I made my debut on the 2019 Alberta Golf Tour at the Gramblicka Premier Open at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club. My second ever tournament in my professional amateur career following my debut at Stewart Creek Golf Course last Spring. Let me just start by saying, my two starts on the AGT have been at Stewart Creek and Priddis. Uhhh, does it get any better than that? Never played either of those courses until those starts and probably wouldn’t have without this tour. If you are looking to play Alberta’s best tracks and to test your game, Alberta Golf Tour, do it.
Now on to the love letter confessing my true feelings for Priddis.
This article is not going to dive in to my dismal performance on the golf course and breakdown hole by hole where it all went wrong. If anyone wants to sit down for an evening with a few pints and be my sport psychologist hit me up in the comments. I’ll even pay for the brews.
I finished up with an 86 (+14) with a triple and two doubles. And that’s all we need to say about that.
I’m a simple man that enjoys the simple things in life: a beautiful Connor McDavid goal, a perfectly poured IPA, or teeing it up on a windless day down at The Quarry just to name a few. But when you have the chance to play a privately labelled club it really gets the blood pumping.
It’s like you are entering a new world when you drive through the gates (gates because all private golf courses have gates). You’re trying to get a lay of the land catching a peak course and figuring out what holes you can see on the drive in, what par it is, how that water is going to come into play and how many balls you need to pack in the bag. There’s a process obviously.
The best part of this drive is when you pull up in a 2002 Honda Civic passing all the Mercedes’, Porsche’s and Bentley’s in the parking lot. Talk about humbling. Members just staring wondering who in the world is driving this beater into their lot? “This guy thinks he’s going to play here too? Bah!” Or whatever sound rich people make when they laugh at the poor and unfortunate.
So all of that is a part of the private golf course experience that I actually quite enjoy and it’s just one of those quirks that make golf such a silly sport. Anyways let’s get to the real reason you’re here.
When you’re playing in a tournament it’s hard at times to just take a second to look around and appreciate the scenery. But I’ve hit a point in my life where the competitive juices aren’t flowing as strong and I try to focus on my round more as an experience and less of a result (we now know how that strategy works for me…) but playing this immaculate course made me want to play well. Pride takes over and at the end of the day you want to be able to say that you posted a number at the one and only Priddis G&CC.
Everything was stunning. I can’t count how many times where I’d hit a drive on a hole and eagerly drive down the fairway (actually didn’t lose a ball in the mess that was that 86. Small victories) looking at what kind of approach I would face on a green I had never seen before. There’s something exhilarating, anxiety inducing, and even maddening about playing a golf course you have never seen before. Any game plan gets thrown right out the window.
We played the Raven Course that day which I found was the host of the 2016 CN Canadian Women’s Open. Stuff like that also makes you appreciate just how good they are and how happy I am to just slash it around on the AGT at these special courses.
I don’t like to get into conditions as we all know but I have never had to deal with green speeds and firmness like what Priddis offers in my life. It’s always a treat to have fast and true greens but when the conditions actually make you alter how you have to play I find that awesome to experience and a true test of a player’s game regardless of how demoralizing it is when you’re missing tap ins (yes, this happened).
It’s a form of mental warfare with yourself and that is why I keep playing this crazy game.
We had to battle through some weather for most of the back nine even stopping after the front for a small weather delay but even amidst the changing of multiple golf gloves, wiping down golf cart seats, and putting on more weather related layers to stay warm and dry, I did it all with a smile on my face.
It was an amazing test, on an amazing piece of property, and somehow there are 18 more holes of this perfection tucked in there somewhere. Guess I’ll have to come back, darn.
I have to give a massive shout out to Tom for just being one of the coolest guys and being a gracious host over the course of the day. There was a story to tell, a lesson to be learned, or a tip to hand out around every dogleg we turned, all with a cigar in his mouth. I promise I’ll give you a better match next time that much Neiler does know.
I’ll sign off on this piece by saying if you have an opportunity to play Priddis, you have to say yes. Skip plans for family dinners, date night, especially skip watching Stampeders games, and jump in your civic and head out at the drop of a hat to play this golf course. You have to. You just do.