Date: 2006-Aug-27 Review by Alberta Bound
Greens were fast at 9.5 on the stimp meter. They were large and in very good shape. The fringes were very even and in excellent shape. A number had 2 or 3 levels but not any severe slopes.
Fairways were in excellent shape. They were wide enough that you could pull your driver out for most holes. Yardage markers were very easy to see, flexible centre fairway posts at 200, 150 and 100 yards. Sprinkler heads were also marked. The first cut was as good as the fairways with just longer grass. This gave you a generous area before you hit the natural rough where you might find deep fescue or scrub bush.
Tees were very good and most fairways had 5 tee boxes so players could select the tee box that best suites their handicap. They were soft and easy to push your tee into. They were also large enough to vary the tee each day and thus avoid some divots. Each tee had an official yardage marker and the hole map was well displayed.
Each hole is different with at least four holes that could be called signature holes at other clubs. There were three holes where you had to cross steep gullies or ravines, designated environmentally sensitive areas making club selection and ball placement important. Number 18 was one of these, providing either an exhilarating or exasperating finish. Number 15 has it all: bunkers; dogleg; large lake on the left; tree on the fairway edge, inside the 1st cut rough and an elevation drop to the green. Sixteen is all carry across a deep ravine from an elevated tee box. The last hole once again presents the golfer with yardage decisions before you reach the green with its remarkable views of the lake, river and town. What a finish.
The value is very good especially if you pick the mid-afternoon time. You will experience everything you want from a golf course.
This course is just right. The slope is between 120 and 130 with wide fairways. You do have to strike the ball well when you reach holes with gullies or elevation changes. They have added an alternate red tee on the 18th for the timid.
The course had emerald green fairways and short rough, the lakes were crystal clear, the sky was blue and the mountains rise majestically in the distance. Underbrush was trimmed but where you got off a ways the rough was in its natural state. There was construction that scarred the view around the new clubhouse and a few of the fairways, but this is only temporary.
When you add in the staff you will find that they have set the bar at a new level. The valet service, the proshop staff, the starter, and the beverage cart operator were wonderful.
Eagle Ranch has a beautiful new clubhouse that will open in October. This new building will have one of the best views in the mountains. At the present time they are operating out of a trailer that limits what they can do. To judge this on the existing clubhouse and parking lot would lower the score on this excellent course. By the time you play it the new clubhouse will be open.
Your experience starts the moment you turn off the keys and open the car door. The valet service takes your clubs and puts them on an electric cart which already has your name printed on the windscreen along with your tee time. We arrived early and the staff were happy to move our tee time ahead by 40 minutes. The power cart had tees, score card, GPS, ball and club washer, two bottles of water, granola bars and two hand towels. The starting area had a chart based on your handicap as to the which tee box you should use. I left my wedge on the first green and I received a message on the GPS they had my club and they were bring it to me. The washrooms were numerous, modern and well located. The rangers would also offer you more water and a wet towel around the neck. Cart paths were paved the entire length and you could take your cart on at 90 degrees. We also saw a family of wild turkeys on the course. At the end of the round the staff cleaned your clubs and placed them in your car.
This course is a must play when you are in the area. It is also worth driving to. We drove over from Canmore which is about 2 hours away. I would drive it again if the opportunity arose once again. The course, staff, and the amenities are top notch and they know the importance of customer relationships. Don't miss Eagle Ranch.