Fisher cards 20th club crown
St. Albert golfer wins 2013 Sturgeon Valley ladies' championship
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 06:00 am
Sandra Fisher isn't ready to putt out after winning an unprecedented 20th ladies' club championship at the Sturgeon Valley Golf & Country Club.
“I would like to, if I had to finish golf, hopefully win 25 and then see who can beat that,” said the 51-year-old Fisher, who captured the senior club title this year in her first crack at the championship. “I want to win as much as I can. Eventually someone will come here and be better than me.”
Fisher (nee Strand) celebrated her first club championship at age 15 in 1976 (“I think it was in a playoff”), but waited until 1990 for No. 2. Six different golfers were victorious during Fisher’s 14-year drought, led by Susan Firth’s five triumphs.
It was Fisher’s last championship as Strand before marrying Randy, who caught her eye one day on the Sturgeon Valley course.
Fisher’s winning ways continued through the births of her three sons in 1991, 1993 and 1996.
The only golfer to break Fisher’s dominance of eight championships in the 1990s was Irene Fielder in 1994.
After back-to back wins by Karen Morris in 1999 and 2000 when Fisher didn’t compete (“I’m not sure why I didn’t play those two years”), she won 10 of the next 11 crowns with Morris prevailing in 2005.
“Each one is special,” said Fisher, a three-handicap golfer. “Looking back, it makes you feel better about your game and how you’ve improved because it’s a hard game. It’s just you and the course. Nobody else can help you. You’re always thinking and challenging yourself. Even when you get into difficult shots you still have to think about how you’re going to get out of it and then how the next shot is going to be and then make it into the hole too.”
Fisher’s dad, Ralph Strand, was the 1970 men’s club champion and her brother, Ken, was a three-time junior winner from 1976 to ’78.
Her mother-in law, Shirley Fisher, was also the 1973 ladies’ club champion.
“It’s pretty special to see their names (on the club’s Champions Wall of Fame) with mine too,” Fisher said.
After last year’s win by Dianna Kastelic, who was 24 at the time in her first season as a Sturgeon Valley member to end Fisher’s six-year reign, the St. Albert resident carded scores of 77 and 79 during the August long weekend for her coveted 20th championship.
“It was two consistent days and it’s hard to have two days in a row in the 70s,” Fisher said. “Since the first round was 77, of course I wanted to beat that. I did have a pretty good lead (after the first day). The next competitor was 86 so I didn’t really think about it, I was thinking how I want to do 76. I didn’t want to be 82, which is not a bad score either, but I wanted to be better.”
The only hiccup was the back nine on day two of the competition.
“I played really well on the front nine on the second day. I was even par and then I get to the back nine and I start thinking about what could be and then I kind of made some poor decisions out there, just stupid shots, and it kind of brings you back down to earth,” she said. “After I played such a good front nine, I was very disappointed with the back nine. It was still a good round under the circumstances and I guess that day was 79 for me.”
Fisher was arguably playing the best golf of her illustrious career leading up to the championship. During a blistering five-day stretch last month she shot rounds of 73, 74 and a personal best 72. Her previous low score was a 74, prior to the course undergoing some subtle tweaks.
“I’ve got a lot more confidence now and that’s because I play more golf. Back when I was raising kids, it was basically on the weekends or maybe two days a week, if that,” said Fisher, who averages four rounds a week at Sturgeon Valley. “I’m out here to play golf, see my the friends and just play my best.”
Fisher is a straight-hitting righty who worked hard to improve her short game.
“Putting was always my little downfall,” she said. “My dad always said I had a natural swing but as I’m getting older it’s changing a bit.”
The weekend before her rounds in the low 70s, Fisher finished on top of the leader boarding in a bigger field at the senior championship than the ladies’ competition with scores of 83 and 78.
Fisher didn’t take anything for granted in her senior debut.
“You still have to play against the girls and you know they’re there playing to win. You just focus on yourself and your play,” said Fisher, who tied for 13th at her first Alberta ladies’ amateur championship last year at Sturgeon Valley.
The former homestead of Angus Kennedy is literally Fisher’s home away from home. At age 10, her family moved from Edmonton to live above the Sturgeon Valley clubhouse – which is now a teahouse in Namao – where her dad was the assistant pro.
“It was very cool. When we grew up here we had so much fun. To have that freedom and have it as your backyard was great. At the time, we didn’t realize how special it was. We would come home from school and go play or hang out or help my mom (Margaret) and dad with the running of the clubhouse,” she said. “Now I come out here and golf and then I go to my other house, but I would rather stay out here than cook and clean.”