#WMPO The Bucket List

This weekend was the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona. Due to the travel restrictions, we are watching with minus 38 degrees and our fireplace is on in northern Saskatchewan. It has been labelled the “Greatest Show on Grass” and rightly so. Usually this tournament will attract more than one million fans and of course the rowdy par 3 hole #16 is daunting to any player as the fans show disapproval loudly and often.

125 Men enter, 1 Man leaves

I remember when times were very different and we had been invited to experience a day at this iconic golf course in Scottsdale Arizona during the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Lyle and I picked up our tournament package and found purple wrists bands that gave us access to the VIP hospitality at The Bay Club on the 17th fairway. We had parking passes and a luxury coach access to take us directly to our express entrance. There was a first class premium experience from the moment we arrived on site with hot lattes for breakfast. We arranged ourselves on plush furniture , the music was playing softly in the background and we sat in the front row, watching players arrive to play this drivable par 4 with water close to the green. All the celebrities and stars of the game were playing . The challenge on this hole was the choice to drive the ball the distance and earn an opportunity to card an eagle or risk your ball flying into the water hazard. Risk or reward.

We were able to witness one of golfs great lessons on that day. Gary Woodland , the defending champion was walking the course with a young AZ State High School golfer when he asked her if she would like to play the 16th hole with him. Amy was ready to play and grabbed her club. She was fearless. She hit her tee shot into a bunker and as she walked up the fairway, she planned the next shot. Happy and excited she was heard to be saying to herself, “I ve got this” with conviction and quickly hit the shot up to the green where she then parred the hole . Gary Woodland was impressed with her shot but more impressed with her attitude, Amy was the inspiration for Woodland to go on and win the tournament.

Amy has Down’s syndrome which may have caused some physical or mental developmental delays, yet she has qualified to play two high school championships and Special Olympics events. She has been an inspiration to a lot of golfers since that day in February 2018. Amy believes in what she has been taught, the mechanics of the game, but also the philosophy of staying in the moment. It has been said that we only have one shot, our next shot and yes, we have got this one if we can just believe. Amy believes in Amy and its not complicated. She loves the game.

This year, the drivable par four 17th hole held lots of drama as the eagle chance was a chip in that set up Brooks Koepka for the win on Sunday. Recently, Brooks has been recovering from injury and working hard to make the cut at tournaments but he believes in himself. With this win, he showed us all it is focus and faith, just one glorious shot at a time.

Golf can be a lonely difficult game but it can also be a joyful, dramatic, perfect moment if you play one shot at a time. I remember the message posted over the entrance as we arrived at the tournament in Scottsdale, 125 will enter and only one man leaves the winner, yet, when I remember this tournament it will always be Amy who played one hole – who also won that day and reminded us all why we love this game . Gary Woodland ended up the champion on that Sunday with a minus 18 score. He won with inspiration and a lesson in joy and belief and friendship that he may never forget and every fan who loves the game will never forget the determined, confident joyful girl who lead him to his destiny.

always in friendship,

Wendy

The Monkey Match at Bermuda Dunes

I love Palm Springs for many reasons but especially for the quality of the golf courses. Almost as soon as we started to travel and play a lot of golf, we found the legendary course at Bermuda Dunes Golf Course and became members.

There is a lot of history that trails these beautiful twenty seven holes of traditional golf in the desert. The Bob Hope Classic was played here almost fifty times. Many celebrities and professionals enjoyed a golf game at Bermuda Dunes. Becoming a member allows you to play unlimited golf and enjoy the time spent with other members.

We met Alan and Jickey just by chance, as all of the morning members circled in their carts, ready to start the day. Lyle shouted hello as the beautiful pearl white custom golf cart cruised slowly by and came to a stop. Alan tossed us a grin and invited us to play. Game on.

That season we played a lot of golf together and as the snow crept over the mountain tops around us and the season changed to winter, we made plans to celebrate Christmas together. Of course we wanted to play some golf and Lyle had just the solution. Even though the clubhouse would be closed for Christmas day, we were given permission to play. Since we did not own a golf cart, we would have to walk the course. Lyle suggested we plan a short game, a monkey match, where each player chooses only one club from their bag to play every shot from driving to putting. Four couples were invited to the match and the game was on.

Everyone decided to walk, carrying only the one club they had chosen for the day. I chose a club that would give me some reasonable distance from the tee box of the par 4 holes but would also be forgiving enough to chip and putt. I chose my four hybrid. Lyle carried his six iron – still long on the drive, he played that club like a wedge around the greens.

It was a special day, colder than most in the desert. The sun shone very brightly and the grass was perfect. There was not another person playing anywhere on the course on this Christmas Day. The best part of the game was the walk between each shot with our friends. We spoke about long ago holiday traditions and golf game memories, including our most treasured club and why we chose the one club for this match up. We watched every shot from every player across skill level, ability and attitude. Our lesson on this magical day was accepting the results from the only club you were able to use. It was a glorious day, a humbling game.

My golf game always reveals a lesson and this Monkey Match Christmas game was no different. No matter our age or ability, we all have something to share. When you are open to friendship and connect with others, there is so much joy!

The true gift of the season was right there – walking the course, making memories, one club at a time.

always in friendship,

Wendy & Lyle

A Golf game to remember.

Receive And Accept.

 Yesterday, I played a round of golf I will always remember.

I am a true amateur,  joining this game late in life. My passion is obvious while I learn to be a better player, watching the best in the game I become a mimic.    I have always been an athlete of sorts, playing organized sports and training for physical strength but never playing golf. My grandparents loved this sport and I remember joining them on Sundays in front of the television as the tournament kept them both locked in for the afternoon, discussing players ability and the outcome. This was my introduction to golf.

Celebrating the year I turned fifty, I bought a set of golf clubs and went searching for my passion. It was a desire to play, spend time outside in nature and honor my grandparents. Since then, I have traveled and played golf in some of the most beautiful courses in North America and Mexico. #100daysofgolftrip

What makes a round of golf so special? There is a peace in that moment  when you take in your surroundings, smile and breathe deeply and and truly see your shot in your minds eye. Everything slows down, harmony and balance can create birdie chances.

On this special day, I was driving long and straight into the rising sun. My three wood was kind to me. My wedge shots were accurate and landed very close to the flag. I had many birdie chances. I accept that I am good enough, to use a very good golf ball that matches up with my Taylormade clubs and really improves my game. My spouse is my coach  and although it is not always easy to listen, I accept his advice to square up my club face with a strong grip and get turned through the swing. The lessons sometimes sound like criticism to me – I need to accept it and let it make me a better player. Sometimes I resist being told all the secrets,I just want to play my own way but as my game creeps closer to the forest edge and out of bounds, I need to pause and remember by accepting the lessons I can play the best game of my life.

Kevin Na is a PGA  golf professional who had a fierce, very public debate with his caddie at the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational tournament. After observing the results of players ahead of Na on the course, his caddie strongly advised against a particular shot going into the green on #9( Na’s final hole of the day). They argued loudly, Na played the shot he wanted anyway and holed out. He eventually went on to win the tournament with one of the best rounds of his career. Success.

Golf can be tough and frustrating and also peaceful and so smooth. Listen to the lessons and  celebrate one great shot. By doing my very best in each moment of the game, it is leading to my next best moment and a game to remember.

What we do today matters most. Enjoy it.

always in friendship,

Wendy

The Homecoming

        So good to be home!                                                                                                                                                                                     The snow geese are flying north and the first robins of springtime have finally arrived at the lake. The prairie sky is so blue and the springtime winds will push the ice from the lake and the temperatures will rise very soon. Today we are golfing with colorful down filled jackets and gloves, walking this course. The grass is dormant and still brown. Leaves from the fall are curled and brown, crispy patches of danger if your ball rolls too far to the side of the fairway. We are challenging ourselves again,  to play one shot at a time, to improve no matter the weather or course conditions. There is a lesson if we are listening.

We left in the fall, for an epic adventure and a challenge to play 100 days of golf. Even if golf is not your interest, we hope that our travels, the photographs and the stories of friendship and all of the lessons we have learned along the way will inspire you to live your life fully.

We loaded the black beauty, our rugged Jeep Sahara Unlimited and set off on a journey of 10,000  miles. The agenda was not very clear..to golf 100 days..search for peace , find our tribe and to enjoy every precious moment. Lyle and I both love the game of golf. As we play in nature we celebrate staying in the moment. There is no perfection in golf, we just get mindful and share one shot at a time.

                                                                                Golf has strengthened our relationship. We play with respect and trust and a lot of fun. He makes the game seem easy with talent and grace. I have listened to coaching advice and learned to see the shot and believe I can hit it.  Together we are better. The adventure ahead is grand and exciting and tough all at the same time. This is a road trip that will cover 16 states and Mexico.

This was a journey of a lifetime. We played the best managed golf courses in the most beautiful places. We stayed in Villas and hotel rooms in cities scattered across the southern states and Mexico. Every day we would reflect on the friends we had made and their stories and the valuable lessons they showed us. The weather was a story all by itself. There was drama with storms and tornadoes and extreme heat and then snow in the most unlikely desert regions. We are looking forward to sharing it all with you.

Today we are home. The black beauty sits quietly in the driveway and we rest and reflect on it all. So thankful to be home, in the beautiful northern forest near our lake. It reinforces the message, no matter how far you travel and all the wonders you may see, truly there is no place like home.

Enjoy every beautiful day,

Lyle& Wendy