First of all, I know the Eastern Kootenays are not Alberta, but since they’re on the same time zone as us, I consider them close enough. When we used to hold our Alberta Golf Tour Championship out there, we jokingly renamed it the “Mountain Standard Time Golf Tour.”
Join me over the next week or so as I [finally] take you through so many of my favourite courses in the Columbia Valley area. This trip was particularly special for me as I had not been out this way in a couple of years, and it was our first crack at golfing with the baby.
We left home in the morning with the camper all loaded up and made our way down the scenic David Thompson Highway to the Icefields Parkway. This is such an amazing drive, and I highly recommend a stop at Abraham Lake if you haven’t been.
The first course we took in for the first round of the year was the shorter course at Copper Point, called The Ridge. It’s a fun and challenging yet fair par 62. These are full golf holes, designed by Gary Browning, only par 3’s and par 4’s. There’s nothing “executive” about this track.
What I love the most about this course is the memories it has provided myself and my son Tyler. Because of its length, and the way Copper Point takes part in the “Take A Kid To The Course” week initiative by the NGCOA, it’s one of the few places I can really say Tyler learned to play the game.
The first hole gives you confidence as the wide open fairway with mounds on either side help bounce your ball back to center, as you hit towards the Copper Point Resort Hotel with the Purcell Mountains to your left, and the Rockies to your right.
I personally have very fond memories of this hole, as we once had the Alberta Golf Tour Championship here, and had our Big Break competition on this hole. One of the competitions included “Altered Course” races. Thankfully nobody was injured (we did have one epic tumble down the tee box) but it was quite fun and funny!
Some of the fairways have severe slopes, whether you’re hitting uphill all the way to the green, or having to maneuver side slopes and making sure you stay on the proper levels to approach the green. There is only one water hazard on the course, much like the Point Course, and it comes into play on 2 of the par 4 holes. There are plenty of gorges to hit over and other trouble you can find. The greens are a great defence against par, so make sure the short stick is working when you play.
The par 3’s range in yardage from 72 to 184 yards from the forward tees, or 147 to 241 yards from the tips while the par 4’s range from 229 to 348 yards from the forwards, and 324 to 463 yards from the tips. These are full fledged golf holes, and ones that make you think your way around the course.
Consider yourself lucky if you don’t encounter blustering winds as you close out on 17 and 18 along the ridge. 18 gives you beautiful views of the landscape and a fun little par 3 to finish your round.
Outside of the course itself, I could never find the words to say all the great things about the staff and experience you get at Copper Point as a whole. The General Manager Brian Schaal, and Head Professional Scott McClain are both as nice and personable as they come, and they’re the type of people that always make you feel like a million bucks every time you talk to them or see them. I’ll get more into the Copper Point experience when I write about the Point course a little later this week.
When I first reached out to ask them about whether the baby could join us for a round, they never skipped a beat as this is something they welcome often in this area. This gave me hope for the rest of the trip!
The timing was great. Baby CJ was at the age where he was still in his bucket seat and napping often, so we snuggled him in with blankets, toys, bug netting, and an iPad, after securing the base of his seat to the cart with ratchet straps. I’ll get more into the details in a dedicated post for anyone wondering more about what other safety precautions I took.
He needed some food and a stretch usually after about 13 or 14 holes, but for the most part, the kid was an absolute champ and allowed me to play MANY rounds of golf over the next week on some seriously amazing tracks.