The Calgary Golf and Country Club, as the name suggests, is located in the heart of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Established in 1897, it is the oldest private course still being played in Alberta today. It is the most exclusive course in Calgary, with the waiting list to gain entry typically varying between 15 and 20 years, one of the longest in all of Canada.
To say I feel fortunate to be a member at this golf course would be an understatement. Every time I set foot on the beautiful property I feel very grateful and privileged.
As you enter the property the first thing you’ll see is a stop sign before you cross the 14th fairway. They’ve eased up on the rules regarding cell phones entering the property, however, they maintain a strict policy prohibiting members and their guests from talking on cell phones, or from cell phones making any noise whatsoever. Courtesy phones are available inside the clubhouse for members and guests to make calls, if required. I love this rule.
The course itself is an old school gem, designed by Scottish golf course architect Willie Park Jr.. It looks tame on the scorecard as a 6400 yard par 70 (par 71 for women), but underestimating the course will cause you immediate regret. It’s about as tough as 6400 yards can get. Dramatic elevation changes, tight rolling fairways, mature tree-lined fairways, challenging bunkers, and deceptively sloped greens await.
Each nine begins and ends on the Elbow River floodplain. The 1st and 10th holes play uphill out of the valley, while the 9th and 18th tee shots play dramatically downhill back to the bottom.
The par 5 1st hole. Only 450 yards on the scorecard, but plays much longer as it is straight uphill. If you’re walking (and you should if you’re able), this hole really gets the blood pumping.
Probably akin to his Scottish roots, Park Jr. appeared to design the course to play firm and fast. There are only a few forced carries from the tee, and all of the greens feature openings at the front, allowing the player an opportunity to use the ground and run the ball up if they choose.
The domed green of the par 3 2nd hole:
The tee shot on the par 4, 3rd hole:
One of the many stunning views, the par 4 9th hole:
You’re treated to more than just beautiful golf views during your round. The view of the Glenmore Reservoir Dam from the 11th tee box:
The par 3 15th hole overlooking the Elbow River:
The 200 yard par 3 17th hole:
One of the most beautiful finishing holes I’ve played, the 485 yard par 4 18th hole:
The Country Club maintains a 4 hour pace of play policy which I absolutely love. It keeps things moving nicely and enhances enjoyment for everyone. If you have plans after your round, you don’t have to fret about being late since you’ll never get caught up in a 5 hour round.
Relative to other private courses in the area, the Country Club keeps their membership numbers low, making the golf course very accessible for members. Although the entrance fees to gain membership are steep, they maintain some of the lowest annual playing dues among private courses and they do not charge any monthly minimums on food and beverage like many other private facilities do.
After a round, it is always a treat to head up to the dining room or the beautiful patio overlooking the first tee box to enjoy a beverage and a bite to eat, if your accompanying member is willing to treat you that is. Food and beverage must be charged to an account number, so not just anyone with a credit card can slip in for a drink.
The menu from top to bottom is fantastic. Chef Vincent Parkinson is one of the best in the city and always keeps his menu evolving with great specials and new menu items.
Although the Calgary Golf and Country is located in the middle of a major city, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. You’ll immediately forget about the hustle and bustle of city life and become immersed in the beautiful surroundings. It’s one of the most beautiful and peaceful pieces of property within city limits.
If you’re fortunate enough to be invited for a round at the Calgary Golf and Country Club, I highly recommend you go. For a guest fee of $130 you get a fine golfing experience that will be unlike any other in the area.