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Alberta golf courses feel Mother Nature’s cruelty

August 19, 2013  By  Mike Jiggens

Mother Nature can be cruel sometimes. And occasionally she can be downright vicious. She was in the latter form this past spring in Alberta when torrential rains caused rivers to spill their banks in excess, significantly flooding commercial and residential properties as well as a number of golf courses.

We have an account in this issue of what happened at the Glencoe Golf & Country Club near Calgary, where the flooded Elbow River spoiled the party that was to be—namely the much anticipated reopening of its Forest course following an extensive renovation project which took up about a year and a half.

The redone 18 holes were slated to open for play a mere 10 days before flooded river waters wreaked havoc on the property, turning the renovation project into one of restoration. There is some hope that maybe nine of those holes might open before the season ends, but chances are Glencoe is looking at a 2014 opening date for its Forest course.

Although about 10 courses in the Calgary area suffered damages to one extent or another, none was affected so hard as the Kananaskis Country courses (Mount Lorette and Mount Kidd) which had to be shut down for the remainder of the season. A number of photographs were sent to me following the flood which almost made me want to cry. It was surreal to see the extent of the damage to one of Canada’s most prestigious golf destinations and a property continually ranked among Canada’s top 100.


I had hoped to speak with its superintendent, but he was likely far too involved with cleanup efforts at the time. Hopefully by next spring, we’ll have a good story to tell about Kananaskis and its return to its former glory.

For now, here is a photograph which pictures some of the damage.


On a sad note, we learned just before going to press with this issue that one of the grounds crew members at London, Ont.’s RiverBend Golf Community died suddenly at the age of 29 as the result of a heart attack. Lucas McConnell was said to be a character with a contagious personality who loved sports and nature. He and his wife Kelly had just welcomed their first child Griffin a mere 11 days before his untimely death.

A trust account for the family has been set up under Sifton Properties Ltd. in trust for Lucas. Donations can be made at any Bank of Montreal location, using transit No. 2915 and account No. 1043-904.

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