Chip and Putt

By Lisa Lysen (Published)

“Fore!” Now that’s not typically a word you associate with snow and ice, but then part of the charm of cottage living is that things here are seldom typical.

Although technically it’s spring, a frosty layer of white still covers a barren, frozen lake, spreading seemingly forever toward the distant horizon. Loose powdery snow gusts and swirls everywhere, powered by biting, cold winds.

And at first glance Lundar Beach looks as deserted as you’d expect on a blustery day such as this.

But a little closer look reveals movement; colorful, unusual movement, parkas topped with scarves and toques, gloved hands clutching bright yellow tennis balls and golf clubs, even a boat paddle or two.

Since the 1980’s when the Danielson family hosted their first game of Snow Golf, getting out onto the lake to play a round and welcome spring to the beach has been an annual event for this up beat and fun cottage community.

Part of the challenge each year is that springtime in Manitoba is famously unpredictable. The last Saturday in March has sometimes been as friendly and welcoming as the cottagers who make Lundar Beach/Sugar Point their haven, other times as frigid and cold as, well, springtime in Manitoba.

But whatever the weather may be, it doesn’t stop the fun! Snow Golf is a tradition everyone looks forward. It’s a great way to get together after a long winter and “break the ice” so to speak. 

Hosts Renee and Barry Danielson, with the help of neighbour Scott Ward are careful to take precautions and make sure no actual dangerous ice is ever really broken.

Holes are drilled the day prior, carefully watched and always given a final inspection before the entertainment begins.

And whether its creativity or plain old cabin fever, a big huge part of the fun is planning the “golf course” each year. Imaginative homemade obstacles and improvised hazards are always being added to the venue, keeping things entertaining and interesting.

Snow Golf can look a lot like Snow Mini Golf, which captures the attention of players of all ages and and makes it a great family event.

Some years donations of discarded Christmas trees have provided “forests” to maneuver, another year a toilet seat appeared! Did someone say that was the “turd” hole? Yikes!

Names are drawn from a hat, mixing up teams and making it easy for everyone to mingle and chat after winter’s hibernation. Most years that works very well but occasionally the wind has joined the party, grabbed the hat full of papers and scattered golfers everywhere!

A “concession stand” is set up where players meet to warm up over snacks and beverages and brag a little or laugh a lot as they compare games and score cards.

And of course a day of playing outside on the ice is always better with a big pot of chili waiting inside a warm and welcoming cottage!

An after-party where everyone can kick back, relax, and enjoy chatting about some of the great putts and drives of the day is as much fun as golfing on the ice.

It all paves the way for warmer days to come, setting the mood for summertime sunshine!

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