By Gord Montgomery – Western Canada Senior Writer, Inside Golf
As a second generation family operation, the Fort in View Golf Course welcomes everyone with a family-friendly approach, meaning regardless of your ability at the game, you can enjoy this 27-hole facility no matter which nines you combine.
Located just outside Fort Saskatchewan, and a short drive from all the suburbs surrounding Edmonton proper, Fort in View is one of only three courses with three different nines to tee it up on. And that, says General Manager Gord Hayward, means finding a tee time here that fits your busy schedule isn’t that tough a job.
“Because we have the 27 holes we can get a large amount more golfers, probably six hours worth of tee times out on the golf course (each day) than an 18-hole course can,” he said.
Originally constructed back in the 1980s as 18 holes the Fort in View course expanded by another nine challenges in the early 1990s. The original nines were known as Buck and Clark, and the Simpson Nine followed those a few years later. That, said Hayward, was always the plan put together by Dr. Walter Buck, who besides building the course owned three dental practices and was this area’s MLA.
“The original two courses are a little bit longer and the greens are a little smaller,” than what followed, explained Hayward. The Buck Nine plays to a length of 3,210 from the tips, but most golfers are looking at a yardages of 2,935 and 2,635 from the next two tee boxes forward. On Clark, it’s almost 3,000 yards from the longest tee, closing down to 3,065 and then 2,345. As for the Simpson routing, the distances run from 2,747 down to 2,612 and 2,440. If you play the original two 18s the par is 72; when you chip in the Simpson Nine with one of the others, the par is one less at 71 thanks to only one par-5 on the newer of the courses.
Even though that nine plays to a shorter yardage, it doesn’t necessarily make the challenge presented you any less.
“There is a little more water on Simpson,” explained Hayward. “From the forward tees you can avoid that water but if you’re teeing off from the Championship tee, then you’re going to have to carry across the water,” on the second hole there, which entails a carry of around 220 yards from the middle tee. There is however a bail-out spot if one wants to play it safe. That hole is followed by another that is also guarded by water, this time running down the right side of the fairway and in front of the green.
Despite the length, and the hazards on all three nine, Hayward noted “The whole course is pretty friendly for all types of golfers. It’s not a difficult course. We don’t have tons of traps and stuff. From the pace of play perspective, we keep the rough cut down meaning you can find your ball fairly easily if you miss the fairway and carry on. The course isn’t difficult, but it is challenging,” which every golfer, regardless of their ability is looking for.
Despite the passing of Dr. Buck the family tradition carries on at Fort in View. Bob and David Buck are now the owners of this piece of paradise with Bob doubling up as the superintendent. David is employed at the facility as the head mechanic.
And since family is such a big part of the history of this 27-hole layout, it’s the course’s desire to ensure that all members of anyone’s family can come here and enjoy a round, whether you’re taking on a nine hole journey, a full 18, or if you’re keen on keeping going, perhaps even 27 holes in a single day.
The thing about these nine are they are a bit deceiving to one’s golf discerning eyes, said Hayward about the playability of the course.
“You know, when you look at it, it might look pretty easy and you think you can have a really good score but the greens can be difficult and it’s hard to get a really good score even if you’re a good players. The hazards aren’t placed where the regular golfer is going to be hitting their ball so the pace of play is good. It’s very playable, and friendly in that way.”
From The Front Deck
When one tees it up on the box closest to the green to start a hole, the major thing that stands out is the added advantage they receive in yardages. Many of the holes are shortened considerably, including a 65 yard head start on No. 6 and 60 yards on the next hole on the Buck nine. The Clark nine also kicks in with its own offering, an 80 yard advantage of No. 5 and a whopping 125 yards on the next hole. Not to be outdone, the Simpson track offers up shorter yardages as well, making these loops enticing to the novice golfer as it certainly doesn’t scare them with overly long assignments. And while there aren’t a lot of hazards on this trio of nines, the front boxes do take much of the danger out of play, or they can be easily cleared with a modicum of difficulty.
One other thing about Fort in View is its accessibility from surrounding communities. Located just a short drive off the Manning Freeway, head onto Highway 37 and then a paved roadway, RR 230, takes you all the way into the facility.
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