Finding Alberta’s Greatest Nine Hole Courses – Trail Creek Golf Course

(round was played August 2nd, 2019)

After hearing from a work colleague 3 years ago that he had opened a golf course I had finally made my way to Trail Creek Golf Course on the August Long weekend. How many people do you know that just decide: “Yeah, I want to build my own golf course?”

6
The approach to the 6th hole was my favourite of the day.

The Rundown:

Location: 10 Minutes West of Olds just off Highway 27.

Price: $28 (weekend rate)

Yardage: 3420 yards from the blues (four sets of tees: red, white, blue, black) Par 36 – 2 Par 3’s, 5 Par 4’s, 2 Par 5.

Something signature: It has to be the elevation. Mainly because it was so unexpected when I pulled into the parking lot. 6 of the 9 holes you’ll play hit you with up or downhill shot so make sure you club accordingly.

Playing Tip: It gets a little targety off the tee so make sure you’re in play with whatever club is your ol’ faithful and find the widest part of the fairway.

Do it for the Gram: There are a lot of spots on the course that offer the dramatic elevation change perfect for your next Instagram post. But a look out from the hole’s signature Par 3 5th hole is quite breathtaking offering a view of the whole property.

5
My rookie photography skills can’t quite capture how amazing this view is from the signature 5th hole. 

Unique Characteristics:

  • The best thing I have found playing these nine hole courses is how separated they can be from the rest of your life. This is obviously coming from someone who never camped in his life, grew up just outside of Edmonton as a city boy, and would never come close to a farm if his life depended on it. But seeing the farm life, right up next to the golf course, roaming the valleys got me real fired up. It was just so peaceful.
  • Both of the Par 3’s are beauts.

So I’m driving through Olds, after just getting off the QE2 headed south from Edmonton, and all of a sudden this major dip in the road takes me through an elevation change that I did not see coming. Little did I know this was a sign of what I would expect at Trail Creek Golf Course.

Previous work opportunities allowed me to meet with Course Architect, Owner, Manager, Superintendent, (jack of all trades really) Dave Turnbull and we somehow stumbled on the topic of golf (this happens a lot if I am participating in a conversation. It’s less of a stumble and more of an abrupt bypass) and he mentioned that he had just opened his own golf course. Questions immediately flooded to my head wondering if he had taken over ownership of an old club, that the job I knew him to be working and was how we met was coming to an end, where it was located, etc. And then he told me that it was one he had built.

Mind = Blown.

More on that later but let’s talk about when I actually played it.

Trail Creek Golf Course: tough of the tee, scenic, and an overall joy to play. By no means does it follow a typical traditional layout and for nine holes you are faced with a number of different shots that you have to hit and perhaps have never played before. You guys know this, I like variety when I’m playing and there’s no shortage of that here.

You also know that I am a big advocate of exciting Par 5’s and they are a little funky at Trail Creek. If I have to give the course a hard time about anything it would be this. 3 putting for par on the 460 yard 8th has nothing to do with how I feel about these holes I promise….

2 green
A look at the 2nd hole scenery with cattle roaming the fields just outside of the course boundary lines.

It’s a course still early in its journey to becoming a fully operational golf facility. Many of the trials and tribulations that I know I am not able to comprehend. But the framework is there to be something real good and I hope the course continues to grow and most importantly allow people to have fun playing golf.

My one “Course Conditions” comment:

The course is 4 years old guys let’s just remember that for a second. Plenty of “maturing” still needed but everything was in great shape.

Final thoughts:

It was an honour to play with someone who truly cared about what they had dedicated so much blood, sweat, and tears to. You could tell how proud Dave was based on how much time he wasn’t actually paying attention to his golf game and more so on the stories of how the course was built or challenges that he had faced with the irrigation system a few months back. He lives and breathes his golf course and to see that first hand could be one of the best golf experiences I have had to date.

I want to thank Dave for taking me out for an absolutely wonderful experience. I plan on completing a full #GolfLifeAB write up on his journey to developing this course, getting to where he is now, and what he has planned for the future. I think getting a perspective of taking on the unimaginable task of building a golf course would be an interesting one for people to read.

back down 8
A look back on the 7th and 8th fairways (left to right) capturing the elevation change of Trail Creek Golf Course.

For anyone in the area, check it out and let me know what you think. For those that have played what was your experience like here?

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