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Sundre, area golf courses anticipating early May tee-offs

Late snowfalls dashed hopes for even earlier start to the 2024 golfing season
An aerial view of the Sundre Golf Club, where original plans to open the 2024 season by Friday, April 26 were pushed back by one week until May 3 due to late season snowfall. File photo/MVP Staff

SUNDRE – Late snowfalls dashed any hopes for an early start to the 2024 golfing season, but the local courses nevertheless expect to soon be open.

“The course wintered really well,” said Scott Shouldice, the Sundre Golf Club’s head pro, adding on Friday, April 19 during an interview that the greens were looking healthy.

While the tarps were still in place when he spoke with the Albertan, Shouldice expected they would be off within in a matter of days.

But as a result of the late snow, he said their opening day was pushed back to Friday, May 3 from original hopes to tee off this coming Friday, April 26.

“With the snow we got this week, it would have been too hard to open next Friday,” he said.

Among some upcoming highlight events are Alberta Golf’s Best Ball Championship, a relatively new tournament whose inaugural run in 2023 was also hosted at the course, he said.

The event, which takes place May 20, also marks Alberta Golf’s first championship of the 2024 season.

“It’s the opening tournament for their schedule for the year,” said Shouldice.

According to Alberta Golf’s website, the event is open to two-person teams that can be all male, all female, co-ed, and for all ages.

Shouldice said the only caveat is a cap of some 120 players.

Regulars at the course will upon their return also notice some changes this year.

“We did a renovation on our pro shop actually over the winter,” said Shouldice, adding there was an interior re-design that included relocating the counter and re-carpeting the floor.

“It’s kind of a new look this year,” he said, adding the restaurant was also renamed Jimmy’s Grill in memory of the course’s late owner Jimmy Thorogood, who passed away a couple of years ago.

Over at Forest Heights Golf Course, head pro Ted Bach also said during an interview on April 19 that their grounds “came through the winter very nicely.”

There at the time remained a few frozen spots that pushed back their opening date to Wednesday, May 1, said Bach.

“We always like to try to open in April,” he said.

“But typically, we generally get going the first week of May most years anyway,” he said, adding the late snow ushered in welcome moisture.

“It seems like our lawns are nice and full to start the season, so we’re looking pretty good for water,” he said, adding the only hangup was waiting for snow and ice to melt off hole number 9.

“I won’t be able to fire up the irrigation until that melts,” he said. “We just need a good week of nice warm weather.”

Above and beyond again hosting numerous annual charity events this year such as the Elks tournament, Gillies Snaggles and Snakes, as well as the Bucky 99 memorial event in honour of the late Randy Thomas, Forest Heights will also be welcoming the return of the STARS Renegade tournament on Sept. 13, he said.

Originally started by Bob Fahey and Bruno Olsen, the Renegade tournament’s roots began at Forest Heights, he said, adding the STARS fundraiser has since also been hosted at the Sundre Golf Club as well as Coyote Creek Golf and RV Resort.

“It’s nice to move it around a little bit,” he said.

“STARS has raised a lot of money over the years through the Renegade Tournament. It’s great.”

Forest Heights is also getting a bit of a face lift this year.

“We’re renovating the practice area that we’ve had for a number of years and we’re re-routing the number 18 fairway,” he said.

“We just changed it because we expanded 20 more RV sites,” he said, adding No. 18 had to be moved to accommodate the new trailer sites.

“It’s going to be a dogleg left instead of a dogleg right,” he said.

“We did all the rough work last fall, and we’re just working on some finishing work now,” he said, adding seeding would be getting started in May.

Jason Upton, Coyote Creek Golf and RV, head golf pro could not be reached before press deadline following multiple attempts to connect.

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel joined Mountain View Publishing in 2015 after working for the Vulcan Advocate since 2007, and graduated among the top of his class from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's journalism program in 2006.
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