Golf is an extremely popular sport in Alberta and around 75 courses lie within a one-hour drive of Calgary, giving golfers a wide range of places to play.
Exceptions to that selection process, of course, are the few private clubs in and around Stampede City and the toughest place by far to get a game lies very close to downtown at the Calgary Golf and Country Club.
It’s said that gaining membership here is one of the toughest things to achieve in Canadian golf. Indeed, money might buy fancy offices in the business district of Calgary but, for rich oil executives and the like who hanker after a hit on the nearby golf course, it takes not only a lot of cash; it takes a great deal of patience – between 5 and 20 years – to progress from the waiting list to the locker room.
What’s the great attraction for those prepared to go to such lengths to join a golf club?
Well, apart from the social cache that comes with being a member of such an exclusive golfing institution, there’s the reflected glory of association with a club of antiquity because Calgary Golf & Country Club was formed way back in 1897, moving to its present location in 1908 when it enlisted Tom Bendelow to lay out the original course.
There’s also the fact that members get to walk fairways laid out by one of the early golfing greats, Willie Park Jnr – architect of other Canadian courses at Weston and Mount Bruno – who the club entrusted in 1922 with redesigning a layout that has endured for the best part of a century since.