EAST GULL LAKE — Kim Larson called the group “welcoming.”
“Just bring a good smile and come out and have a good time.”
Larson is referring to the only thing a first-timer will need when they sign up to play during women’s night at Cragun’s Legacy Courses.
Tuesday nights are women’s nights and while a few brave men are spread out around the large golf complex in East Gull Lake, it’s clear the course belongs to the women.
The only man wielding any power is assistant PGA professional Tim Johnson – the pied piper of women’s night.
“Tim Johnson’s done a great job incorporating new people every time I come out so it’s just a great time each time I am out here,” said Larson, who graduated from Pequot Lakes, went to North Dakota State University and moved back to the area.
She said she enjoys meeting new people, playing golf and partaking in the numerous theme nights. Last Tuesday was Hawaiian night. The grass skirts and leis were more plentiful than the golf equipment. Even the golf carts were transformed into moving tiki huts.
“I would say theme nights double our numbers,” said Rhonda Mareck. “There’s always around 100 people out here for our theme nights and scramble nights, and typically maybe 50-70 if it’s play your own ball.”
Mareck has been playing in the league for five years. While she usually plays golf five times a week, she rarely misses a Tuesday night with Tim.
“It’s a great course,” Mareck said. “The staff is so helpful, the cart boys come out and help with clubs and they always remember your name and who you’re playing with. The gals on the beverage cart know what you’re drinking. It’s just a happy time. Everyone’s out smiling and it’s a good way to come have fun after work.”
Johnson runs his league on both the Par 3 Course and nine holes of one of the two championship courses at the Legacy. On theme nights and end-of-the-month scramble nights, an entire 18-hole course is shutdown to accommodate the number of players.
The multiple courses are a big draw for many of the newcomers who fear their abilities may not be good enough to play in the league. That’s a sentiment Tanya McDermott scoffs at.
“I would say this is the right place,” McDermott said. “Everybody is at different levels. I would say the key is having fun. You’ll never hear, ‘oh no. Why are they out here?’ You’ll never hear that. We’re out here to just have a lot of fun.”
Between bling night, hillbilly night, Hawaiian night and any other crazy theme Johnson comes up with, it’s hard not to have fun.
“Well, for the ladies, it’s all about the fashion so we have to take it up a notch,” McDermott said. “Tim sets it up for us really well. I think it’s a lot of fun anytime you get to do something different out here.”
Prizes are awarded for quality play and less than stellar play. Mareck was a double winner during Hawaiian night with her team shooting the lowest score and getting a closest to the pin proxy.
“The best part about it is they offer prizes not only for good golf, but they offer random prizes for just coming out here and supporting the league and having fun. They do everything from shoes, shirts, tees and clubs. It’s a lot of fun.”
Fun was the common answer to most of the questions asked of the women. In fact, golf wasn’t mentioned a whole lot at all. But they do play golf on women’s night, but it seems like just an excuse to have fun.