Dinosaur Trail Golf and Country Club is located in Drumheller, Alberta, only 110 km east of Calgary among the beautiful Canadian Badlands.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Drumheller area, it is a hot bed for ancient fossils and dinosaur bones. It’s also home to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology which is a big draw for tourists. It’s an interesting little town with a breathtaking backdrop.
Also tucked away in the southeast corner of Drumheller is a little gem of a golf course unlike any other you’ll ever play. It’s basically two different golf courses rolled into one, with the front and back nines being dramatically different.
I was quite pleased with how Beth and I were treated upon our arrival. The staff were all very friendly and down to earth and made sure we had everything we needed for our round. We headed over to the driving range to get warmed up and I was pleasantly surprised to see a grass teeing area, something that is becoming rare as more courses switch over to mats. There is also a practice putting green conveniently located next to the driving range.
We had the pleasure of playing with their head pro, Jamie Scott. We were greeted by him and our other playing partner, Leah, at the first tee. They were both extremely friendly, down to earth and a pleasure to play golf with.
The course isn’t overly long, playing to about 6400 yards from the tips, but becomes very strategic on the back 9. The front nine is a more traditional layout, fairly flat, a few water hazards and the fairways are carved through mature trees and bushes. You definitely want to take advantage of the front 9 as the course will get more difficult as you transition to the Badlands on the back 9.
The opening tee shot:
Looking back at the par 5 6th hole:
The par 3 7th hole:
As you can probably tell from the photos, the course was in great shape. Particularly the greens which were immaculate and rolling very nicely the whole way around.
Feeling satisfied with the fun and playable front 9, we were very intrigued what the back 9 would deliver. As we crested the long and steep hill up to the 10th tee, we were definitely blown away by the unique scenery of The Badlands.
The par 5 10th hole:
The par 4 11th hole:
Beth and I both embraced the uniqueness and beauty of the Badlands back 9. It is target style golf that can be very challenging and unforgiving, but it’s important to remember that it’s just the nature of having a golf course in that setting. It’s unlike any other 9 holes you’ll ever play and it felt like a privilege to experience it.
The par 3 12th hole:
The par 4 13th hole:
Looking back from the 13th green:
The par 3 16th hole:
I would highly recommend picking up a course guide as there are a couple of tee shots on the back where it is difficult to know where to hit it if you don’t have someone with you who knows the course. Luckily we had the head pro in our group which made it easy, but it would have been difficult on a couple of holes without his guidance.
After our round we checked out their newly constructed clubhouse for lunch on the beautiful patio overlooking the 1st hole. Their chef always puts on great specials and we were impressed with the food. I went with the fish and chips and was very impressed. Lightly battered and perfectly cooked, with large crispy fries just how I like them.
After it was all said and done, we both agreed that it was a great experience out at Dinosaur Trail Golf and Country Club. Playing in a small town and greeted by friendly down to earth locals brought me back to my roots having grown up in a small town myself. With their green fee maxing out at $60 during peak weekend hours, it’s incredibly good value.
Although it’s almost unfair to rate smaller town courses on the same scale as the likes of Pebble Beach, it’s important to realize that they are just as important, or maybe even more important for the game of golf to keep it growing in the nooks and crannies of rural areas.
If you get the opportunity, I definitely recommend getting out to the Drumheller area and teeing it up at Dinosaur Trail. It’ll be a unique golfing experience which will leave you with a satisfied feeling that you definitely got what you paid for.