This past week I had the pleasure of playing some fine examples of the quality golf that exists in central Alberta. As with most of my “golf” trips, they are actually work trips where I find a couple of free hours. I was lucky on this trip that I found time for 3 rounds.
The trip started on Wednesday with an early flight out from Ottawa followed by a day of meetings in Red Deer. The day finished with some colleagues taking us out for an evening round at the Red Deer Golf & Country Club, a course virtually unheard of to me previously, but well worth the experience. While an old style parkland style, the course features some great views of the Red Deer river and is anything by flat. The course was in great shape for spring. As my first round of the year my play was sporadic. While I hit the ball well my distances were all off, leaving me with lots of up and downs that were more up than down. I finished with an 86 that could have easily been an 80.
Thursday was a day full of meetings and no golf was played.
Friday the meetings ended just after lunch and by 3pm everyone had gone their separate ways. As I had already planned to stay an extra day to play golf Saturday morning, I had Friday afternoon and evening open. With no plans, a colleague and I decided to play an unplanned round of golf at the municipal owned, non-profit operated, River Bend Golf Club. Like the Country Club, River Bend sits along the Red Deer river, but at the exact opposite end of the city. Like the country club, River Bend was in excellent shape for the time of year, with the only down side being the greens had been punched and dressed a couple of days earlier. The course had a lot of water and really large greens. The layout, with water along the edges and lots of water hazards throughout reminded me a little bit of Waterloo’s Grey Silo at times. I hit the ball solid and a little more consistent than Wednesday, but I wasn’t able to figure out the greens, especially since they had been aerated and top dressed recently. I missed a 5 footer on 18 for a 79 and walked away with an 80 that could have been a round in the 70s.
Saturday morning was the real reason I brought my clubs with me to Red Deer as I was heading 25 minutes up highway 2 to play the celebrated Rob Whitman (Cabot Links, Sagebrush) track Wolf Creek. Wolf Creek features two courses on the property and I was set to play the 2014 Score Golf 30th ranked Old Course. As I had told people throughout the week about my Saturday morning plans I received several warnings that the course wasn’t in great shape and was “gimmicky”. Following my round I had two thoughts, one, not in great shape, meant somewhat brown, which is what you would expect from a links style course and two, gimmicky meant tough. The facility is very rustic with a log cabin for a club house and nothing overly fancy about it, but I pretty much loved every minute of it. Like River Bend, the greens had been aerated recently, but unlike River Bend they had done a fantastic job maintaining the role on the greens (if not the speed). We got lucky with the weather as there was sunny skies and virtually no wind, the course would play about 10 times harder with wind I imagine. I had the best day of my three shooting a 4 over 74, including 3 birdies (two on the back) and no doubles.
I headed home Saturday night with my first three rounds of the season under my belt and an eagerness to build on my play from Alberta.
See you at the turn,