To say I suck at golfing, would be to pay a disservice to those who genuinely suck. So let’s just say I’m pretty bad. A relative novice with only 8 years in, of which I’ve only really golfed about 5-6 times a year (mathematically still a novice), “real” golf courses still intimidate me. (I blame a girlfriend from Calgary, who assured me I was going to get kicked off for going so slow by the “Marshall” my second time on a course).
Watching me unload my gear, you’d never know I wasn’t a “real” golfer, seeing as I have eight years worth of Christmas golfing gifts from my husband to show off. From my snazzy rolly cart (which the Mom in me can’t help but push like a stroller),
to my much-loved Rider glove, and snazzy new lightweight Nike shoes (Thanks to Chinook Pro shop). I’ve got everything I need … except the ability to golf well.
To be honest, I’m intimidated by the sport. With Marshall’s patrolling like Mall Cops on a powertrip, and the veteran course golfers rolling their eyes, tapping their toes impatiently, thinking “Oh my God, what is SHE doing on a golf course,” (and least that’s what I hear in my mind), all the while assuring me I’m doing “fine.”
That insecurity and worrying that I was slowing “real” golfers down, was why I was so excited to have discovered Gull Lake’s Meadowdale Sand Green Golf Course, a little 9-hole oasis. While it’s not exactly “off-the-beaten-track,” lying as it does alongside the Trans Canada Highway out in plain view, for me it’s the perfect mix of challenge (count 3 water hazards), with some easier holes. Best of all? There’s NO pressure to perform!
Heading out on a Sunday at noon, we were the only ones around, and dutifully paid our affordable $10 fees after signing in the guestbook which you’ll find right next to the large quonset turned clubhouse with it’s covered deck. (Used for events that the club hosts all season long).
After visiting the “facilities” (which weren’t as bad as they looked), we were ready to take on our first hole!
Teeing up, I was delighted to discover that rather than having to try to find a spot in the hard uncultivated ground to push your tee into, the folks at Meadowdale have made raised boxes with indoor outdoor carpeting upon them, and drilled holes on both sides of it, to allow both left and right-handed golfers to place their tees at the vantage point that suits them best. The easiest tee up you’ll ever have!
For those who have never played a sand green golf course – it’s just as you might imagine. Where normally you would find a soft supple green surrounding the cup and flag, here there is nothing but a large circle made of sand, and when your golf ball lands on it, rather than roll it will simply stop dead in its tracks.
When playing a sand green two of the most important things you have to remember (especially when playing on ones as nice as these), is that grooming the green for putting, both before AND after you putt, ensures that both you and those who follow you have the best possible surface to play on.
Grooming the Green
When you arrive at the “green” you’ll find a special two-sided rake left for you to be able to groom the green. One side of the rake is toothed to create a grooved surface on the sand, the other side of the rake is a straight edge to create a smooth putting surface.
After all of the golfer’s balls have reached the sand green, use the rake to smooth a path from the ball to the hole. (The concentric circles in the sand will allow you to pick up and move your ball to the equivalent spot on the smoothed out path, meaning only one path needs to be made for all golfers). Rake the smooth path over the hole, allowing any sand to fall in the removable cup, then remove the cup, empty it of sand and put it to the side until after the hole is played.
Once all putting is complete, the cup is then placed back in the hole and the toothed portion of the rake is used to groom the green, dragged in an ever-widening circular motion, beginning at the hole and working your way farther and farther from it. Once a good circumference of the green is raked, simply drag the rake over to the edge, where it will wait for the next players, and off you go to your next hole.
This course allowed me not only to have a fun and relaxing game of golf – having all that pressure eased from me actually allowed me to have a pretty good score too! (Well, pretty good for me – there were no 11’s this time!).
If you’re new to the game of golf, have a spouse with little experience but who wants to get better, or have a child or teen that wants to learn, heading out to a course like the Meadowdale allows everyone to learn at their own pace. For me this is a definitely #GoHere again Destination!
How to GoHere: Heading along the Trans Canada Highway you’ll find the Meadowdale Golf Course right next to the Sunbridge Wind Powered Rest Area, just a couple of kilometres East of Gull Lake on the south side of the highway.
Gotta Go?: I was quite dismayed when I saw the ramshackle old outhouse to the side of the clubhouse, but once inside was rather relieved to discover it to be odourless and quite clean (though there were still a ton of flies – an unavoidable outhouse hazard). Outfitted with hand sanitizer you’re good to go. Though you might have to slam the door quite hard to get it to shut. From the outside I had to give it a good kick to the bottom right hand corner before it would latch. (Note: The white building on Hole #4 is NOT a bathroom, it’s just a shelter – but there IS another outhouse after Hole #6!)
Good to Know:
- Cost for a game of golf is based on the honour system where they provide the receptacle and envelopes for you to place your money in…and you do the right thing and place your money in it. As the sign says “if you don’t pay, you don’t play.”
- Cost of playing on Meadowdale is $10.00 per DAY per person ($5 per student) Which I assume means that you can go around again and again!
- Don’t think you can “sneak” in without paying. While it’s not busy out there – it’s busy enough that there is always someone around keeping a watchful eye!
- Rental golf carts or clubs aren’t available out here but you are welcome to bring your own cart if you have one!
- This course has been in operation with a volunteer board since 1961! So they have the operations down to a science!
- Meadowdale hosts a men’s night every Tuesday and a ladies night every Wednesday during the regular golfing season. If you’re interested in heading out you can contact the Gull Lake Recreation office at (306) 672-4449 for more info.
- Cost for a yearly golf membership is really inexpensive: $140.00 for a family, single $90.00, and a student is $35.00.
- Bring a picnic for before or after your game, and enjoy it in the shade on the clubhouse deck.
- If you’re looking for a nice spot to stop and take a break, try the shaded bench on Hole #4.
- If it starts storming (as it did while we were there briefly), there are two emergency shelters at Hole #4 and another at Hole #8 in which to take cover. (And they don’t have that ewwy smell that some other wooden shelters have!).