When Melissa Ruigrok was growing up, she would rather shop ’til she dropped than try to drop putts.
“I grew up as the only girl with three brothers and they along with my dad all golfed. I didn't understand their love of the sport,” said Ruigrok, the co-ordinator for Executive Golf’s Monday Night Ladies Indoor League at Golf-O-Max. “I actually thought it was kind of a ‘stupid’ sport because I had only played team sports. We travelled to many places on family vacations where I would chose to shop over golf until just a few years ago.”
That’s when a friend turned her on to the social upsides of the game and she caught the golfing bug.
“About seven or eight years ago a girlfriend called me and asked if I would come and spare with her golf team in a Monday night ladies league in Perth, with the promise of lots of laughs and cold beer. I did,” Ruigrok said. “The rest is history. The first few years were purely for social golfing/drinking, then I started golfing more on my own with friends and family and now I could golf everyday if my finances permitted.”
A move to Ottawa, where she’s resided now for more than five years, sparked her search for a place to play since driving all the way back to Perth for shotgun starts on Monday nights became a pain.
At first, Ruigrok found it difficult to find a golf club that was (1) affordable and (2) not crazy competitive, yet would still help improve her game.
“I stumbled across the EG website two years ago using a web search for ladies leagues in Ottawa. A friend and I signed up and have been members playing both indoors and outdoors ever since. And now I have even taken on the ladies league co-ordinator role for both as well,” she said. “EG allows me to essentially golf once a week all year round. EG is a great league because people can use the pay-as-you-go option at a reasonable price.
“And being an EG member means I get awesome discounts at other courses as well as additional member perks. It’s nice that EG does not require that players come out with experience or a team, as this could turn away people who just want to play for the fun of it.”
Ruigrok says the EG ladies indoor and outdoor leagues look to attract golfers of all ability levels.
“We are always looking for new ladies to join us. I send out weekly e-mails and all everyone need do is message me back at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if they can make it or not. I set up the entire evening for the players, who don’t need to have any experience playing golf, a membership or a team.
“We’ve found that once women give it a try they usually become return players and many even become EG members. We have a lot of fun and learn from each other. It’s not always all about the golf. We laugh, socialize, and make new friends every Monday night. It’s just a night out with the ladies.”
Favourite golfers: Growing up in a house full of boys, I would say my two favourite golfers are Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
Favourite holes: Any ninth or 18th because both usually head toward the clubhouse and that means cold beer refills.
Favourite golf clubs: Silvertip in Canmore, Alberta or Priddis Greens, Alberta. I grew up out west and both of those courses are absolutely breathtaking.
Favourite food: Pizza and poutine hands down.
Favourite TV show: I will watch the odd Bachelor or House Hunters episode. I love to see all the different places they either travel to or live in around the world.