Get Your Swing Into Shape at the Stingerdome

  • Fore! The Stingerdome is home, sweet home for winter swingers. Photo by Erin Sparks

  • Photo by Erin Sparks

It’s -7 outside, but the Weather Network website is telling me that it feels like -16. There are several feet of snow on the scenic Loyola campus, and if it weren’t for my mittens, my fingers would have less feeling than an auto-tuned ballad at the top of the pop charts. All things considered, it’s looking like a great day for golf.

Since Jan. 3, the Stingerdome has become the part-time home of a driving range, so summertime duffers can keep in the swing of things, despite Montreal’s current winter-wonderland appearance. Although you don’t get all the advantages of a real round of golf (fresh air, lovely scenery, pushing the carts to inhuman speeds), you do get to whack some balls around and stay in shape. I took the shuttle down to Loyola to bang a few balls into the horizon, despite being unable to find my argyle knickerbockers and matching tam o’ shanter.

As I prepared for my practice session, I noticed two things—the range was deserted, and the length of it was, frankly speaking, a bit on the short side. Of course, as I’m sure Tiger Woods proved to his myriad lady friends, it’s not the size of the range that counts: it’s how you use it.

“It’s about 60 to 65 yards, so you can work on your short game. Or, you can just let one rip,” said athletic department employee Alberto Moreira with a chuckle.

After paying $8 for a bucket o’ balls and the use of the Stingerdome’s motley collection of golf clubs, I pulled out a 7 iron and started swinging. While the solitude was nice—particularly every few shots when I grounded the ball 10 yards instead of making it soar into the roof with a satisfying ‘thunk’—I soon started feeling a bit isolated and lonely (much like Tiger Woods, no doubt, just before he calls himself up one of those lady friends of his).

“Right now, it’s the first week, it’s winter, it’s cold outside, everyone is just getting back from their holidays, so it’s slow, as are other golf domes throughout the island of Montreal,” said Moreira. “As it picks up, we’ll start advertising it.”

After about 15 minutes, 75 balls, and two slightly blistered hands—the dome does not rent out golf gloves—I handed my gear back and reluctantly stepped back into the bitter cold.

My temporary summer was over. But like a Tiger Woods sex scandal, the Stingerdome promises many good times to come.

for more information about the driving range, including hours and prices, check out athletics.concordia.ca

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 18, published January 11, 2011.

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