If you haven’t hit the green in Parkland County, you’re missing out. With 12 golf courses, the area is anything but par-for-the-course.
“From a 3-hole course to a 27-hole course, Parkland County truly has it all,” explains Candace Charron, tourism business development officer, Parkland County. “Whether you’re looking to enjoy a round with your buddies or a family-fun day, there are plenty of courses to choose from. Our region caters to golfers of all abilities and ages.”
It’s a strong industry—but it’s also an industry that has introduced numerous benefits—economic and otherwise—into the area.
“There are many positive impacts of golf in Parkland County, including job creation, tax benefits, the attraction of new businesses to the region, charitable support, and spin-off economic impacts for surrounding hamlets, businesses, and accommodations,” Charron observes.
She adds that there are a number of social benefits, too. “Whether you’re introducing kids to golf, going for a round with a few friends on men’s, ladies’ or seniors’ night, or having a business meeting, golf courses can act as a gathering place for the entire community.”
There is also the tourist draw. “Having 12 golf courses, we can attest to that. With daily golf rounds, membership holders, and tournaments, traffic to these golf courses is ongoing.”
Twelve golf courses in a region like Parkland County may seem like a lot, but the area has a great deal to offer the industry. “Our championship golf courses, proximity to Edmonton and the Edmonton International Airport, location between Edmonton and Jasper, and the beautiful scenery are just a few reasons why Parkland County is such a great area for golf.”
Charron is also quick to point out that, “Our golf industry thrives because of the business owners – they are always pushing the envelope with new ideas and ways to expand their market.”
“In order to adapt to new markets, some golf courses have developed vacation lots that are sold individually or used for a stay-and-play model – Pineridge and Trestle Creek are examples of this. This increases their customer base by eliminating the need for day trip travel and brings their customers right to the golf course instead of competing over the Edmonton region. Putting Horse Ranch has developed a unique spin on golf, offering 18 holes of putting or 3-hole golf. This is supplementary to their horse trail rides, dining opportunities, and beautiful wedding venue.”
“Many of our golf courses also expand into other seasonal and recreational activities,” Charron adds. “The Ranch Golf & Country Club has everything from outdoor winter party reservations, including bonfires, tobogganing, and snowshoeing, to outdoor obstacle courses for an annual event in March. Trestle Creek Golf Resort has a recreational lake where you can wakeboard, as well as waterslides for the kids (and the kids at heart), trails, and much more. Pineridge Golf Resort sets tracks each winter for cross-country skiers, and it keeps the 9-Iron Grill open year-round.”
Nicole Richardson, owner and general manager of Pineridge Golf Resort, attributes Parkland County’s rolling hills to the course’s unique features. “Due to the beautiful rolling landscape that the course has been designed around, there are a variety of elevation changes and course features throughout. Our new holes even have a view of Lake Wabamun!” she describes.
That atmosphere is important to what Richardson feels golf is all about. “Golf creates a tranquil environment for people to unwind, relax and have fun. Our course is loaded with trees and manicured fairways, which creates a pleasant surrounding. Our treed environment also helps with our RV lot resort that we have constructed here; people wanting to get away in their RV are looking for a natural and private feel.”
And that’s just what Parkland County has to offer, but it’s a relationship that has reciprocal benefits for the golf courses, the local economy, and the community.
“Each year, more and more kids join our junior league to learn the game. Parents want their kids to learn golf, as it builds character. Golf also teaches patience and etiquette to children, which are great things to learn in life. Both of our men’s league and ladies’ league have grown because of the fun atmosphere that we try to provide. Our lake location and our RV lots are becoming weekend destinations for urbanites—and a great place to enter into early retirement.”
Murray McCourt, general manager/executive golf professional at The Ranch Golf Course, agrees that the strong, positive impact is a reciprocal one between Parkland County and its golf courses.
“Golf courses have a huge impact on the economy in their areas,” McCourt explains. “At The Ranch, we host over 150 various events each year that often sees people come to the area from out of town. Our guests are obviously in need of hotels, gas, restaurants etc., and they will spend money at far more locations than just The Ranch.”
And that draw attracts no small number of golfers. As McCourt points out, “We generally have 34,000 – 36,000 golfers each year, plus additional people who come to The Ranch for meetings, parties, weddings, etc.”
“We also employ upwards of 80 people from the area during our peak season,” he adds. “This is obviously very helpful to the region as well,” McCourt adds.
Kristen Veer, membership & marketing coordinator at Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club (EPGCC), also points to the large draw tournaments and other events have as a strong benefit for the area.
“On average, we host 20,000-23,000 rounds of golf per season for our private membership,” Veer explains. “We also host outside events and tournaments, which increases the amount of traffic in our club. As an example, in 2018, throughout the season and during the hosting of the Mackenzie PGA Tour of Canada, we believe approximately 11,040 people will benefit from this event.” Veer breaks that figure down further, predicting 5,000 guests (charity fundraising golf events and guests of members), 5,000 visitors from the general public, 400 volunteers, 520 members, 120 staff members, and 600 participants will be attending the upcoming event.
“Golf courses,” Veer comments on their overall importance, “can attract high profile local, provincial, and national events for all demographics, bringing money into the community and providing a platform for people to get together socially.” They also, she adds, “provide a place of work for many local students and those living in surrounding communities.”
“Parkland County is an amazing area for golf because it just far enough outside the city that people can escape the hustle and bustle without having to drive too far,” Veer concludes. “With vast green space, variety of terrains, access to water, and thriving wild life, Parkland County offers the perfect canvas for captivating golf courses.”
Ready to book your tee time? In addition to Pineridge Golf Resort, The Ranch Golf & Country Club, and Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club Blackhawk Golf Club, you can head to Cougar Creek Golf Resort, Deer Meadows Golf Course, Duffy’s Challenge, Edmonton Springs Golf Resort, Grouse Nest Golf Course, Ironhead Golf & Country Club, Putting Horse Ranch, and Trestle Creek Golf Resort. Head to www.parklandcounty.com/golf for more information on how to get out on the green.