Date: 2007-Sep-17 Review by Alberta Bound
The greens were very good to excellent with well trimmed bunkers. The fringe was even and gave way to an even cut rough. The greens gave you a good opening so you could use the bump and run on your approach. The greens had slight undulations that presented us with some interesting putts.
Excellent fairways with sprinkler heads marked and large disks at 200 and 100 yards. There are stakes at the 150 distance. Fairway bunkers were well maintained and ranged from few to many on the 18 holes. The cart paths were also marked with yardage thus making it easier to select clubs when course might be too wet to drive on. Fairways can be generous or tight depending on which part of the course you are playing. The opening fairways are out on the flat plateau which give generous landing areas but as you progress down to the river the fairways get tighter with pines, firs and spruce trees lining them. The rough at first on the links part of the course is tall grass while the lower sections have cleared rough amongst the mature trees.
There are 5 sets of tees at Bootleg Gap. This permits golfers to choose the length that suits their skill level or handicap. The tees are level and in good shape and have a minimum of equipment such as ball washers. The signs appear to be temporary and only gave the yardages.
Bootleg Gap is another Les Furber course. The opening holes take you out on to a large plateau above the St. Mary's river. Your first impression is that of an inland links course but about 1/3 of the way you enter back into mature forests and you find a lake as you finish the front nine. The back nine takes you down to the floor of the river valley where the fairways are tighter and lined with pine and spruce trees.
The first hole is a good starting, pretty hole that sets you up nicely for the day. The fourth hole is a really good par 3 with a long carry over the rough. On five we paused to take in the views of the surrounding mountains, the valley and the river that runs about 100 feet below us. Number 6 offer a challenge on this short par four. You are faced with a dog leg right with your second shot to an island type green. Make sure your tee shot is far enough to give you a good view of the green. Their signature hole is number 12. A par 3 with about 75 foot drop to the green. Once at the bottom you start along the river for 3 holes. The 18th hole is a par five and a good finishing hole. This uphill, dog leg right with the lake protecting the green puts a premium on target golf. You have a choice of laying up, going for it, or placing your second shot just to the left of the green where there is a safe landing area. This course gives you a lot of variety in terrain, elevation changes, choice of clubs and tee box selections.
Bootleg offers very good value. It has the lowest green fees of the 9 courses we reviewed from Golden to Kimberly. You get a challenging course, with great views, in good condition at a reasonable price for similar type of layouts.
You can the course as hard or easy as you wish. The slopes range from 130 to 116 from the white tees. We played from the blues which have a length of 6430 and a slope of 120. There were no par fours that were too long. The longest was number eight at 403. The same can be said about the par threes as there were none over 167. The rough was good and you could find your ball on most occasions. Water comes into play on 6,9 and 18.
The views of the river and mountains are excellent. The elevation changes, the views from the banks of the river and the distant mountains present a striking picture. There are some interesting hoodoos along the river.
The staff were friendly and helpful.
The club house is fairly new. It has two areas, one for the well stocked pro shop and one for the eating area. The eating area is large enough for hosting tournaments. The menu featured the typical club house food. They have a large patio that offers great views of the 18th and surrounding mountains. As you come up 18 you get a wonderful view of the clubhouse.
There is a nine hole executive course that is supposed to be very good. We only got a glimpse of it as we did not have enough time to play it. They have a starter, continuous paved cart paths, electric carts, good washrooms on the course with flowers around the washrooms. There is a decent practice facility as well.
Bootleg Gap is a recommended course to play. We had a very good day there and found the course to be really good. The value and scenery are excellent. I liked the change of terrain and some of the elevation changes. Make sure you include this in your next visit to Kimberly.