The Addiction Grows

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From the tee on our local 15th hole, looking out towards the incredible fall colors of the trees and Norman!

It has been one year.

One year since we goofed around on a golf course with Lynn and Miki and broke 2 golf clubs and tore something in Alistair’s arm and we laughed and drank some bevvies and won the Most Honest Team award at the local pond hockey golf tournament.

The day our obsession with golf began.

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Alistair, having just made par

In that year we’ve practiced, we’ve learned, we’ve watched professionals and we’ve actually improved!

I’ve played in 3 golf tournaments and didn’t completely embarrass myself in any of them.

My team-mates have been wonderfully supportive and encouraging (addicts always hang around enablers, remember) and in the Missoula tournament I subbed in at the last minute we even used my drive much of the time in a ‘best-ball’ format.

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Little girl with her Glacier Ice Rink golf challenge team-mates and the bar-car drivers. Cheers!

Thanks Mitch, Tom and Brett for a fun day and thanks, Mike for not being able to attend.

And thanks, Tom, again for asking me to join in this year’s pond hockey golf tournament a week ago.

I played with Tom, his dad and his father-in-law… 2 guys in their 70s getting out, hitting balls, laughing and enjoying a great day together. We had some spectacular shots on the Marshmallow Drive hole and my drive at the mandatory Happy Gilmore Drive Hole made the local newspaper.

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Tom, nailing that marshmallow!

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Seeley Swan Pathfinder… glad they captioned this

We have created back-yard practice ranges in both Bismarck and Seeley Lake.

Alistair has large round hay bales stacked up with a tarp covering them. He drives into them or works on pitching over top of them.

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Fyfe’s Driving & Pitching Range

We both work on chipping into round black grain buckets and I can work on pitching across the back yard here in Montana.

Its been such a kick seeing little improvements as we play.

Like, not having to take a second drive once in 18 holes.

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BOOM!

Or not swinging-and-missing… I honestly haven’t done that in a couple of weeks now!

And we continue to laugh with each other and talk about the game and listen to Spirit of UB point out Subarus on the highway or hear Spirit of Loki say, in her gravelly voice, “Lets DO this thing!”

Ball finding is a highlight, even if we’re mavericks about it.

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What sign?

We’ve learned that the ultimate in ball-finding is after a tournament. I mean, its a no-brainer when you think about it but this is our first season and our faces light up as we discover these things, whipping the ball grabber out of my bag, almost skipping to the creeks. Even if we play crappy golf its still a win if we end up ahead on the ball count.

We’ve met a lot of new people and wave at each other when we recognize golf carts or golf styles. Or my outfits.

I love my golf wardrobe.

Even more so now that Victoria’s Secret makes a cute golf skort!

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My VS skort… need to get it in black as well…

We’ve enjoyed following the PGA, learning different styles of play and watching players hit their stride, like Rory McIlroy and Billy Horshel. Its so exciting right now with the Ryder Cup being one week away! Its in Scotland this year and the European team is strong.

They have the young Victor Dubuisson from France, who our ferret, Phillipa is in love with. Phillipa and Calypso are French and they constantly debate the play of Dubuisson and the Italian Molinari brothers with Luigi… our Italian ferret.

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Calypso and Luigi… talking Dubuisson vs Molinari

Phillipa loves Dubuisson’s red pants, his goatee and his accent. Personally, I think he’s an excellent player who would do well on the PGA alongside other Euro greats like McIlroy, Rose, Garcia and GMac.

I love loving this game.

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Loving the game, ready to tee off!

I’ve learned it is the perfect outlet for me when my head is full of a million other things. When Alistair is in Bismarck I prefer to play alone rather than with everyone who invites me along. It is, perhaps, the physical version of writing in my journal… a release.

It is coming in quite handy right now as I worry about our little Loki.

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Snoring in my lap as I write this blog

Loki woke up with what we call an Acute Eye a couple of mornings ago.

It wasn’t a typical red-eye or soreness. This was a hugely swollen globe with thickened, red eyelids, some drainage and, for the first time, pain.

She swiped and pawed at it as much as she could if I wasn’t holding her. Thankfully I had some meds for inflammation and eye ointment but I’m not 100% certain we are going to save this eye.

Not that she needs it, being mostly blind, but I do think she perceives light. I’d also just like to avoid surgery altogether in this slightly high-risk senior girl.

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Sleep-chewing on her friend, Porter’s toy this summer

The specialists are on board and I got stronger eye meds yesterday in Missoula. The swelling is gone, as is the discomfort. She and I will hit the road once more this year to Great Falls bright and early tomorrow morning to see about keeping the eye.

Which is why I will go outside soon to our gorgeous local golf course and I will hit balls.

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Managed a par on the par 4 10th hole even!

And maybe I’ll make par and maybe I’ll make birdie or maybe I’ll even swing-and-miss.

I don’t care. I want to clear my mind and make it open for tomorrow so I can be a stronger, better Step-Gammy for Loki.

Alistair is in Bismarck so I’ll play alone and hopefully nobody will invite me to play today.

Hopefully I will swing well.

Hopefully the Ryder Cup is as exciting as the ferrets and we are hoping.

Hopefully Loki will keep her eye.

And hopefully golf will continue to be a fun passion for Alistair and I. A torn medial meniscus couldn’t stop him swinging golf clubs this summer so I foresee a lot of golf in our futures.

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24 hours post-op for medial meniscus repair…

And a lot of practicing.

And learning.

And colorful skorts and gloves.

And laughing.

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Branching out, playing at the Ranch Club in Missoula

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Clearing our minds out at the Ranch Club

 

 

My Latest Addiction

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I’ve been bitten by the golf bug.

Hard.

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Its nothing like a simple mosquito bite, either. One of those irritating, inflamed bumps that annoy you for a few days and then disappears until your next one.

No, this bug bite is entirely different.

Its addicting.

Its all-consuming.

I’ve even had dreams about it and I’ve only been playing since the very end of September last year.

I blame Tom, Mike, Lynn, Miki, and the beautiful local golf course. These 4 individuals encouraged us to put together a team for a fun fund-raiser for the local pond hockey tournament.

Alistair and I didn’t play golf.

Well….

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There was this one time, back in 1995.

“It will be fun,” they said. “Its just to raise money,” they added. “It’ll be a great send-off for the vet girls,” I heard. “We’ll wear our Dog Days shirts,” was suggested.

So, the Diamonds in the Ruff team was formed and golf (or, something like it) was played.

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Alistair broke 2 golf clubs, I did a cartwheel at the “Happy Gilmore” hole and some bevvies were consumed. Lynn and I did so poorly on one hole that we gave up and just drove. The carts, that is.

We won an award for the “most honest” team.

The sad truth is that I fudged a couple of numbers and we still got last.

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The strangest thing happened, though- we had a blast.

I blame Alistair, Lynn, Miki and Tim for reinforcing our newfound passion last fall.  I, like any addict, sought out their encouragement, knowing they would continue to enable me. Often by joining me.

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Without the clinic keeping me busy I would head out on the nearly empty, picturesque, tree-lined course and bang balls around.

Some even went into their holes in less than 10 shots.

Then 9. Then 8.

When people used to ask us if we played golf I would jokingly say that I was going to take it up when I was too old to do anything else.

I secretly rolled my eyes, wondering how anyone could play the game, let alone watch it on TV. (This from a woman who watches curling but I’m Canadian and nobody questions that up there).

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We started making par occasionally but then the snow came down and we actually got booted off the course in November… apparently they had anti-fungal treatments on the ground. Who knew?

So we did the unthinkable and watched golf on TV.

We bought videos.

We practiced putting with a golf game my sister-in-law found for us. Christmas was a great haul at the Fyfe house.

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I confess that I might have taken this up earlier had I known there was so much shopping involved!

Cute shoes, pink balls, socks with rhinestones, golf clubs with lots of purple, fancy skorts, matching shirts, a spiffy towel, funky gloves…. and a golf cart.

A blinged-out masterpiece with fenders and headlights.

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His name is Norman.

The golf pro tells us, “you 3 have fun out there.”

It makes sense that a couple of Fyfes are playing golf. Alistair’s own parents were raised in Scotland, even going to St.Andrew’s. Not that either of them played and we just never bothered.

A lot of hockey players golf but I’m not sure if many figure skaters do. Yet, there are some similarities.

You are often alone inside your head when practicing golf and skating. This leads to discussions with oneself.

On the ice it was ‘I didn’t trace that bracket very well’; ‘Liz has the cutest outfit today’; ‘Point the toe, point the toe, point the toe’; ‘I wonder what’s for supper’; ‘How many calories did I eat at lunch; and, ‘Left arm checked going into the double lutz.’

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With golf you can run an entire conversation with yourself much the same way.

‘Thumbs aligned’; ‘I totally love this skort!’; ‘Rotate shoulders and ribcage together’; ‘I wonder if Alistair wants to eat at Lindey’s tonight’ and ‘Eye on the ball, Tanya. Eye on the ball.’

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Both sports can get terribly expensive.

Both sports require patience.

You can’t do either sport well wearing a lot of bulky clothing.

I enjoy the similarities and the work ethic involved with both sports. I love that I can improve every single day for every year for the rest of my life. I love being outside in the fresh air with Alistair as we both strive for continual improvement.

I love Norman, Loudmouth skorts, my wine glass covered glove, Michelle Wie, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson’s unorthodox style, Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson (who looks more like Juaquin Phoenix than Juaquin Phoenix) and the fact I can share this game with friends and family when they come to visit.

I love that our trips to Hawaii have a whole new dimension now with the enjoyment of the outstanding, ocean-view golf courses that are usually located at our resorts.

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I have even started taking lessons.

I don’t include the group lesson I took on Kauai, where I basically had a shit-eating grin on my face the whole time. I was just so thrilled to have some guidance and drive a cart around a lush, fancy-shmancy, tropical island golf course.

My first real lesson was yesterday.

I’ll admit it. I kind of suck right now.

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And yet I still love it! Amazing.

I went and drove balls this afternoon but there were no tee times available with the long weekend. It was wonderful to see so many other people enjoying the course.

Alistair has 4 large round hay bales stacked in Bismarck. He drives golf balls right into them or he works on pitching them overtop. You have to admire his tenacity.

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I love that golf is a game for one person or a bunch of people. Skating isn’t like that unless you’re into synchro. In fact, we used to get in trouble if we were standing around talking at the boards.

I also love that golf is a warm-weather game. I spent more than 25 years in a refrigeration system. It got cold.

Don’t get me wrong- I love skating. And skiing. And snow-shoeing. And snowmobiling.

Its just that, given the choice, I’d rather be warm.

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An extra bonus is the fact that I get to wear all of the polo shirts I bought for my clinic over the years as well as the fancy slacks I used to wear at the larger clinic I worked at in Bismarck. Who knew my sense of style leaned towards “golf” back then?

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I’d like to see more women on the golf course. I know its easier for me to enjoy the game with my partner because we are both at a similar level. We’re also both competitive and athletically driven, which makes us well-matched.

We also can laugh at ourselves and crack jokes as we’re out there.

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And Spirit of UB will make a comment or Spirit of Cleo almost always has something to say in her southern drawl, like, “Nice shot, Daddy.”

Its how we roll.

With fenders.

In Norman.

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So if you’re driving along the highway & you see us whacking at balls or digging in the tall grasses to find one, go ahead and honk.

Better yet, get out and enjoy the game.

You’re never too old to start something new. Hell, you might even become addicted. As long as you have friends eager to enable you, you’ll do just fine.

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We’ve come a long way, Baby!