Date: 2006-Aug-29 Review by Alberta Bound
Greens were very good and fast. I estimated the speed to be around 9.5. They were large and most had two levels. The fringe around the greens was good and consistent. The greens had a number of surrounding bunkers that were in good shape. The bunkers were trimmed and the sand was soft.
The fairways were in very good condition. The Cattail nine fairways were not as a good as the Spirit fairways but this is to be expected as the Cattail nine is only in its' first year. They had generous landing spots so all levels of golfers could enjoy the course. The Spirit fairways being maturer had more grass in the first cut. Fairways were marked at the traditional distances. Fairway bunkers were in good shape but could have used a few more rakes.
There were four tees, one for each level of golfer. The tees were cut short and the ground was soft. The red tees tended to be smaller then the other three. Tees had ball washers and good yardage signs at the back tee. I did notice a lack of sand/seed at the par three holes, which prevented me from filling divots.
We liked the design of the two nines we played. The third nine was closed as they were top dressing the greens and tees. The Cattails nine was carved out of a parkland setting as the name implies. It is a links type of course with water coming into play on a number of holes. Number six is a great hole with wonderful views of the foothills and the mountains in the distance. The Spirit Nine was built in the modern format with mounds, and bunkers on six of the holes. The other three holes are in the river valley and these holes have large mature trees sounding the fairways and greens. The river flooded last year and took out some bridges and part of a fairway. The past flooding will not bother you as you play this nine. Number three has elevated tees where your drive drops about 100 feet with small ponds on both sides of the fairway. We did drive around the Millburn nine and found it to be similar to the Spirit nine five holes in the river valley. No matter what 18 you play you will experience the river valley.
The value is good. You get a quality course for the going rate. I would certainly return and play this course again. The green fees include the use of the decent practice fairway and putting greens.
From the blue and black tees this course represents a challenge. From the back tees you have some long carries over water especially on the Cattails nine. With slopes of 125 to 130 you will enjoy the difficulty.
There are wonderful views of the foothills and Rocky Mountains when you are not in the river valley. When you are in the valley you will find the trees and the rushing water very interesting.
We found all the staff, head professional, marshal, starter, and the restaurant staff to be very polite and friendly. They all showed an interest in us and showed a fondness for their course.
The dining area was very nice with a very good menu. The clubhouse is temporary as this building will be the teaching academy in the near future when the new clubhouse is built. This accounts for having to go upstairs to find the pro-shop and check in counter. The parking lot was not paved but was large enough to handle all the cars. The washrooms were neat and clean.
The scorecard has all three nines on it with a good map of the layout of the 27 holes. The cart path was continuous around all 27 holes but was gravel with some large boulders. The cart path cause the power carts to be quit dusty. Directions to the various holes were good and they had drinking water on the course. The washrooms on the course were well placed and plentiful all though they happen to be porta-potties.
We played the Spirit nine with a member that was a very good golfer. He liked his course and the staff. He thought it was one of the best keep secrets in Calgary. We liked our River Spirit day and we would certainly come back at another time, this course rates as a recommended course to play. I can hardly wait for them to finish the rest of the amenities as they have some very good plans for the future. Given what they have accomplished in the three years it is very good course.