To Win...Or Not To Win. When It's Your Time

The 2017 British Columbia Golf Senior Women's Amateur Champion, Karen Pultz, Of Peace Portal Golf Club In Surrey, BC - Image Credit Bob Cotter/British Columbia Golf

By Karen Pultz

I am a Senior Woman golfer, 60-years old this past May to be exact. For women, senior golf begins at 50 and I have competed in most of those yearly events since 2007. Never a winner. 

My name is Karen Pultz and I am a proud member of Peace Portal Golf Club in Surrey, BC. My golf resume is not Hall of Fame material, but... it is framed by participation, personal fulfillment and my inner successes in golf.

I have placed top ten in Canadian Amateur and Senior Amateurs, Irish and British Senior tournaments, won many club championships, Sweeny Cups and weekend ladies tournaments. I have more than once been a Provincial Amateur and Senior Team member. 

I enjoy sharing my golf stories and Inside Golf has kindly supported posting my personal golf writing. The 2017 Women’s British Columbia Provincial Senior Amateur was held June 20-22nd at the Sunshine Coast Golf & Country Club

I spent the winter in the gym working on the main physical elements for golf. Strength, flexibility, balance and mobility. I saw Pia Nilsson and Lyn Marriott had a new book out titled, “Be a Player.” Their philosophy is 'Technical Skills plus Human Skills make a golfer.' 

My ongoing challenge is to manage my emotions on the golf course. The book helped me refocus and gave me some new tools I wanted and desperately needed! There is nothing better than the sweet feeling of 'golf ballet' …quiet, un-trying, unconscious, smooth, sensory driven and just plain FUN! 

Imagine though, you just doubled the final hole of your tournament. Your six-footer that slipped by the edge for a bogey was to win! You did not know it at the time, but after the miss you had a sinking feeling that it could matter - a lot. That was precisely what happened to me.

The Sunshine Coast Golf Club was very demanding. Tee shots, into the greens and putting were no picnic with the undulations and the influence of ocean-defying gravity. I only met ONE straight putt in three days and it came on my last putt of the tournament.

I shot 77 the first day to sit second. After a grinding second day I was tied for the lead. The scores were very high, the stories intensely descriptive. The course set up was more than challenging! It felt like we were hanging from a cliff. 

Then there was me. Often quietly referred to in the Senior’s circle as 'the best player never to have won the BC Seniors.'

On the night before the final round at the banquet they always introduce the past winners in attendance. I always clapped and watched. My good friend Phyllis turned to me and said, “It’s time you add your name to this list.” 

So many came to me with that wonderful supportive smile and words of encouragement saying, “You can do this, it is your time.” Okay! This is my time.

Turns out that the double-bogey finish mattered – a lot. It kept me from winning outright, but, it secured me a tie with Holly Horwood (Shaughnessy Golf Club) a past winner, great golfer and a special friend.

The playoff was to start on the 18th hole. A par four, dogleg right, then straight uphill to a front pin. A Peace Portal golfing pal, Jack, always says, “If you want to make a golf course tough, or tougher, just place all the pins in the front!” Yes, Yes and Yes!

To the play off:

Holly hit her drive to the right between two tall-standing trees onto the fairway. I hit a good drive down the right side of the fairway. Peace Portal (est. 1928) is a fine track, hilly and tree-lined. You get every lie imaginable. The Sunshine Coast GC was similar, so my second shot into the playoff hole was a funky, domed, uphill lie. 

I hit it a bit heavy. I landed on the severe upslope with a front pin, eight yards short. My chip shot needed to be high – no problem, as the uphill lie would help take care of that. It landed like a marshmallow about 6 feet past the hole. Holly’s GIR (green in regulation) putt was to about 30 feet.

May I briefly reminisce about the ocean? It has a huge influence on these greens. If your directional skills got the better of you, your approach shots and putting would be more than difficult. Holly hit her putt a bit firm towards the ocean, but was still slightly inside mine.

My turn? My time?

After a loud but brief encounter with a food truck delivering to the nearby clubhouse, I set up to my putt. I don’t really remember much about it now, other than when I looked up from my stroke it went right in the centre of the hole. 

I do remember choosing to play it straight. The slope was slightly right-to-left, but the ocean was going to want to keep it right. It was straighter than straight! Holly’s putt just lipped out on the left side as it got dragged to the ocean in the last few inches. 

Seems it was my time, time for the first Peace Portal member to ever win a Provincial Championship. 

My name is now securely on the list!

image credit Bob Cotter/British Columbia Golf

The BC Women's Team Heading To The Canadian Senior Championship In Newfoundland From L-R: Holly Horwood, Jackie Little & 2017 BC Women's Senior Champion Karen Pultz. Presenter Linda Code Is On The Far Right

August 22-24th we are off to the Canadian Seniors at Humber Valley Golf Club in Little Rapids, (near Cornerbrook) Newfoundland. Myself, Jackie Little (Balfour Golf Club) and Holly Horwood (Shaughnessy GC) will represent BC in the team portion. Wish us luck! 

May it be your time with your golf!  

To Rob Falk, GM at Peace Portal, the staff and members at Peace Portal. Thank you for your support! 

Karen Pultz

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Thank you's:

1) Thank you to all the participants

2) Thank you British Columbia Golf

3) Thank you to Sunshine Golf & Country Club – staff and the organizing committee 

4) Thank you Linda Jervis (LPGA), my coach and friend at Northview Golf Club

The 2018 BC Seniors will be next June 19-21 at Crown Isle. I will be defending. It will be another first!