Alberta’s Public Course Ratings

Shaganappi (Calgary Muni)

Shaganappi - one of Calgary's muni courses

SCORE GOLF has a fine publication now at most golf courses and bookstores (for $7.99 or less) called CANADA’S PUBLIC COURSE RANKINGS. They have an excellent panel of 114 course raters from across the country, and to me they have come up with a very useful set of provincial rankings, and more importantly, each province has additional information about the next tier of courses. The Alberta list is as follows, with a few comments from me (the last panel I was on was the Globe’s many years ago, when I was more relevant).
1. Jasper Park It has the WOW and the FUN factors, plus it stood first in the panel’s 8 points. Good choice, pricey.
2. Banff Springs In spite of it’s bunkers, and price, Banff is my favourite.
3. Stewart Creek A favourite of several friends, I have not ante’d up yet.
4. Wolf Creek – Original Course. Rod Whitman’s cool “links”, a good study by the quiet man of Canadian design (until Cabot Links fully opens in Cape Breton)
5. Kananaskis – Mt Kidd My second favourite in the province, great value and superb design, a fun course by Robt Trent Jones Sr.
6. Kananaskis – Mt Lorette More elevation changes than Kidd, but I don’t like it as much. The back nine is quite different from the front and the other 18, it’s more Les Furber than Trent Jones, and fun!
7. Links of Gleneagles Mark and I have played it quite often, taking advantage of their Twilight rate. The first hole would be an ideal 16th hole, but a strange first hole. Nice Les Furber, but I prefer Darcy Ranch or River Spirit.
8. Heritage Pointe – Desert and Heritage The best greens in Alberta (IMHO), fast and very contoured. Ron Garl is a fine designer from Lakeland Florida and with the exception of the first hole on Heritage, did a good job.
9. Northern Bear Good pedigree but I have yet to meet someone who likes the tract.
10. Paradise Canyon Don’t know the course, don’t like the name (is that reason enough not to visit it?)
11. Sirocco Excellent condition with a private feel.
12. Innisfail Have no knowledge of the course, thought it was south of Barrie.
13. Silver Tip Should be rated higher, must be Les Furber factor.
14. The Ranch Not sure yet, heard good things.
15. Wolf Creek Links Rod Whitman has expanded his course to 36 holes and this second course is worth the stop.

Calgary has 6 muni courses run by the city and enjoyed by Seniors and other players in this golf-crazy town. Shaganappi is my favourite, and I’m playing ti Monday (short and fun course). Waterton Lakes is also a favourite of mine, just a bit of a drive.

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Gary Slatter

Venerable Canadian golf pro Gary Slatter discusses his opinions on the state of golf, golf course design and construction, teaching and more, based on a lifetime in the business.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • 1. Nevermind best public, best course in the province
    2. A very close second
    3. Much better than it’s neighbor across the highway, although if I’m spending the money I’d always drive up the road to Banff.
    4. One of my personal favorites, easily Canada’s best living designer in my opinion.
    5. Great setting, always enjoyable but nothing too spectacular.
    6. See 5
    7. Not my cup of tea, goofy golf unless you’re comparing it to Silvertip
    8. Indifferent, overpriced, seems to have lost some of its luster over the years.
    9. Haven’t played.
    10. No thanks, once was enough.
    11. My favorite semi private/public in Calgary, could without the 10th but other than that I quite enjoy the place.
    12. I was a member here, Bill Robinson(Sirocco) redesigned the course awhile ago, one of the toughest courses in the province, huge elevation changes for central Alberta, love the place, a little frustrating for the average golfer to play day in day out though.
    13. RIDICULOUS, an 8 minute cart ride between holes? Maybe the land was not meant for a golf course?
    14. Haven’t played.
    15. Feels disjointed as the two nines were designed many years apart, the new nine has some potential, would always play the “Old” but if you have time for 36 definitely worth checking out.

    D’arcy Ranch is the only noticeable omission, easily in the top 10.

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