By Gord Montgomery, Senior Writer, Inside Golf
There are two things you should know about the Cougar Creek Golf Resort as you look to book you next tee time. First of all, it’s not all that far away from Edmonton down the Yellowhead Highway. Secondly, the weather in this part of Parkland County is often quite different from what people see in the urban areas.
Head Professional Jake Behiels was quick to point out it’s not all that far to his track, set in the quiet countryside.
“The majority of our players are from Edmonton but we also get quite a few from Stony Plain and Spruce Grove. We’re only about 30 minutes west of the city. It is too bad about gas prices but I believe with the conditions we have, people are willing to make the trip out,” which is appreciated by the entire staff at Cougar Creek, from the pros to the maintenance to the restaurant.
The course, the pro pointed out, has matured well over the past while and a new approach to caring for the putting surfaces in the off-season is paying huge dividends.
“Ever since we invested in that new tarp system a few years ago it’s been night and day. The grounds crew has done an incredible job of maintenance through the winter. It’s not an easy job blowing air into the greens every week,” but that work is paying off with greens that are smooth, true and quite consistent speed-wise.
From the time you pull into Cougar Creek until you leave you’ll discover that the one thing that’s key here is the public. “It’s all about customer service. That is our number one priority. We take a lot of pride in that,” said Behiels.
Then when you tee it up here, you’ll find the opening stretch of holes calming and scenic. “The front nine here is extremely peaceful where you’re surrounded by trees. It kind of gives you the feel you’re the only one on the golf course,” with some great birdie opportunity holes. “The back nine does open up a bit more but again, standing on 13 tee, seeing six, seven holes around you is a pretty cool sight.”
The great thing about the homestretch are the finishing three holes, a rather short par 5, a par 3 and a par 4 around the lake where if you want, you can try to fly the hazard and be putting for eagle. This trio offers the chance for low numbers, as proven by a young man at the Alberta U19 Championship held at Cougar Creek this year, where he went 3-1-3 to end his round.
Overall, the course plays a little less than 600 yards shorter off the White tees (6,002 yards) than the Blues (6,541 yards). There is also a combo tee set-up (6,254 yards), introduced about three years ago by Behiels and a few members who found the White tee too short but the Blues too long. Then from the front deck, the course plays out to just under 5,200 yards. From the tips, it’s a bit over 6,800 hard-earned yards, meaning this is a place for anyone, and everyone to play.
“Yeah, it is a course for everybody but it’s about selecting the right tees,” the pro emphasized. “That’s crucial. It caters to an extremely experienced player to the weekend guy who just wants to go out and have fun.”
And remember, as the pro says, “Sometimes the weather out here is nowhere close to what it is in the city,” so a short drive can mean you’re teeing it up while others who choose not to drive out here are stuck at home watching golf on TV.
Cougar Creek Golf Resort has put new power carts into action this season, and they’re a comfy ride around this track. While they don’t have GPS (at present) there is a free, user-friendly app available that doesn’t use much data on your device and enable you to enhance your golfing experience at one of this area’s prettiest courses that isn’t all that far away.