Changes at Stony Plain Golf Course making it more visually appealing but it’s still all about those testy greens
By Gord Montgomery
Things continue to change, for the better, at the Stony Plain Golf Course so if you haven’t been there in a while, maybe it’s time you headed back.
You see, with some groundwork done last fall, the municipally-owned 18-hole track has suddenly taken on a whole new face, first as you start your round. And as you end it, as well. But the changes go far beyond that cosmetic touch-up alone.
Jeff Cuthbertson, the Executive Professional at the Stony course, explains the alterations to the first and last holes this way: “The big thing is, we’ve cleaned up a lot of areas. The first hole, with the pond on the lefthand side, we’ve taken out all the brush, the shrubs, really cleared the overgrowth to clean it all up. The pond is now visible from the first tee and it’s going to make the first hole definitely a little more intimidating than it has been in the past.
“We’ve really cleaned it up, helping with the pace of play as players will now see if, and when, their ball goes into the hazard. It makes it easier to keep moving along and maintain the pace of play. This will hopefully be one of those focal points that makes you look and realize we’re paying attention to some of the fine details of the golf course.”
While you’ll be staring at that water as you let go with your first hoped-for bomb of the day, you’ll also be seeing that same hazard, from the other side, with the last big volley of your round on No. 18. There, the pond has been cleaned all the way around and yes, there is a chance you could be hitting over that water every now and again.
“There’s a potential we may use those original tee decks (behind the pond) a little more often,” the pro noted. “Really, the danger there is the 17th tee box points right at those tee decks so we have to be conscientious if we choose to use them.”
While many of the course’s fairways are already defined by large growth trees, it sounds like there could be more of those things made of 90 per cent air coming down the cart path.
“It might not be too noticeable because of the number of trees on the golf course but we are going to continue to add trees to the golf course this year,” noted Cuthbertson. “It’s a replacement program, really,” for some of the older trees that have succumbed to nature.
The hallmark of the Stony Plain Golf Course though has always been the large putting surfaces which are highlighted by the great white sand bunkering now in place.
“The greens here are known for their speed, for their pace and how severe they are,” Cuthbertson agreed. “The greens really are the protection for the golf course and that’s what a lot of people come for. They know they’re going to get a green that’s quick and they know they’re going to play greens that challenge them.”
As for those bunkers where the sand is of a consistent texture all the way around the course, he noted, “The big thing is, anytime you’re using the white silica (sand) alongside the vibrant green, it really does frame everything,” making for some memorable green complexes.
At the Stony Plain Golf Course the public is welcome anytime and can now take advantage of 7-day advance booking privileges in order to secure a time that’s good for them. And on top of that, there are some special prices at particular times of the day. The pro shop staff is always happy to see returning players, as well as newcomers, looking to experience some of the best greens in the Edmonton area.
“We’re running mid-day and weekend specials to encourage people who don’t want to play at 7 or 8 o’clock in the morning,” said Cuthbertson, noting the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. slots are a good time to tee off. As well, the course this year is offering a twilight rate, every day, all year long.
And if you’re looking for new gear the Stony Plain Golf Course has you covered there as well. They have a policy in place that says they’ll meet, or beat, any big box store offer on inline, current top line items including TaylorMade, PING, Callaway, Titleist and Mizuno. The also offer full custom club fitting with the aid of a launch monitor to make sure your new sticks are built to your swing specifications.
In closing, Cuthbertson agreed fully that his track maybe isn’t always going to eat your lunch but if you take it too lightly, it can indeed eat your lunch.
“That’s perfect,” he said of that description. “I don’t know how to say it any better than that. It doesn’t look intimidating, it has relatively generous fairways but it’s not short. The fairways and greens are fast and it’s in top condition at all times.”
“I think people will be impressed when they come out and see the golf course. There have been some changes here the last few years, new thoughts, new ideas,” which now includes opening players’ eyes wider with the dangers evident with their first and last tee shots of the day.
For booking an online tee time at the Stony Plain Golf Course, go to www.playgolfalberta.com.