Many of Alberta’s best-known and most challenging golf destinations are carved out of the province’s Prairie landscape. When you feel the urge to take a few swings in scenic Central Alberta, these quality courses will be happy to accommodate.
PINE HILLS GOLF CLUB, ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE
Nestled within 160-plus hectares of stunning Alberta terrain, Pine Hills Golf Club is an 18-hole championship course with the peacefulness of a classic golf resort. Established in 1964 as a nine-hole layout carved out of the natural dunes of the Central Alberta foothills, in 1989 the club integrated an additional nine holes, designed by renowned Canadian golf course architect Sid Puddicombe. Once you’ve finished your round, take advantage of the surrounding wilderness: the club is adjacent to Crimson Lake Provincial Park and about an hour’s drive from the Rocky Mountains.
WOLF CREEK GOLF RESORT, PONOKA
Locally known as the “Wolf”, Wolf Creek Golf Resort is one of Central Alberta’s most prestigious golf experiences, which boasts a pair of professional-quality links-inspired layouts located an easy 40-minute drive north of Red Deer. Expect these courses to truly test your swing: During any given round you’ll have to overcome tree-lined ravines, active greens, nefariously placed sand traps and, if you’re unlucky, strong winds.
INNISFAIL GOLF CLUB, INNISFAIL
Something of an Alberta institution, the Innisfail Golf Club has offered one of the province’s finest golfing experiences since 1924. Scenic and skill-testing, the three public nine-hole courses are known for their tight fairways, rolling hills and heavily wooded areas. Unique hazards challenge your short game, while fast greens are sure to put your putting to the test. Don’t be frustrated if you shoot above par: some of the province’s best may end up similarly stymied when they play Innisfail during the 2016 Alberta Men’s Amateur Championship (July 19 to 22).
ALBERTA SPRINGS GOLF RESORT, RED DEER
Just five minutes outside of Red Deer, Alberta Springs Golf Resort is an immaculately groomed links course with four different tee boxes and a well-designed layout catering to all skill levels. The site also boasts an aquatic driving range (i.e. you hit into a pond instead of a field) and full-service clubhouse, from which novice duffers can rent clubs and book lessons with one of three certified PGA of Canada instructors.
PONOKA GOLF CLUB, PONOKA
Tucked alongside the Battle River, Ponoka Golf Club is a local favourite featuring both links-style and tree-lined holes that test players with a range of shot opportunities. Strategically placed bunkers and contoured greens are not the only things to look out for when playing here: local wildlife is also a common feature. Be sure to keep an eye out for deer as you navigate down the fairway.
RIVER BEND GOLF COURSE AND RECREATION AREA, RED DEER
Situated in an elbow of the Red Deer River, the River Bend Golf and Recreation Area is an 18-hole championship course that also includes a nine-hole mini-links layout, a large driving range and a pair of pitching greens. A three-time host of the PGA of Alberta Championship, the course is difficult enough to top-tier ball-strikers, but still playable for less-practiced golfers too. True to its name, River Bend’s water hazards are not only part of the golfing experience, they also add to the picturesque field-and-stream scenery.
The drive to most of these courses is more than 100 kilometres from either Edmonton or Calgary. Consider upgrading to a Plus or higher membership, which allows for extended towing distances, free passport photos, free fuel and delivery, and enhanced trip collision reimbursement. And don’t forget you can pay for your membership monthly for as little as $9 a month.
HOW TO SAVE
Get deals and discounts by showing your Canada Golf Card at more than 550 courses across the country. Buy the card and an AMA centre and save $10 on the purchase price.