One of the feature holes at Stony Plain Golf Course is the fourteenth. The par 3 is parallel to the railway tracks and requires golfers to hit over water. As an added challenge, imagine trying to nail a shot while a train come roaring by.
According to Robb James, head golf professional at the Stony Plain Golf Course, the challenge is quite the site. This is his third season working at the golf course and that hole immediately came to mind when recalling interesting parts of the golf course.
“Most of the golfers certainly remember that [fourteenth hole],” He says. “Not because they had a great score on it – because they might have dumped a couple of golf balls in the water. It’s a picturesque hole.”
He’s not kidding. Stony Plain Golf Course is one of the most immaculate – not to mention busiest – eighteen-hole courses in the Tri-Region area. And between hosting company events and a multitude of golf leagues, every day at the Stony Plain Golf Course is a different one for James and the rest of the staff.
2018 marks the 35th anniversary of the Stony Plain Golf Course being at their present location. The golf course is marking the anniversary with a few celebratory gestures, notably a new logo that pays homage to their history with the inclusion of the number ‘83’ and a train included. Plus, a nifty green fee promotion in early August that runs for – you guessed it – thirty-five dollars. It’s a big celebration for the golf course but also the community.
“The members and patrons take a lot of pride. It’s the town golf course.” James says. “It’s a great sense of pride. It’s nice to know we’ve got members that have been with us since day 1, from 1983 onwards and hopefully continue to stay with us as long as they possibly can.”
From 5 to 95
Stony Plain Golf serves as a great test for any level golfer, thanks to trees that are limbed upward, making it hard to lose a golf ball and grounds configured so crooked shots can find their way back in the right direction.
One of the best things about the golf course is the strong junior program taking place on the mini four-hole golf course. It’s a solid introduction for kids under the age of ten looking for a safe way to practice their form before they’re allowed to access the full golf course.
“We want them active in golf and this gives them a great opportunity to get started on a safe golf course and a shorter little four-hole loop with bigger holes is a great opportunity for that.” James says. “So with that, we get lots of golfers that might start very early in life and ultimately stay with us until they’re in their 90s which is the duty of the game – we’ve got ages 5 to 95 playing out here!”
Play It Safe
But don’t go easy on the greens – the golf course plays host to sanctioned events every year and whether they’re professional events hosted in collaboration with the PGA of Alberta or the Alberta Golf Association, there’s plenty for competitive golfers to sink their teeth into. Following that picturesque fourteenth hole comes a long par 5 that parallels the railroad tracks – meaning if you have an errant shot that goes over to the left, you’re down a ball. The perimeter fence along the left hand side runs the length of the hole.
So James’ advice for golfers new to the course? Remember to keep it in the fairways.
“The rough isn’t overly long but with the amount of rain we’ve had, it’s healthy grass, so it’s thick.” He says. “If you get your golf ball into the rough, you might have a tough time navigating your way out. So try to play it safe and find as many fairways as possible to keep you enjoying the game.”