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Family Affair – Times Spent on a Golf Course are the Best of Times

Photo caption: Sarah Hughes (on the right) holding her niece Mikayla. Their group stops for a photo halfway through the back nine at Bear Mountain Resort’s Mountain course, overlooking Victoria in the distance. A beautiful and memorable evening with family spent on a golf course.

by Sarah Hughes

Golf has always seemed to me to be particularly exclusive: you are either a golfer or you are not; you are either swinging the clubs or staying home. The options are so obviously mutually exclusive.

But I recently spent an evening on the course that has changed my perspective.

I have played a few times and even hit a fairly good drive or two, but I’ve never really understood how people can spend endless hours chasing a tiny white ball around miles of grass. Isn’t the game essentially the same no matter where you play; eighteen holes, one (hopefully) ball, a bunch of clubs with numbers on them and some over-mown grass? A recent experience gave me a different viewpoint and showed me just how accessible and enjoyable an evening of golf can be.

The sun languished in the late fall sky, barely clinging to the day as our group assembled on the first tee. Not quite the average foursome, our group consisted of three dedicated golfers, two dedicated wives, one along-for-the ride aunt, a two-year-old and a baby. The initial plan had been to drop the three men off at the course while we explore the resort but, as it was a quiet Tuesday night, the staff suggested the evening was just too perfect for all of us not to see the views Bear Mountain (in Victoria, BC) is becoming known for.

And so, equipped with three golf carts, four sets of clubs, goldfish crackers and a diaper bag, we headed out to the first hole. We would not be disappointed.

By the third hole, we had all settled into an easy (albeit unusual) routine: The three men intermittently ridiculed and congratulated each other on their respective shots; I had lost seven balls and a fair amount of dignity and decided to stick to driving the cart which is much easier to control than the ball; Mikayla, my two-year-old niece, was the designated get-the-ball-out-of-the-hole girl, a job she performed with the dedication of a nun. We would sit quietly (Mikayla having correctly ascertained that the quieter we were, the sooner the ball would be ready for retrieving) at the edge of the green until the putt sank, at which point she would dash over and fish the ball out of the cup. The system worked well for everyone because adults don’t really want to bend down and fetch their balls anyway. The two wives sat in the sun with the baby and enjoyed the scenery, each hole producing a different, glorious view.

The pub at the resort is conveniently located just before the third green, so I ran in and ordered us all some spring rolls, French fries and ciders which we carted off to the next hole. Everyone agreed that hot spring rolls and cold ciders on a beautiful golf course are nothing short of luxurious, and we munched our way through the next couple of holes.

The fifth hole was particularly exciting for our group with the discovery that Bambi (or a close relative) was napping in the sand trap and made no move to run away. In fact, the look he gave us left me feeling like we should apologize for the intrusion; thankfully, none of the shots hit him.

Anyone with children knows that once they start talking, they will imitate every word around them, and Mikayla is no exception. She began adding her two cents to the running commentary we were all providing for each other, at one point gravely shaking her head as a ball sailed past the cup and shouting, “Too much, Tim, too much!” Having your game critiqued by a toddler would make any man question his playing ability.

The evening ended with a lovely meal on the patio, everyone having thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It was absolutely not what I expected and, while such a rag-tag group may not be permitted on any course at any time, if the opportunity presents itself to you, on a particularly slow day at a less-than-orthodox establishment, I highly recommend you take it.

Sarah Hughes is a recent graduate of the University of Victoria (BC). For the past three years she has worked as a bartender at the Copper Rock lounge inside the Westin Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria.