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Whitecourt G&CC a wonderful rural golf experience

By Gord Montgomery – Western Canada Senior Writer, Inside Golf

A word of advice from a golf guy — if you haven’t been to the Whitecourt Golf & Country Club for a while get there as quickly as you can. Or, if you have teed it up at this wonderful layout recently, get back as quickly as you can.

Andy Neilsen, the CPGA Head Professional/General Manager, at this rural layout noted that while people have the perception the course is too far away to bother with, nothing could be further from the truth. A  day trip here is just the thing to let you sample a wonderful course. Originally built in the 1960s and then redesigned by renowned Canadian golf architect Les Furber in the 1990s, it is truly a jewel that begs to be played.

“People tend to think that once you’re outside that half hour bubble from Edmonton, it’s too far to drive,” the Pro noted about this short journey that’s well worth it. “I drive an hour and 20 every day to get here (to work) and it’s the easiest drive in the world. You hit one set of lights in Mayerthorpe,” and on a four-lane highway with a speed limit of 110 km/h, it’s easy sailing. “Getting here is fairly easy from Edmonton. There are lots of guys from Edmonton that play out here once, twice a week.”

Now, take heed of this: Once you step onto the first tee, things may look a bit intimidating, but don’t let that first impression get into your head.

“The front nine is intimidating right out of the gate the first time you play here because it looks so tight,” Neilsen agreed. “But once you’ve played here a couple of times, people are shaving a couple, three strokes off the score. They realize that’s it’s more open than it looks. It’s not super, super tight. And, it’s short enough that with all the technology now. it’s not length that’s challenging here.”

The major key in succeeding on  this playground is to think your way around.  A great idea is as simple as aiming at the 150 yard markers on every hole. That assignment, if properly carried out, leaves you in good shape for your approach shots to some large greens.

Off the blue tees, Whitecourt  G&CC tops out at around 6,300  yards and moving up a block or two sees the distance diminish to 5,768 and 5,400 yards. There are also junior tees set up here, to help young players get a feel for the game without facing overwhelming distances. The key out here is about placement off the tee by playing to the larger landing areas in the fairways which opens  up the greens and gives you the opportunity to score  well. There are a multitude of dogleg right holes on the course, with a few that turn left as well. Strategy is a huge key here; yes you can try to cut corners but the penalty for a missed shot is steep.

As for the value of making this trip, Neilsen noted that Play Golf Alberta offers up great deals.

“It’s the best value there is and tee time availability is very good,” he emphasized.  “This course is in the best shape it’s been in for a long time. You don’t see houses, you don’t see anything,” other than the challenges that lay in front of you and where you’re surrounded by quiet with only the occasional bird call and a wandering deer or two to distract you. “It’s a rural golf course that is close to the city. It’s awesome out there!”

And if you’re in the mood for a two-day trip to two great golf courses that are relatively close together, pair up Whitecourt G&CC with the Barrhead Golf Club, another wonderful rural play that is only a short drive away. 

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