BOW VALLEY – The opening days at local golf courses are tentatively set, and there’s an anticipation that booking a tee time will be highly-sought throughout the season.
But eager golfers won’t have to wait long to break out their clubs and head to the links, as all local courses are expected to open in April and from early-to-mid May.
Here are the tentative opening dates for golf courses in Banff, Canmore, Kananaskis Country, and MD of Bighorn:
Opening weekend for Tunnel Mountain 9 at Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, plus its putting greens and driving range. Tunnel 9 opens officially for the season starting May 7.
Canmore Golf and Curling Club (driving range is currently open)
Who's ready for the 2021 GOLF SEASON ⛳️— Kananaskis Golf (@KananaskisGolf) April 15, 2021
May 13th we will be opening and we are counting down the days
Here are the updated Golf Rates:l for 2021: pic.twitter.com/iWPqB1tYzd
Stanley Thompson 18 at Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course
Golfers are encouraged to book tee times online, or by calling ahead of time.“We look forward to what looks like another busy year in the Bow Valley for golf,” said Chris Cooke, head professional at Silvertip in Canmore.
Cooke added Silvertip's tee-sheets are filling up with Albertans planning spring/early summer getaways to the Rockies.
Across the board, golf courses saw record numbers in bookings and golfers setting foot on courses in 2020. Golf is one of the sports that offers an outdoor environment where groups can easily social distance during the pandemic.
There's also a therapeutic side to it, said Kananaskis Country Golf Course general manager, Darren Robinson.
The Brewster's Kananaskis Ranch Golf Course will tentatively be first to open this season on April 29. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, the golf course, located near Seebe on Highway 1X, was also the first to open its gates to the public locally last year at the beginning of the pandemic.
The course’s head pro, Mark Hillcoff, said the course had a record number of golfers booking tee times last season, and there’s been more of the same this year with pre-sales.
Darren Cooke, general manager at Canmore Golf and Curling Club, added “It’ll be busy" when forecasting 2021. After an uptick in evening bookings and junior programs last season, pro golfer Matt Bean previously said to the Outlook it was "next to impossible" to book a tee time at the popular course.
At Stewart Creek Golf Course in Canmore, general manager and executive professional, Greg Andrew said they anticipate this year's numbers being as close as last season.
Besides opening day, a major component many are keeping a keen eye on are Alberta's health protocols for 2021, which are under review.
"All protocols will be taking place again and we'll keep listening to the new as it goes, day-by-day," said Andrew.
Steven Young, director of at Fairmont Banff Springs, said: "With COVID19 there are a lot of uncertainties that depending how they play out in the summer could have negative or positive effects. As things sit today and based on early booking pace, we are expecting this year to be busy like last year."