Like many sports we still enjoy today, golf has a long and storied history. Yes, it’s easy to decry the time when golf was completely inaccessible to women, how it catered to the elite, and how difficult it could be to gain membership – but to focus on that nowadays would be a huge mistake. One of the reasons golf has endured for all these centuries is because it is a sport that is open to change. What was once a sport for the few is now a family-friendly activity on grounds that not only support the game, but function as community hubs as well. Some courses are taking things a step further, as we will discuss later, and incorporating events like on-site festivals.
Today’s courses are focused on families, community, fun, and wellbeing. Jerry Linquist, CPGA, general manager, Lewis Estates Golf Course, points out, “Golf is a great game that people can play for life. It’s a very social game. You can play a round with your guy or gal pals as well as with your significant other. It’s a game that many couples enjoy playing long into their retirement. So many skills and life lessons can be learned on the golf course, including sportsmanship, honesty and integrity. It can also be a very competitive, but fair, game that levels the playing field. With the handicapping system, you have just as much chance to win a game against Tiger as Phil does.”
Lewis Estates Golf Course is one of the most famous in the city, and for good reason. It’s a gathering hub in addition to having noteworthy greens.
“This course offers our customers a great facility in a beautiful setting,” Linquist explains. “Our patio, with its views of the golf course, is one of the best in west Edmonton and holds up to 100 people. We have a private meeting room that can seat up to 40 and our clubhouse will host up to 120 people for golf tournaments, charity events, weddings and fundraisers. We’ve held charity casinos, baby showers, weddings and meetings of all kinds in addition to the tournaments we host throughout the year.
“We also offer nearby residents a friendly neighbourhood pub-style environment and we feature patio parties in the summer with live music. You don’t need to be a golfer to enjoy a beverage or a meal at the Lewis Estates clubhouse.”
When you are ready to hit the course, however, you will enjoy yourself whether you are a novice, a pro, playing solo, or with others.
“Our CPGA professional staff offer a variety of lessons for all ages in both group and private lesson formats,” Linquist points out. “We have one of Edmonton’s best men’s and ladies’ nights and our Sr. Men’s day is very popular as well. In the summer months, we host date nights for couples that include golf, dinner and live entertainment. Date nights have been very popular with neighbouring residents.”
Think the fun is over when the snow falls? It’s not!
“In the winter months we host a popular series of wine and food pairing evenings and our ‘Taste of Poison’ night where we showcase our new menu items in collaboration with our beverage reps who showcase what we have on tap and behind the bar.”
Murray McCourt, general manager and executive golf professional at The Ranch Golf and Country Club agrees that, “Golf is a great game for people of all ages as it is a fun and social way to keep active.”
He further notes, “Hanging out and socializing with friends and family enjoying four hours together walking around a beautiful golf course and playing a fun and relaxing sport is a wonderful thing to do. Golf is also a sport that you can play from a very young age and continue for your entire lifetime. Such a wonderful way to help keep your body and mind active!”
“The Ranch,” he points out, “is highly regarded as one of the best public golf courses in the province. We offer unmatched value and are known to be a fun, laid back and accommodating golf course.”
It’s also one of Edmonton’s most in-demand locations for companies hosting golf tournaments and other events.
McCourt explains, “We have two different banquet rooms. Our largest room easily accommodates 160 guests, and we are one of the busiest corporate tournament courses in the province, hosting over 150 events each year.”
Sitting just outside of the city in the countryside of Spruce Grove is a completely different type of golf experience. At Putting Horse Ranch, you can enjoy overnight RV camping so you can stay close to the fun. There is an 18-hole undulating putting-only course (Par 70) a three-hole Par 3, 4 & 5 course that weaves around water features, and horseback riding for all skill levels.
Owners Chris and Liz Poburan are passionate about helping families enjoy the great outdoors in Alberta’s beautiful Parkland County, while having no shortage of options to be active together while having fun.
“We are very family orientated with RV overnight options as well as horse activities, beautiful patios, and our Class A licensed Putters Lounge and Grill. At our location children are always welcome and parent-child participation encouraged. Our golf course is beginner friendly, but also a great place for seasoned golfers to hone their skills.”
Night golf events are also available on the three-hole course.
Liz Poburan points out that the putting and three-hole courses are both great option for fundraising and team building, especially when the team has golfers that are new to the game. “The food is awesome too,” she smiles, then adds, “Golf allows people to see and hear each other having a great time under the beautiful sky in a natural setting, playing a fun yet challenging game.”
An elegant, rustic venue on site is where brides get their dream barn wedding, and it’s also where corporations book events, families host reunions, and other events take place. Limited, but delicious, catering is provided upon request.
Putting Horse Ranch also features an on-site children’s festival called KidzStock. This year’s KidzStock takes place on June 20 and includes free admission, cash food concessions, rubber duck races, a pie eating contest, live entertainment, discounts on horseback rides, mini-golf to introduce children to the fun of the game, and much more. During KidzStock the putting course will be open for BOGO golf, with BOGO continuing on Sunday for Fathers’ Day.
Today anyone can play golf and enjoy the many other features, food and amenities modern courses have to offer. With Alberta’s short summer season, hitting the golf course is one of the best ways to maximize active, outdoor, social fun.
To learn more about the courses mentioned above, please visit lewisestatesgolf.com, www.theranchgolf.com and puttinghorseranch.com.