

We talked to the owner, Trina Kelly, and had an ice cream cone each. We’re going to make a stop here on our way back to Canada on Wednesday.

Ruth with her daughter at the Bulldog Saloon

Ruth with her daughter Anna at the Bulldog Saloon

Ruth’s daughter, Anna, and Anna’s family are have also been down at Whitefish and we met up with them. Ruth, Anna and her family went for a boat ride and while they were doing that, I went and checked into Grouse Mountain Lodge and discovered they have no Wi-Fi – it has been down for TWO days. But I was able to prove to them the rate we’d been promised — which was different from what they were trying to charge us. As you may recall, we’re in Whitefish because of a flyer we found in the paper last week with a stay and play offer at par for the Canadian dollar. The deal gave us a room at the Grouse Mountain Lodge and a round of golf at our choice of 5 different golf courses for the rate of $175 Canadian per person. I’ll update you on this as soon as it’s resolved.

I’ve found a WiFi connection and I am sitting on the deck at the Harbour Mountain Condos writing this at 5:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

I went back to Harbor Mountain, the resort where Anna and family were staying and sat down by the lake for an hour.  Then Anna, Ruth and I headed downtown to Central Avenue to the Bulldog Saloon for a burger and a Rum and Coke.  We had to pay for the burgers in American dollars, but the drinks were all in Canadian!!!  The burgers cost $8 each and we got three drinks for $9.  Crazy.  The bar was full of patrons but we didn’t make any new friends. There’s always tomorrow!

We have a few new golf courses to meet this week, I’m looking forward to it, it should be fun.

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Destination: Whitefish, Montana

We plan to leave tomorrow around 7:00 a.m. on our next road trip that will take us to Whitefish, Montana, then back to Calgary via Cranbrook, B.C. Our route to Whitefish, Montana, will take us South and West on Alberta highways 8 and 22, down to the Crowsnest Pass.

I love the drive on the highway past Bragg Creek and Turner Valley, a golf course that I have played many times. We’ll then pass through Longview, where Canadian entertainer Ian Tyson has his ranch — this is certainly cattle country down here. I’ve embedded a YouTube video of Ian Tyson – who’s 81 (a whole year older than I am) singing Four Strong Winds as a tribute to his father who fought in the First World War. That video was released just a couple of months ago, and although the voice is shakier than it used to be, Ian Tyson is still a great performer. A big shout out and thanks to his agent, Paul Mascoli of Mascoli Entertainment Corporation for letting me use the picture of Ian Tyson on my blog.

I’ve been singing along to Ian Tyson since I got my first Ian & Sylvia record, probably back in 1970 or so, introduced to our family by my niece, Deborah Rowbotham. Back then, I’d have a bunch of albums lined up for the record player, including Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian & Sylvia and others, and I’d play them while singing and doing the housework on Sunday mornings. It was always Sunday Morning Coming Down at our house on Sundays!

From Longview, we follow the rolling hills with some surprising elevation changes along a winding creek to Alberta’s highway #3 – the Crowsnest Highway.

Soon we will be driving past the tons of rock that slid down the mountain at Frank, Alberta. The Frank Slide was a rockslide that buried a great part of the mining town of
Frank on the morning of April 29, 1903. It occurred at 4:10 am, when it took under 100 seconds for over 82 million tonnes (90 million tons) of limestone rock to slide down Turtle Mountain. That slide obliterated the entire eastern edge of Frank, the Canadian Pacific Railway line going through that part of time, and Frank’s coal mine. It was one of the largest landslides in Canadian history and remains the deadliest, as between 70 and 90 of the town’s residents were killed, most of whom were lost in the rubble. Turtle Mountain’s formation left it in a constant state of instability, a fact that wasn’t lost on the first nation tribes, who didn’t need seismic data to know better and always called it “the mountain that moves”.

On to Blairmore, the home of the Crowsnest Pass Golf and Country Club. I’ve played that course many times, including with the Alberta Branch of the Notre Dame Hounds Alumni Association with one of their annual golf tournaments. Although from the highway, the holes you can see wouldn’t necessarily compel you to stop and play as they’re rather flat and treeless. But stop and play it is something I recommend: you will not believe how beautiful the holes are that are away from the highway. It’s absolutely stunning. The course offers a challenging layout and spectacular changes in elevation. It’s certainly worth the trip – it was awarded Gold in the Most Scenic category in the Golf West Magazine’s 2014 Readers Choice Award.

The Elk River runs alongside the highway for many kilometres – beautiful, clean water rushing towards the Kootenay Lake. This is such a scenic drive along this highway, especially in the summer months. Trees and mountains on both sides. Awesome.

In no time we will be crossing into the USA at Roosville from Grasmere, B.C. and we will be off to see restauranteur Trina Kelly at her On The Fly Cafe – for at least a coffee. It’s a roadside cafe with a reputation for great food, and we can’t wait. They’ve got a great menu, including a Power Smoothie with fruit, kale, spinach and chard!

Eureka, Afterall!

It won’t be long before we will be arriving in Whitefish. This is NEW territory to me and I can’t wait to discover. We’ve decided to stay just two nights at the Grouse Mountain Lodge and the third night, we’re going to stay and play (once again!) at the The Wilderness Club in Eureka. The golf course has been opened to the public now since 2010 and it’s a Nick Faldo design, and I’ve never golfed one of his designs before, so we’re super excited about that. I need to give a big shout out to Adam at The Wilderness Club’s Pro Shop for getting us the tee times – and the room reservations for Ruth and me!


– Eve

I’ll be setting my alarm and we’re T-24:00 and counting.

More to come.

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The tee box as it should be, with no one else on it, crowding the player.

The tee box as it should be, with no one else on it, crowding the player.

The Dixie Chicks may not have been ready to make nice in their 2007 hit country song, but the golf course is not just a place to be nice, but respectful – and kind.

My last entry about golf course etiquette was all about time management, and how golfers need to know how to manage so we can show up at the golf course with enough time to do the things we need to. That includes paying, a warm up and an equipment check – to make sure we have everything we need for our upcoming round.

Today I’m going to tell you what makes for good etiquette once you’re playing and this post deals with everything except the greens – as the greens warrant at least a post of its own!

So much of etiquette on the golf course is down to good manners as well as time management, once again! The course marshal will be the first one to let you know if your time management is lagging but you can see it straight away if you cannot keep up to the group in front of you. You won’t lag behind if you can keep them in your sight – so keep them in your sights!

Slow play is especially critical on busy golf days, when the foursomes are booked from sunrise to deep into the afternoon and everybody wants to be out, enjoying a round of golf. If you’re group is slow, the folks behind you are slowed down too, and that means that starting times, which may be spaced just 8 minutes apart, will get quickly backed up. That domino effect is bad for not just the reputation of the golf course, but the enjoyment of the players on, or about to get on, the course.

Don’t be afraid to wave the group behind you through. If you’re slow and they’re not, give them the break. And although single players don’t have priority on the course, I’ll wave them through – if there’s any room between my group and the group ahead.

Although the golf course isn’t the place to read up on the rules of the game, if you end up being in a situation where you need to consult the rule book, you should know where to look – and that’s much easier to do if you’ve read through it beforehand. The Rules of Golf are certainly complicated (and there are books published every couple of years called Decisions on the Rules of Golf that spell out particular circumstances and the rulings that went along with them). For the most part, however, you should know what to do with white, red, yellow and blue stakes and lines and what your relief should be if your ball ends up on the other side of those markings.

Be ready to make your shot when it’s your turn. That means that once the next-closest player to you has hit his or her ball, you need to quickly advance to your ball, assess which club you will need for the distance, and make your shot when it’s safe to do so. If the flight in front of you is on the green and you have the ability to reach them with your next shot, wait until the green is cleared before you hit your approach.

Don’t forget to yell “FORE” if your ball is in danger of hitting anyone at any time. You might not be able to see if people are on the adjacent fairway, but assume they are and they might get hit by your errant ball.

Don’t pay attention to only your ball: watch where your playing partners’ balls go too. Another set of eyes may help a player decide if they should play a provisional ball, for example, if it’s gone out of bounds, or will speed up the search for a ball that lands off the fairway. And don’t get ahead of where they are as you go up the fairway: not only do you risk being hit, having people in front of you as you make a shot can be disturbing. Don’t be rude: stay behind.

It doesn’t matter where you are on the course, never forget that you need to take good care of it. Unless you’re expressly told otherwise by the starter, you need to repair your divots the best you can – including on the tee box as well as the fairways. If you’re not sure how to repair divots, read this post by Patrick Hodgson on the correct way to repair divots. Usually there are wooden or plastic boxes with a mixture of grass seed and dirt in them located next to the tee box – so if you create a divot there, you can use the seed box to repair it. And if you’re driving a golf car, there are usually seed boxes on the car to help you repair your divots on the fairway.

If you’re driving a golf car, carrying your bag or using a hand cart, never park them on a tee box. Park your cart, bag or car on the cart path or grass next to the tee box. When partnering on a car, think about which of you should walk up to the green, taking their clubs with them for chipping and putting, while the other person takes the car green side.  Adhere to the 90 degree rule if it is mandatory, and stay off the fairways where indicated.  If you can drive on the fairways, try to stay out of damp areas, if you can.

It is common courtesy not to TALK when someone else is hitting their ball. (In my opinion, whispering is even worse! It’s the same no matter where you are on the course: on the tee, on the fairway or on the green. As for noise, don’t forget to turn off your cell phone, or put it on mute. After all, you’re outdoors and you should enjoy everything there is to enjoy about that outdoor experience: the birds singing, crickets and frogs chirping, the sound of the wind through the trees.

The picture I’ve used at the top of this post is one I took of my friend, Ruth, when we were at the beautiful Cobble Beach Golf Course on Georgian Bay in Ontario in July – it’s moved up 11 spots to being the 17th best public courses in Canada by – and we loved the course. I decided to use this picture because, since I’m talking about manners and golf course etiquette, you can see how much space she has on the tee box. No one is crowding her, she has all the space all to herself to make a great shot. And she did!

Make nice on the golf course. Your fellow players, and the golf course will appreciate it!

In my next entry about golf course etiquette, I’ll talk about manners on the greens.

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Etiquette in golf is not just good manners and being courteous!  It’s a code of behaviour that every player should learn.

First and foremost, golfers need to be time managers, both before they get to the course, and while they’re on it. Manage yourself so you arrive early – and be ready to play ahead of time.  I know it’s not always possible to do it — especially if you’re battling traffic or a meeting that’s gone on too long — but, in general, you should be at the course at least 45 minutes before your tee time. That will give you the time you need to check in and pay, warm up with a bucket of balls on the driving range, sink some putts on the putting green, and arrive at your #1 tee box 10 minutes ahead of time.

Those 45 minutes can also be used to cut down on the amount of fidgeting you might otherwise need to do if your golf bag isn’t properly organized – so give it the once-over before you hit your first ball on the driving range. That means that your clubs are in order, that you have everything you need. That will include: balls, tees, a pitch mark repair tool, a marker, a counter, and a good glove and may also include a range finder. It’s important to know where everything is within your bag.

When you check in at the pro shop, tell them your name and what your tee time is. Pay for your round of golf and for your range balls, if there is a fee.

Be courteous. Maybe you need to wait in line before you’re able to pay for your round, but that’s no reason to get upset. If you’ve managed your time, you will still have a lot of time before you need to tee off. And if you haven’t managed your time, it’s all on you! Remember: some of the pro shop employees are on their feet for long hours each day – and even when the rain keeps you at home, cosy and warm, they are at work, answering the phone, booking tee times, lessons and the like. Be good to them and they’ll be good to you.


Give your playing partner the tee box to his or herself. And don’t stand behind them.

While paying for your round, be sure to ask where the driving range is located, and where you should get the range balls from if it’s your first time there. Some courses have machines that distribute the balls with cards, money or tokens along side of the driving range; other courses have their personnel hand out the baskets from their club storage areas. It never hurts to ask, and solves the frustration of not knowing where to go beforehand.

Take time to warm up your body. If you’re lucky enough to be able to leave from home, you might want to warm up with some stretching before you leave. Then on the range, do some more light stretches before you hit any balls.  Be cognizant of other players on the range and make sure you are not impeding on their space or are either ahead or behind the designated hitting line.  Sometimes it’s astounding that people will hit balls from the carpet when all the other players are hitting from the grass, in front. Or one lone wolf will get onto the grass when everyone else is playing from the golf matts. Don’t be a lone wolf.

Be sure to over the scorecard.  There are can be up to five tee boxes on a course.  The most forward tees were at one time called the “Ladies” tees but they are not just for ladies but are usually the shortest tees.  First and foremost you should play from the tees that are compatible with your abilities.  I like to check the distance of the Par 4’s.  If I cannot reach the green in two shots I need to play from shorter tees.  PLAY FROM THE TEES BEST FOR YOU,  There will be the usual Rules that govern play and exceptions for local Rules.  An example of local rules may be to not drive in the fescue on a links course.  Make sure you read the rules.  Often there is a detailed map of the 18 holes.  Bonus!


If you’re on the tee box while a player is playing, you should stand to the side. Thanks to Tony and Taralea for being such great models!

Greet your playing partners with a handshake and a friendly “Have a good game!”  Inform the others in your group as to the tee boxes you will use.  Let each person have the tee box to themselves.  Don’t stand behind the player  – or anywhere in front of them.  One of my pros told me once that the only safe place to stand for a right handed player is about two club lengths behind the tee marker on the right side of the tee box.  (So just the opposite for left-handed players.)

For the number of seconds or a minute or so that the player has on the tee box, KEEP QUIET.  Nothing is so unnerving as chatter, chatter, chatter and then a sudden stop when you start the back swing.  There’s plenty of time to chat between the green and the next tee box.

I want to give a big shout out and thanks to our playing partners yesterday at The Canal at Delacour Golf Course – Tony Clark and Taralea Cameron. They were kind enough to let me take pictures of them to use in my etiquette series and just because the pictures show things the wrong way has absolutely no reflection on their golf course etiquette! They were great subjects, and great to play with! Thanks so much!

In my next instalment about golf course etiquette, I’ll talk about what you need to think about regarding etiquette once you are playing.


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