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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 24, 2020
The scenery is always spectacular.
But we can all agree Greywolf Golf Course, carved into the rugged wilderness in Panorama, B.C., looks even better after a birdie or par than a triple bogey.
That’s the beauty of the latest addition at Greywolf, a brand-new set of tees — the greens on your scorecard — that shorten this mountain stunner to 4,585 yards and significantly up the fun-factor for beginners and anybody else who doesn’t get a ton of pop out of their driver.
“It’s really a culmination of just getting feedback over the years,” explained Justin Brown, the director of golf at Greywolf. “The old forward tee was the whites, which was 5,300 yards and change. And it was just too much. It was a hair too long. I heard it over and over again, especially from the ladies, that it was just too difficult.
“That’s a missed opportunity, right? We want to create that opportunity for everybody and anybody to come play here and enjoy themselves.”
B.C.’s Columbia Valley has long been a favourite escape for Calgarians and although officials initially asked any would-be visitors to stay away due to COVID-19, there are now ‘Welcome back Albertans’ signs as you arrive in this weekend playground.
Greywolf is one of the reasons to be sure you pack your clubs and soft-spikes if you’re headed west on Highway 93.
Golf’s tee-it-forward movement is not just about bringing people in. It’s about bringing them back. (It’s no coincidence that another of the most popular options in the Columbia Valley is the Ridge Course at Copper Point, which stretches to just over 5,000 yards from the longest set, plays to a par of 62 and leaves bonus beach/boating time after a round.)
A credit to the crew at Greywolf, the new forward tees — open since the start of this season — lessen the yardage without altogether eliminating the challenge or that edge-of-your-cart-seat feeling that has made this one of Canada’s must-play public courses.
The best example comes at the signature sixth hole, nicknamed ‘Cliffhanger’ and usually requiring a knee-knocking rip across a deep canyon. There’s much less forced carry from the greens, instead a 77-yard bop that opens up splendid views down the valley toward Jumbo Glacier.
On No. 13, what I consider the toughest test on the property, the angle from the new tee-deck takes a gnarly fairway bunker out of play.
On No. 16, even a light-hitter has a chance to catch the speed-slot with their drive.
Besides, nobody ever drained a birdie-putt and promptly complained about a hole being too easy — at least, nobody in my contact-list — and Greywolf still offers plenty of meat for the longer crowd. (From the tips, it will measure more than 7,000 yards and there are four other options in between, so every member of your family or foursome can find an appropriate distance.)
“There’s a husband and wife who have played here for maybe three years now, and she made the point of saying that now that she is on this new tee-box, she’s in the same spot on the fairway as her husband for their approach shots to the green,” Brown said. “And that’s exactly what it’s designed to do. If you’re hitting three-woods into Par-4s all day long, that can wear you down. It gets to be a bit of a grind. But if you can put a seven-iron into their hands into some of the greens at least, it makes a huge difference. They’re going to hit more greens and just have more fun.
“And the thing that I really like is the way our superintendent, Evan (Olauson), and the crew built the tee-boxes — it wasn’t just picking a spot in the fairway and cutting it a little shorter and sticking a couple of blocks out there. We actually built tee-complexes and cut out trees and made it part of the golf course. If you drove around 18 holes and looked at these tees, I don’t think most people would ever guess that those have been added recently.
“It’s just really well done. We’re really happy with it.”
HAVE YOU HEARD?
Not that you need an excuse, but here’s a great reason to bring your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc., along for your next round.
The Take a Kid to the Course program tees off Monday, with participating facilities offering free rounds to youngsters when accompanied by a paying adult.
At last check, 25-plus Calgary-area courses were waiving green-fees for the next generation as part of this nationwide initiative.
For full details, including a list of participating tracks and any restrictions on time of booking, visit kidsplaygolf.ca .
HAVE YOU PLAYED?
These northwest neighbours won’t mind sharing the spotlight.
In fact, they share some members.
The similarities don’t end there — both Lynx Ridge and Valley Ridge offer the calm and quiet of the city outskirts while also demanding your full attention if you want to post a good score.
The front nine at Valley Ridge plays along the edge of the Bow River. The green-site at No. 8 has to rank among the most soothing spots on any course in this area.
Valley Ridge also boasts a superb finishing stretch, highlighted by the long and strong 17 th — a daunting downhiller that can stretch 230 yards from the back tees to a tricky green.
If that sounds like a beast, wait until you arrive at No. 14 at Lynx Ridge, which belongs in any conversation about Calgary’s most difficult Par-3s. From the tips? 240 yards, and without an elevation change on your side. Gulp.
Don’t be scared off, though. The layout at Lynx Ridge, located at the south end of 12 Mile Coulee Road, is a fun mix of holes you can birdie and holes that can bite you. There’s a real premium on putting yourself in the best position off the tee.
If you’re up for a 36-hole challenge, a double-header at these semi-private setups — a 15-minute commute by car, even though it’s much closer as the crow flies — would be a heck of a day.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020