I golfed nine holes for the first time in 13 or 14 years. It was an invitation from the Wednesday night ladies at The Hollies Golf Club in Port Alberni, and it was one I couldn’t refuse.
Fortunately, they’re good sports. They partnered me up with another journalist who had minimal golfing experience as well. We shared our shots and managed to get around the course before dark. It was good fun and good exercise.
Walking into the clubhouse, things got really interesting. I glanced up at something fluttering, and discovered the ceiling was covered in scorecards and five-dollar bills.
Here’s the story: Hollies owner Patrick Little was golfing in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories last summer on a dream trip his wife Jackie Little had bought for him. Yellowknife Golf Club was pretty much the only place in Canada Patrick had not golfed.
The golf course is unique in that it has sand fairways and artificial turf greens. Golfers are given a small piece of carpet for teeing off, Patrick related. And the clubhouse is covered in golfers’ names: the ceiling, walls, other surfaces.
Patrick said he walked into that clubhouse and thought, “wow, this is something I want to have at The Hollies.”
Someone suggested to him that he pin money to his ceiling, not just autographs. He laughed. But some of his regular golfers took him seriously when he returned home and told them about the Yellowknife clubhouse.
Gail Bridge was the first one to pin her scorecard and a fiver on the ceiling. The second, says Patrick, was Mick Jagger’s bodyguard, who apparently played a week’s worth of golf at The Hollies.
It took off from there. Names in black are male golfers, names in red are ladies and names in blue are businesses (the Golf Channel is up there too). There are scorecards signed by visitors from Barcelona, Spain, Hobart, Tasmania, New Zealand, Newcastle, UK, Whitehorse, Yukon, Invermere, BC and many from hometown golfers. The odd foreign bill is tacked around the ceiling fan as well.
The ceiling fivers are more than a social gimmick: Patrick Little offers people the opportunity to post their scorecard on the ceiling when they buy their green fees. He also offers them a free round for the fiver.
It’s a win-win, he says: it’s a conversation starter and golfers often bring a friend when they redeem their free round.
He’s not sure what he’ll do with the money, but he’s certainly having fun collecting scorecards and swapping stories.
Incidentally, I don’t know what happened to my scorecard. But I’m thinking of going back, if only to see if Mick Jagger’s bodyguard returns.