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“Keep your eye on the ball,” was the only advice I received as I addressed my ball at the first tee box on Canada’s oldest municipal golf course.
I was playing in a couple’s “fun” golf tournament with my husband as my partner and self-appointed coach. The opening hole at Edmonton’s Victoria Golf Course is a long par four, and I knew I would need a good hit off the tee to have any hope of making par. I tried to keep my eye on the ball, but the views from the first tee were too spectacular. The lush Edmonton river valley spread out before me as I adjusted my stance and initiated my backswing. Distracted by the beautiful view, I looked up for a brief second as I connected with the ball — just long enough to miss it.
If you never thought of Edmonton as a golf destination, think again. Edmonton’s first golf course was established in 1896, eight years before the city was even incorporated. Summer may be short, but in Edmonton, midsummer daylight lasts for 17 hours — long enough to fit in several rounds of golf. Alberta’s capital region has 84 golf courses and there are options to suit both experts and beginners. This year, the CN Canadian Women’s Open will be played at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club Aug. 19-25. The tournament will feature 156 of the best female professional golfers in the world competing for a $2 million purse.
Here are a few of the top courses in the Edmonton area.
Great Golf in Greater EdmontonThe Victoria Golf Course is Canada’s oldest municipal course as well as one of its prettiest. Tucked away in Edmonton’s lush river valley, the course has wide, forgiving fairways and stunning views. Adjacent to the course is a 61-stall, two-tiered driving range and practice greens. The city operates three 18-hole golf courses (Victoria, Riverside and Rundle golf courses) and the Victoria driving range. Tee times can be booked four days in advance of the date of play by calling the municipal golf course reservation line or by booking online.
Built on the site of a turn-of-the-century coal mine by Puddicombe Golf Designs, the Coal Creek Golf Resort was five years in the making. The land is entirely reclaimed and the golf course commemorates its rich mining past by using black sand bunkers and slate tee boxes. It’s a challenging course that is truly unique, and it is located about an hour’s drive east of Edmonton.
Located 45 minutes west of Edmonton, the Trestle Creek Golf Resort was partially opened in June 2012 with 18 holes. The course will ultimately feature 27 holes and serve as the centerpiece of a 440-acre recreation area and RV park. The course was designed by Brad Dupuis, who has received many awards for courses such as The Ritz-Carlton White Witch Course in Jamaica, which has been rated by some publications as the number-one course in the Caribbean.
In 2012, the first 18 holes of a new high-end 27-hole public course called The Quarry opened in North Edmonton along the Saskatchewan River at a site that was once a sand and gravel pit. Designed by Les Furber, the new course features narrow challenging fairways with elevation changes and mounds that are reminiscent of a links-style course. There is also a large practice area with a chipping green, two large putting greens, a fairway bunker area and a three-level driving range. Tee times may be booked five days in advance by calling the course.
If you have clients traveling to Edmonton, be sure to remind them to bring their clubs. If you know them well, you can also suggest they keep their eye on the ball but, if you are married to the client, it might be better to keep the coaching tips to yourself.
Coal Creek Golf Resort780-663-2473www.coalcreek.ca
Trestle Creek golf Resort780-727-4575www.trestlecreek.ca
Victoria Golf Course780-496-4710www.edmonton.ca
For more information or to purchase tickets for the CN Canadian Women’s Open, visit: www.cncanadianwomensopen.com
A one-stop shop for booking tee times for many Edmonton-area courses, can be found at: www.playgolfalberta.com/courses-by-region/edmonton-area/