Hillcrest Golf & Curling Club

I was born and raised, up until 10 years old, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Hillcrest was one of two golf courses in town (the one that didn’t have oil sand greens to putt on). Soon after my Grandpa Hank took me out to the fields to try swinging the golf club for the first time, we both recognized that the game was fun for me. Between my interest in golf and the amount of balls we lost down gopher holes, we just had to move on to a real course.

I remember vividly my walk from the parking lot to the proshop – Grandpa wanted to show me around the place. The smell of fresh cut grass and the pronounced sound of metal golf cleats crunching aggressively on the pavement from golfers passing by was as clear and definite as the perfection of the day. My Grandpa asked me to wait outside while he went into the proshop only to come out a few minutes later with the head teaching professional. He mentioned hearing I have an interest in the game and, if I would allow him, he would like to teach me a proper golf grip. From what I recall he may have shown me a few variations but I only ever remember going straight to the interlock grip. Perhaps it was his encouragement or maybe it just felt best, but that was and always has been the grip for me (and Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods…just sayin’).

And that’s where it all began.

My Grandma Jean, Grandma Verna, and Grandpa Hank took me out for my first round not too many days after that lesson. I recall being very nervous. I was bunkered green-side at the first hole and skulled one out of there so hard and directly at Grandma Vernas head. Oh man, lucky for me she went full Matrix and dodged the bullet. It took me a while to settle in to the round but my family was supportive. For the rest of the summer I beat balls down at Hooks N’ Slices, trying to hone my game. The driving range helped. The next time out with Grandma Verna, off the first tee, we both agreed I was safe to go and my ball sailed with a one hop past the group in front of us. We both went into a bit of shock – we then realized nobody was hit and we went into a mutual full belly laugh. I piped a drive and there was no looking back.

As that summer ended we moved out West to White Rock, BC where I would have to find a new way to play the game I loved but that summer of ’89 in Moose Jaw was two rounds of golf and a hundred buckets of balls – I was hooked.

As for Hillcrest, the course itself is pretty with several interesting shots. It is one of the few places in the town that has fairly significant elevation change as you play in, out, through and beside what I would describe as a large gully. The land isn’t huge so some of the holes are close to one another but what I find most charming is the trees they planted 100 years ago are now quite large and when they have their fullest foliage it is an absolute treat to try and rip a drive on a 400 yard par 4 without the luxury of being able to hit a 15 yard draw or fade, or push or pull. A great place to practice a fearless mindset as you have no choice but to split the middle. There are really only a few holes like that, and the course as a whole is a beauty!

Thank you to my loving Grandparents for taking the time to get me started in this great game. Rest in peace until we meet again.

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