The 2016 Golf Season in Calgary Starts Early
Top places to tee off in YYC
Brendan Stasiewich, Staff Writer
While it’s usually assumed that the Calgary golf season begins in late April, the mild winter has led to smiles among Calgary’s middle aged business class — busting out their cotton golf outfits to hit one of the many Calgary courses that have already opened. However, as these courses place starters on their first tees welcoming Calgarians to shake the rust off their irons, it’s not only middle aged men nowadays who can be thankful.
Starting with Tiger Woods in 1997, the stereotypes of good golfers being un-athletic has seen a reform. With videos of Rory McIlroy squatting close to 300 pounds and Adam Scott’s biceps taking over the Internet after his 2013 Masters win, golfing is becoming cool for more and more athletic young people.
Thankfully for the avid golfers in Calgary, the city has a plethora of world-class courses to test your talents against (and probably storm off angrily on). Here is a list of the top three courses in both the private club category (however, if you should have the chance to play any private in the city you should highly consider it) and the public category, which have no tee time booking restrictions.
Calgary’s top private courses
The Glencoe Golf & Country Club
The largest of Calgary’s golf facilities, Glencoe, located just west of the city in the Springbank area, offers 45 spectacular holes as well as a world-renowned practice facility. While the first 18 holes, The Meadows, is spectacular in its own right, The Forest (Glencoe’s championship course) looks to someday host a large-scale professional event. Measuring out at a jaw dropping 7505 yards (for comparisons sake Augusta National measures out at 7435) and a course rating of 76.9 (Augusta is 78.1) The Forest stands alone as Alberta’s toughest test.
Calgary Golf & Country Club
Purchased all the way back in 1897, the club went through massive renovations from 2005-2007 and is known to Calgary golfers as one of the nicest (and most exclusive) courses. In fact, Score Golf ranked the course as the 31st best in Canada in 2014. Located on the Elbow River and just a five minute drive from Chinook Mall, once you get past the front gate (and the no cellphones allowed sign) you immediately forget there is a massive city on the other side of the massive trees. The undulating greens and vast elevation changes along the way make you feel all of the 6400 yards read on the scorecard. The par 4 9th hole is one of the most beautiful in the city, driving the ball downhill with the clubhouse and a large water hazard serving as the backdrop.
Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club
Ranked at number 42 in Canada by Score Golf in 2014, you’d be hard pressed to find a course as well maintained as Priddis Greens. The 36-hole facility is well worth the 10-minute drive down 22X after merging from Mcleod Trail. If you can’t make it onto the course to play, you can have the chance to see the course when Priddis welcomes the top female golfers in the world as the club hosts the LPGA’s CP Women’s Open for the third time in August. The course offers its own version of “Amen Corner” on the Hawk between holes 9-11. The three-hole stretch has golfers pleading for an easy par, which is far in between on the back nine.
Calgary’s top public courses
Heritage Pointe Golf Course
Located on the southern outskirts of the city, the public course remains a favourite among many Calgarians and features three distinct nines: The Pointe, The Desert and The Heritage. The Desert stands out to me as the best of the bunch, measuring out at 3550 yards there are very few approach shots that don’t give you an unsettling feeling. Especially in mid summer when the greens stimp as fast as any other local course, delicate chip shots can seem nearly impossible.
Redwood Meadows Golf and Country Club
Located in a well-forested area near the town of Bragg Creek, Redwood Meadows is as much of a test as any public course in Calgary. The club hosted the final two rounds of the 2014 Calgary Amateur, and when I blew up the final day after having a chance to win all I could think was, “I hate that course.” But maybe that’s the sign of a good course — a fair test that rewards accuracy and punishes bad shots. And it’s easy to get off to a wayward start, the first hole, a dogleg left measuring out at 447 yards, followed by a long par 5 with a tough tee shot makes it easy to be over par quickly.
The Links of Glen Eagles
The back nine at Glen Eagles is perhaps the best stretch of golf Calgary has to offer. Located in Cochrane, Glen Eagles provides a linksy feeling course with par 3s that will surely take your breath away. Tough enough to host a Canadian Tour event last summer, the signature hole, the par 3 15th goes miles downhill with the valley below it. Ending on a hard 535 yard par 5, from the first tee to the 18th green there isn’t much time to take your mind off the game as a momentary lapse of focus can easily lead to a double.
With The Masters just weeks away, (and this information at your disposal) grab your sticks from the basement and get ready to hit the links. If you’ve never played before, now is a better time than ever to go to the range with some buddies to see if you have some hidden talent tucked away. If not, there’s no better place to crack a cold one with friends on a warm spring day than one of Calgary’s fine courses.