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(2011 - Fall/Winter Issue)


Long gone are the days when a golf getaway was just for the guys! 

So, with the words and music of Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 anthem Girls Just Want to Have Funin mind, our ultimate girls’ golf adventure began.

We’re four avid golfers who enjoy several rounds together each summer. Our idea to trade in April showers in Alberta for the hot dry desert air of Arizona was inspired over a bottle of wine by the desire to pull off the ultimate surprise getaway for Heather. She was celebrating her 60th year with a unique adventure every month this year with various friends and family members.  

We decided early on that the focus would be on golf and spending time enjoying each other’s company. Access to a friend’s vacation home in Mesa, Arizona, offered the perfect setting. Angela and Jan love to cook while I consider myself a pretty good bartender who can open a bottle of wine in record time—thus leaving the birthday girl plenty of time to just have fun.

A Successful Surprise

Having had two months to organize, our surprise trip was unveiled at the Calgary airport when Heather returned from her March birthday adventure, which she celebrated with childhood girlfriends, all of whom were also turning 60 this year.

With purple boas, top hats and balloons in hand, we sang a rather embarrassing rendition of Happy Birthday as Heather descended the escalator to claim her luggage. Travellers and airport employees embraced the unexpected fanfare with a great round of applause. 

As the shock faded, festivities continued with an overnight stay at the Delta Airport Hotel. Heather’s daughter had packed golf clubs and an appropriate wardrobe, so other than realizing we were embarking on a golf getaway, the destination was not revealed until we reached the departure gate for our flight to Phoenix. It was amazing to see smiles appear on the faces of travellers as Heather made her way through the airport adorned in her 60th birthday tiara, boa and balloons. 

Golf Havens

Over the next five days we enjoyed four rounds hitting the links at three of Mesa’s 40 premier golf courses. Staying in the golf community of Las Sendas, we played the Las Sendas Golf Club twice. Consistently rated among the top 100 courses in the nation by ZAGAT Surveys, this Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed desert golf course with its narrow fairways fit our individual games well, the secret being not to kill the ball but to pick a target and hit it straight down the fairway.   

Our next stop was a special treat. Following in the footsteps of Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa, we played a round at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club. Developed as a private club set within the shadow of Superstition Mountain, it currently offers public day access. We received a five-star welcome at the security gate and were directed to the impressive clubhouse. Having checked in and with a few minutes to spare, we headed over to the Pro Shop, which offered an excellent selection of golf apparel. Sometimes, shopping just needs to take precedence over the driving range and putting green. Of the two Jack Nicklaus-designed courses on-site, we embraced the challenge and opted to play Prospector with its wide fairways, lightning fast greens and spectacular vistas.

It’s All About Shoes

After recording respectable scores, it was time to reward ourselves with some retail therapy at the PGA Superstore. Two hours later we were all delighted with our assortment of spiffy golf shoes and the latest in golf apparel.

It was a unanimous vote. Our final round played at Longbow Golf Club won the prize for the most courteous player assistant when he graciously recognized our consistent golf ability and pace of play. Rated one of Arizona’s “top 20 public access courses” in Golfweek’s 2010 Best Courses You Can Play State-by-State, Longbow has water coming into play on several holes as well as an encroaching desert layout, making it important to keep it on the green stuff.

Our five days flew by and the ultimate birthday surprise came to an end with a new anthem imbedded in our minds, Hey, Soul Sister by Train. We just couldn’t help but smile every time it was played.

The next big challenge now rests with Heather as she contemplates what to do for our 60th birthdays. Luckily she has a few years to plan.

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