Golf is a great sport for social distancing. You play in small groups, you don’t touch anyone else’s stuff, and you are in the great outdoors. The Edmonton area has a great supply of great courses. We asked local golfers what they feel are Edmonton’s most challenging holes — where you can socially distance yourself from a lost golf ball.
Before I start with the crowdsourced answers, let me share a short story about the most nightmarish hole I’ve ever played. I was with three friends, playing what had been, up to hole 7, a gentlemanly game of skins.
It is 546 yards from the gold tees, and there is water on both sides of the fairway, plus water that protects the green. You can play a shorter club off the tee (on a par-five!) to keep things straight and narrow, but none of us did that. I went off to the right, my three playing partners off to the left.
I was basically on my own, hacking away. Finally, by shot eight, I was on the green, where I met the other three. I had a long bending putt and, to ironi-cally end a miserable hole, I sunk it.
“Nice putt,” one of my playing partners said.
“That was for a NINE,” I growled.
“What?” he replied. Turns out, the other three were all on course for even higher scores. I’d won some money. And that’s when things got Goldfinger- James Bond intense, except there was no Oddjob in sight to crush 007’s golf ball. “I think you should recount your strokes,” one of them said.
I didn’t take it well. “Who would make up a NINE?” I cried.
Damn straight I took the money.
Goose Hummock: 23210 Twp. Rd. 364, Gibbons, 780-921-2444
For a par four, it’s long — 447 yards from the gold tees. But, because it’s uphill it plays even longer. A narrow fairway, with trees on either side, does not forgive wayward shots. As well, you will be shooting blind towards the green. Fun!
Cougar Creek: 2519 Hwy. 16, Carvel, 780-892-4545
Keep to the left side of the fairway on this 425-yard, par four hole. The right side of the green is protected by what can be best called a giant pit. Hit your approach shot short, anywhere from middle to right, and you will be heading down to the depths to try a blind uphill chip. Nasty.
The Ranch: 9574 Pinchback Rd., Acheson, 780-470-4700
Is this the most dastardly par-three in the area? At 224 yards from the gold tees, 240 from the black, it’ll require both muscle and precision to get
to the green off the tee. Bunkers to the left are a problem, but sand positioned well in front of the green takes away any option of trying to run the ball up to the target.
Northern Bear: 51055 Rge. Rd. 222, Sherwood Park, 780-922-2327
It is one of the most picturesque holes in the city, a 548-yard par five that parallels the North Saskatchewan River. The green is protected by a pond, and the landing area is tiny. Overshoot the green, and you will have given your ball to Old Man River.
Windermere Golf and Country Club: 19110 Ellerslie Rd. SW, 780-988-5501