Finding Alberta’s Greatest Nine Holes – Fort Saskatchewan G&CC

With golf season fully underway I can start fulfilling some of my promised content pieces for you guys and one that I am quite excited for is searching out Alberta’s best nine hole courses.

On June 21st, I tried to take advantage of the summer solstice and play as much golf as I could. Included in my 45 hole day was a stop in at Fort Saskatchewan’s Golf and Curling Club which can now be dubbed as the first stop on my journey to find Alberta’s Greatest nine-hole tracks. This stop alone was worth it because of one man: Burt.

The Rundown:

Location: Fort Saskatchewan – 30 mins East of Edmonton

Price: $29 (Plus GST) walking

Yardage: 3154 yards (we played the blue tees) Par 36 – 2 Par 3’s, 5 Par 4’s, 2 Par 5’s.

Something signature: Water Tower on full display! It provides a nice visual throughout the round.

Playing Tip: Going for it in two on hole 9? Of course you are that’s way more fun! A blind second shot will require a quick peak to see where you’re headed but you’ll have to navigate a water hazard that lies just 20 yards in front of the green. Ya, probably stick to laying up….

Do it for the Gram: A primed tee shot in the middle of the 4th hole (if you didn’t try to go for the green) provides a stellar angle of the looming water tower that is slightly downhill from your 2nd shot. I’ve shown you the way, now tag #GolfLifeAB in that Insta post so I can see if you followed directions.

fortsaskwatertower4
That’ll fetch a couple likes on your next Instagram post.

Unique Characteristics:

  • Burt.
  • Includes a Driving range that is parallel to the first tee, only has about 4 stalls and maybe goes 200 yards? Cart path along the first basically takes you right through the middle of it so that might be a safety hazard that one might need to be conscious of while playing that hole!
  • If you play the course as a full 18 hole track they actually have two sets of tees that you play from for the “front” and “back” nines. Not sure if this is common for most nine hole loops but found that quite interesting. It was labelled on the hole signs and score card! What a world these nine hole courses live in!

What a fun golf course. I also haven’t walked in quite some time so that added a refreshing aspect to this round. The course features the views of the historic Fort Sask. water tower on at least 5 of the 9 holes which provides a nice backdrop for those looking  to add a picture to their golf specific Instagram page (*cough follow @golfwithrco on Instagram *cough).

We’ve also mentioned it on the podcast but I usually enjoy golf courses that make you hit a variety of different shots, requires you to use every club in your bag, or gives you some unique looks. Fort Sask. G&CC definitely offers that with some blind tee and approach shots, some risk/reward par 4’s, and water that slides its way through parts of the golf course. The par 5’s play long, the par 3’s force you to hit quality tee shots, and there’s a decent amount of elevation change throughout the course.

I definitely felt that during my stroll around the course…

fortsaskhole6

The 6th hole is the first of two par 3’s that demands a decent approach shot if you’re looking to make par.

Burt

The welcome sign as you enter Fort Saskatchewan says the population is around 25,000 people. The reason I wanted to go on this little journey in the first place was to visit these smaller towns (not that 25,000 is small town by any means) and experience a golf course almost in the same sense as a tourist would experiencing a new culture and how they appreciate the game of golf. Fort Saskatcehwan G&CC provided just that in the form of one man.

The pro shop doesn’t boast the latest line of TaylorMade drivers or Nike’s Tiger Woods mock neck shirts for sale and quite frankly it’s a little run down (I love that by the way). But it does boast Burt.

Burt (he is as old as it sounds like he is) greeted us immediately and as we paid was very determined to take us through the strategy needed on the course’s every hole and mapped out directions in case we ever got lost. This was our first time playing the course, you see.

Tip from Burt: the second hole goes back towards the Fire Hall!

He told us that we shouldn’t take the course too lightly as it can be quite the test if you aren’t on your game. But also mentioned we looked “tough” which gave us the motivation we needed to step on the first tee and power through any challenge that we faced.

First time in my life I’ve ever looked tough…

Course Conditions:

I plan on keeping this section very brief in the future. I have a tough time commenting on course conditions (specifically green conditions) as they can vary year to year and one nasty Alberta winter can really make or break a season. The supers and their staff work tirelessly to give us the best conditions with what they have and I fully appreciate that. We’ve also had the wettest summer on record so they have that to contend with as well.

There’s more to a course than green conditions but I understand that people work hard for their money and want the best value when they spend it.

  1. Greens were solid.
  2. Course was a little shaggy but with the amount of rain we have experienced in the past couple of weeks I know that the mowers would have a tough time getting out there for a fresh cut.

Final thoughts:

The not so nice weather and time constraints for getting to my final tee time of my “Summer Solstice” golf adventure prevented a post round, 10th hole visit (I’m assuming this is what you’d call the “refreshment” station for a nine hole track) but this will definitely be a feature of future golf course reviews.

I’d say the least appealing thing about the course is  a 3 hole stretch that runs with the highway and is a little noisy and distracting. This is personal preference more than anything and something that the golf course really has no control over. Roads are important, it’s a fact.

Will I be back? I’d happily join anyone that would like to play Fort Sask. G&CC again. So absolutely, yes I would come back. Plus Burt makes it so worthwhile.

fortsask9
A look at the 9th hole’s green. Are you sure you want to go for it in two? (source: Fort Saskatchewan G&CC homepage)

 

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