A Round of Nine on the Park Meadows at Osoyoos Golf Club

Foot on the brake pedal we shifted into drive then pulled the Tacoma off the driveway turning left, a quick right and another left we traveled down route 97 for a block and turn right beside the peach orchards. Heading west we drove a kilometre veered left between another set of orchards and turned right onto Golf Course Road which leads up to the multimillion dollar homes snuggling against Osoyoos Golf Club.

Into the lower parking lot we eased the Tacoma into a corner space than started pulling out clubs, shoes and water bottles. Grandpa whipped into the lot, shoved his new Nissan Murano into a space and rounded up a couple of golf carts from the twin row of awaiting carts.

Clubs into the cart each of us drove up to the Pro Shop. Stepping out Grandpa says, “you just need to go inside and see Marianne, she’ll take your money for the rounds and cart.” Opening the door we collided with the cool breeze of air-conditioning then perused the merchandise whilst Marianne dealt with another customer. Stepping back out of the pro-shop my head turned saying, “that’s a sweet discount, $72.95 for two rounds of nine with a golf cart! Yesterday when I was looking at other courses they were like $40 for just the round. GP golf discount strikes again!”

You two ready to go?” says Grandpa as we neared the carts, “yup, let’s hit a few balls to warm up,” we replied in unison. Up two short hills we drove then stood at the back of our carts looking at our golf bags when I heard Shauna say to Grandpa, “Which clubs do you like to warm up with?” He pondered it for a moment then said, “I usually warm up with a driver, a long iron and a short iron.”What about you?” she says looking at me, “Since I have not swung a club in a year, I’ll be warming up with a wood, a long iron, my 7 and the 9. You?,” She shrugged withdrew four clubs then wandered off to grab her bucket of balls.

Each of us set down our clubs in their respective rest, dumped our balls into the holding area next to our tee boxes and began our warm-up. Whilst I began stretching and limbering up Grandpa teed up and whacked away at balls. Dead on, straighter than a ruler and straight up the practice field towards the waving coloured flags. Sheesh, he gets out a lot! I thought and rightfully so, he is retired! then I laughed to myself as I kept stretching and watching each of them tee up and smack balls.

Back in the tee box I pulled at a ball and thought to myself; knees bent slightly, arms straight, stare at the friggin’ ball on the ground, easy back swing, follow through and chunk the club smacked the carpet as the ball skipped six feet in front of us. “SHIT! remarked I followed by laughter. It took another fifteen balls before I felt good with the 3-iron and switched up to the 5 for 10-balls. Next up my favourite club my 7-iron. Teeing up the first ball, I set to the swing smacking it straight down the practice area. Ball up, ball out, one after the next always consistent. There never seemed to be cob-webs with this club. Setting it down I chipped six or seven balls with the 9-iron. Set it down and picked up the 3-wood. A couple of practice swings then ball on the tee.

Crushed it, with a slice. Crushed it, with a fade. Crushed it “SHIT!” why can’t I get this under control? I thought. Breathe, calm, be one with the ball… steadying my nerves and placed another ball. Slow down, watch the ball on the ground, line it up. A gentle back swing and an easy follow through the metal face met the bumpy faced ball as it scrrrrrrrreamed its way up the practice range flying past the last flag and kissing the net at the back of the practice area. “Wow that was a nice shot!” says Grandpa, “looks like you’re ready for the putting green.”

Down at the putting green my mind drifted back to my youth and the slogan of Drive for show and Putt for dough. I pulled three balls and laid them on the green. Lining up a 3-foot shot. Stroke after stroke practicing from 3-feet, then 6-feet, then 9-feet and wrapping up with 12-feet. Then repeat at a different hole. “Damn, it’s hot out here,” I said to them, “I’m going to get some more water, you two want anything?” They smiled and shook their heads no.

Upon my return Grandpa looked at his watch then said, “let’s see if we can go out early,” and drove off towards the first hole. Our tee-time was 2:30pm and we were already at hole one by 2:03pm. The man was pumped to go.

Just before he teed up a two-some arrived informing they were the 2:10 group, followed by a foursome whom claimed also to be the 2:10pm group. One had booked online and one had booked through the phone. Everyone laughed as each group teed up and walked off the box to enjoy their afternoons.

At 2:33pm I motioned to Grandpa who teed up his 1st ball of the day for the 1st hole. “I don’t think I can hit them,” he says. “Yeah, I think you are good,” I replied. Smooth as butter his swing went into motion pulling the club head back and as it fell the ball crushed straight off the tee box floating in the air as it fell onto the fairway, “Nice shot,” was the response to his blossoming smile, which I would continue saying at every tee box for the entire nine holes.

Peeling back the golf cart we zigged and zagged across each fairway searching for our balls after each fade or slice and the occasional fairway drive. We followed Grandpa and admired his tenacity as he spoke minor instructions, “hit through the ball, hit low, dial it in, program that up, remember that feeling,” on and on the list of encouraging words came out as we played.

At the end of each hole we’d mark out our scores on the score card; 5 for Grandpa, 6 for Aaron, 8 for Shauna. We repeated this over and over again. Here and there we’d adjust up or down the scores and after eight holes completed Grandpa lead with a score of 38.

Grandpa waved me to the tee box, “your up with that birdie on eight,” he says. Standing at the tee box my eyes peered out down the fairway. A long stretch of green with trees on either side. Ball down, swing up, moving through the ball the driver smacked the ball as Grandpa says, “That was one heck of a shot there!” It only took nine holes to dial that in,” I replied with a smile.

Standing on the ninth green, we stood each of us smiling and looking over the score card. We shook hands and thanked each other for the round. Then drove the carts back to our respective vehicles to unload the carts and head back down the hill to the homestead where we’d eat up our dinner, talking with Grandma about the round of nine.

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