Story and photos by Andrea Sutherland
On the driving range at the Cheyenne Shadows Golf Club, Grace Birdsley swung her driver, clipping the golf ball and sending it 10 yards into the sand.
“It might be a long day,” she said, laughing.
Birdsley set up another ball, gripped the club and swung again, this time sending the ball straight down the range.
“That was better,” she said.
Birdsley and her husband, Spc. Michael Birdsley, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, spent Tuesday afternoon at the course.
“I made him promise not to laugh if (the ball) goes into the trees,” she said. “This is my first time. I wanted to improve my minigolf score.”
The Birdsleys weren’t the only golfers in the blazing heat.
Trina May, an Australian tourist visiting the U.S. signed up for lessons with Class A Professional Golfers’ Association Professional Paul Surniak, an instructor at Cheyenne Shadows.
“I’ve always wanted to do this,” she said as she practiced her swing. “I enjoy the lessons. You learn a lot and it’s a fun sport.”
Surniak worked with May on her form, videotaping her swing on his iPad.
“We work on every aspect of the game,” said Surniak who teaches more than 1,500 people each year.
Although he’s only been an instructor at the golf course for three years, Surniak has been a golf pro since 1980.
“I’ve been an athlete all my life — football, baseball, basketball. But golf, everything about it is perfect,” he said.
“It’s all you. You don’t have to worry about the other player or your teammates. It’s just you and the course.”
The 18-hole golf course is open year-round, weather permitting. Cheyenne Shadows offers discounted pricing and is open to the public.
“We cater to great players as well as beginners,” said Frank Jacobson, director.
Jacobson said the course sees between 39,000-42,000 players each year, but predicts the number will be even higher this year.
“We’re challenging enough for the greats, but easy enough for the beginners,” he said.
Cheyenne Shadows opened in 1972 after the golf course was relocated from Butts Army Airfield. It offers numerous options for all levels of golfers, including beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons; driving range; a men’s league; and family course.
Children can play the “Coyote Run” three-hole junior course free of charge.
Families may take advantage of the shorter Cheyenne Shadows Family Course, which is free during the second twilight starting time each Wednesday.
Discounted twilight rates begin after 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day.
The club also offers numerous outings and tournaments including Saturday’s Mini Demo Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the Aug. 18-19 Stroke Play championship; the Sept. 8-9 club championship; and the Sept. 7 Ivy Pro-Am Scramble, which pairs professional golfers with amateurs.
The clubhouse, which opened in 2005, has a pro shop and snack bar. The pro shop carries major golf brands and has special prices for military members.
Jacobson said he encourages everyone to come out and try a round of golf.
“It’s a passion,” he said. “You can go as fast or as slow as you want. You can have the adventure however you want to have the adventure.”