Getting on the green

Blogging about some of the world's best golf holes.


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Hole # 5, River Spirit Golf Club, Calgary, AB

Hole # 5, Millburn 9, par 4, 408 yards

Hole # 5

Hole # 5

It brings back memories of the Alberta floods earlier this year when you see the devastation of fairways and tee boxes at River Spirit Golf Club on Highway 8, west of Calgary. In June, there were so much water spilling off the banks that entire fairways were under water for days. Debris in the form of large trees uprooted and boulders were carried down river, scraping and carving up land.

Mike who is a member at River Spirit, gave us hole-by-hole commentary of how the floods had affected his golf club. Hole # 5 tee box was devastated. When you stand at the blue tee and look back, you no longer see the black tees which used to be way back and surrounded by dense forest. Today, you see a cliff where the black tees used to be and a clearing. The river runs behind the hole and gravel lines the banks. Mike told me that there used to be trees from the end of the tee box to the trees that are still standing, about 150 yards away.

It is amazing to think what Mother Nature has done. Hole # 5 used to be 408 yards but now, it is shorter. It used to take two good shots to come close to the green. Now it is a drive and a mid-iron to the green.


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Hole # 18, Mt Lorette GC, Kananaskis Country, AB

Hole # 18, par 4, 427 yards

Hole # 18, Mt Lorette

Hole # 18, Mt Lorette

As an Albertan, it was an annual obligation and desire to play one of the best golf courses ever built. From Calgary, it would be an hour drive west towards the Bow Valley Parkway, then south towards the Kananaskis Country. It would always be a treat driving there because of the scenery and wildlife. On the day when we drove out, it was dry but rain was in the forecast. When we arrived at the golf courses, we drove up to the valet and no one was there to greet us. After the floods, they had to let most of the staff go because the course was closed for the entire 2013 season.

The floods had damaged both courses. Instead of a meandering creek, it was now a raging river. The sand bunkers on hole # 18 on the Mt Lorette course was practically washed away, along with the 400 yard fairway. The green is still intact but even the cart path suffered some damage.

It was a sad sight. Only the tee box remained on hole # 10. The fairway from tee box to green was almost non-existent. They said at the height of the flood, Mt Lorette was completely underwater. Mt Kidd was spared but there is considerable damage on the 10th, 14th, 16th and 18th holes. Luckily the signature hole, par 3 with the island green was untouched except for one sand bunker.