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The Yellowknife Golf Club’s strange relationship with airplanes
By Herb Mathisen
Aug 25
From the August/September 2016 Issue

The same way a casual golfer's drives seem to have a way of finding the water, so do planes seem to have a way of finding the Yellowknife Golf Club. That probably has something to do with its location and the amount of activity in Yellowknife’s skies. The course, home of the famous all-sand fairways and ball-thieving ravens, sits between the highway out of town and Long Lake—and under the approach to one of the city’s two runways. Play a few rounds out there and it will become obvious. As you’re lining up your putt, your concentration will no doubt be scuttled by the rumble and roar of an ATR 42, Dash 8 or Twin Otter—or even the odd passenger jet—that looks like it’s only a lob-wedge shot away.

Sometimes, the planes—or at least their munitions—have gotten even closer. Like the time a CF-18 dropped a bomb on the driving range. It’s true: in June 2004, a 200-kilogram missile fell from a Canadian Forces fighter jet onto the range. This was no phony training device either—it was the real deal. The course was evacuated and the highway shutdown. Thankfully for local duffers, the Sparrow missile wasn’t armed so it didn’t explode. (The following day, a pilot ejected from his CF-18 after losing control during landing. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t a week that inspired much confidence in our air force.)

But the club has been intertwined with airplanes since its inception back in 1948. The course’s first clubhouse? The fuselage of a crashed DC-3.