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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

The jewel in the crown!

We started off this morning with a stunning sunrise over Fanny Bay. We had heard that the herring were running, but there was no activity in our neck of the woods, despite hearing that all of the fishing boats were on the water waiting for the herring in Parksville.

Sunrise over Fanny Bay this morning.

Today was the day we had been waiting for all winter! A chance to play at Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community. But we have a problem....

Richard has a bad back! Oh no! Not the way he wanted to be playing Crown Isle! Richard took and Advil extra strength and got down on the ground to try and stretch out his back, but nothing was working. He could barely walk, much less try and golf today!

We drove up to Crown Isle in Courtenay and we arrived at 10:45am which was quite early for our 11:36 tee time. When we checked in at the pro shop we were told that there had been a frost delay this morning, so we would be further delayed for our tee time.

The good news about the frost delay was that it gave us a chance to hit a bucket of balls on the driving range as well as check out the speed of the greens on the putting green. Richard needed the time on the range to figure out how he was going to be able to hit a golf ball today and the long time he had to warm up also gave the Robaxacet he found in his golf bag, a chance to take effect. We have definitely not had the chance to warm up on the range or putting green at Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club all winter, so this was a nice change of pace today.

We met Richard’s friend Mark and his buddy at the chipping area and headed over to the 1st tee.

Chipping green at Crown Isle Golf Course

A gaggle of women were blocking the path to the first tee and Richard had to ask a few of them to please move so that we could get down with our golf cart to the tee. The course was playing ’cart path only’ today, so it meant we would have a lot of walking to do over the course of the 18 holes.

1st hole selfie. The sun was shining and the temperature got up to 10C today, but it was still quite cool in the shade. My pink down vest came out great from the scrubbing I gave it the other day! It’s nice to be able to play golf without a jacket on in March!

The golf course has stunning views of the mountains from most holes. The nice thing about this golf course is you feel like you are the only people playing the golf course, because you can’t see the other holes, so you can’t see other people who are also playing.

Crown Isle is an 871 acre residential golf community in the heart of the Comox Valley in Courtenay, Vancouver Island, B.C. which was developed in 1988 by 2 individuals who had been in the timber business. The land was originally owned by the Tim Crown Zellerbach, an American pulp and paper company based in San Francisco, so hence the name “Crown Isle” which harkens back to the original owner’s name.. Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community embodies a lifestyle of friends, family and year round outdoor enjoyment. A championship 18 hole golf course is the centrepiece of Crown Isle, offering year round golf for enthusiasts of all levels of play. The clubhouse is a beautiful 46,000 square foot facility with many conference rooms and is a destination for members of the Crown Isle community. Crown Isle golf course is positioned in the midst of a large and growing housing development. This year 9 of the 11 homes sold in the Crown Isle community have sold for asking price or above asking price. There is always something new happening at the golf course with a new ‘Sand wedge’ snack shack being constructed with a tee deck being added to the roof of the snack shack. The completed structure will still have the snack counter and back patio, plus an added covered area with a brand new tee deck on top. The Clubhouse restaurant called ‘Timber Room’ is open 7 days a week from 11am-8pm and offers ‘Skip the Dishes’ for people who want take out delivered in the community. The community of Crown Isle has a saying “Come for a tee time, stay for a lifetime”. Last year Crown Isle Golf Club hosted the PGA of B.C. Championship and was also voted B.C.’s facility of the year, and the GM Bill Kelly, who Richard had contacted about our playing at Crown Isle today, was awarded the Executive Professional of the Year award.

In the backyard of one of the homes was this beautiful statue of two old timers sitting on a bench reading. The statue faced out at the golf course. I guess when the homeowners get too old to golf, they will sit on their bench and read!

Hole #4 - a par 3. I struggled on this hole. Triple bogey...ouch! I couldn’t chip on the front 9 for some unknown reason!

Mark’s buddy and Mark in the black. Neither Richard or I can remember the buddy’s name!

I had a pretty horrible front 9 on the golf course today, scoring way above my usual score for 9 holes. My chipping as I mentioned was just awful. There was not a lot of grass in front of the greens and there were aeration plugs of dirt as well, where they had aerated in front of the green. I’m used to chipping off grass onto the green and it is usually a strength of my game. Anyway, I plodded on until I hit the 12th hole - a 116 yard par 3.

I missed the green long on the par 3 and I made a very thin chip which went sailing away from the pin, but managed to stay on the green. I was probably 20 feet from the hole and at this point I’m angry with myself over how bad I continue to chip. I line up the putt and bang! It hits the back of the cup! My first PAR...and it took until the 12 hole to get it! Finally! I went on to par 13, and 14 both with 1 putts! Then on the 15th hole I made a great attempt at par, and just missed for a bogey on the long 411 yard par 5.

Now here comes the exciting part and the jewel in the crown (Isle) for the day...we came to the 16th green a par 3 - 126 yard hole from the white tees and 106 yards from the red tees. I said to the Mark and his buddy, “This sure looks like a very small green, over the water.” They said, “Look over there, the green is very skinny and extends over to the left”. I hadn’t even seen the left side of the green, since the pin was tucked on the right side of the hole. Anyway, the guys hit and 1 guy was long, 1 was on the green and Richard was just short of the green. I grabbed my 6 iron (which I had used for a hole in one in Florida a few years ago), and then I thought, that hole looks a tad uphill and the wind was in my face, so I went back to my bag and grabbed my 5 hybrid instead.

What I’ve found playing in B.C. this winter is that the ball does not go as far at sea level and with the wet fairways and greens, the ball just doesn’t roll as far. Trying to figure out what club to hit for the yardage is a real challenge.

Anyway, I stepped up and hit a beautiful 5 hybrid right at the pin and as its in the air Richard is yelling “that’s in the hole!” I stopped to watch and so did Mark and his buddy and the ball hit the green and rolled forward and sideways into the hole! A HOLE IN ONE! I was so excited. This was my 2nd hole in one, but my first one ever in Canada! Today was my first full championship length 18 holes of golf since I broke my femur on June 20th, 2020 and WOW! I got a hole in one. Amazing! I’ve been golfing for 28 years now and I’ve only ever seen 2 holes in one and they’ve both been mine! So that was kind of exciting! And I played with a ProV1 personalized golf ball that Richard had ordered for me which has the number 24 on it - for my basketball jersey # when I played basketball in University and ‘golferprincess’ in pink on the ball for my hotmail email address:

The hole in one ball...still a little dirty from the golf course today! I’m not going to play with it again!

I finished the 18th hole today with a double bogey. I just didn’t care and my back nine was a full 10 STROKES better than my front nine! Crazy!!!

When we finished our round we had to go into the clubhouse to have a drink and celebrate. To get to the ‘Timber Room’ I had to go through the pro shop and the pro asked me how my round was. I said “It was great! I had a hole in one!” He didn’t seem to hear me so I said “I really did have a hole in one!” He congratulated me and asked me if it was my first hole in one. I told him it was my first in Canada and the first time I had ever played Crown Isle.

As we were having a drink in the Timber Room to celebrate, the Head Pro came up to our table and presented me with a ‘Crown Isle Hole in One’ flag! I was shocked and delighted to get this souvenir of my round today!

My witnesses signing the hole in one flag!

Celebrating with our foursome today! Richard picked up the tab for drinks and luckily we kept it pretty quiet about the hole in one so he didn’t have to buy the entire clubhouse a drink today!

Wow! What a day. It seems surreal to get a hole in one when you aren’t even thinking about it. There are days when I golf that I would get to the last par 3 of the day and I would say to myself “this is the last chance to make a hole in one today!” And today when I wasn’t even thinking about making a hole in one, it goes in the hole! Crazy.

I went to the pro shop after our celebration to try and buy something that said “Crown Isle” on it, but the cash had already been closed for the evening, so I wasn’t able to purchase anything. I think we may play again next week so I’ve got my eye on a nice reversible Sun Ice golf vest that says ‘Crown Isle‘ on it as well as a head cover that says ’Crown Isle’ for the 5 hybrid that I had the hole in one with. The ironic thing about that same club is we lost the head cover for the club early on in our stay here, while playing Qualicum Beach one day. I think it fell off in the parking lot when Richard was putting the clubs back in the car, and we never did find it, so I’ve been playing all winter with no head cover on this club, which is not normal for me.

We drove home just as the sun was setting. What a great day, despite not having the best score on the course today. Sometimes the score is irrelevant! What a jewel in the crown of Crown Isle today and another lasting memory of a nice day on the golf course!

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