Irene Crowchild walks up to a driving tee and tips over a bucket of balls.
She picks a driver out of her golf bag and sets the ball on the tee.
After a few moments of thinking about her shot – she winds up.
The familiar sounds of club meeting ball sounds and Crowchild stands and watches it sail down the range.
Crowchild’s expertise is driving the ball – and she can do that well.
She’s put in hours of practice at the Redwood Meadows Gold Club near her community of TsuuT’ina First Nation.
“This is my dream. This is what I’m passionate about,” she said. “First Nations or not First Nations, I want people to believe in themselves to go after their dreams to take that jump. It can be done. Making my impossible possible”
None of this would have been possible had Crowchild not come to realize that her life needed a change.
In February 2017, she reached out for help and went for treatment for alcohol abuse.
She wants others to learn from her story.
“When I finally reached out I felt embarrassed, I felt ashamed. But I stuck with it.
Crowchild is marking a year and a half of sobriety.
She wouldn’t be where she is without it.
“I’m very proud. Humbly proud,” said Crowchild. “I’m very blessed for the way my journey has been. I want people to feel the happiness I feel, the peace I feel because I know it’s tough.”
Driving 310 yards, Crowchild is the first Indigenous person to tee up and win the women’s title at the Canadian Long Drive Competition.
She will also be representing Canada at an international competition in Mexico in November.
And she has a message for others.
“If I can break the stigma, showing other First Nations people, youth, and adults that it’s wonderful, it’s worth it. That feeling of embarrassment goes away,” Crowchild said.
“I want people to believe in themselves, to go after their dreams, to make that jump.”