Public invited to play in the snow
Turner Valley: Golf course management says the more the merrier
Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018 06:00 am
An increase in dog walkers, skiers and snowshoers on Turner Valley’s golf course this off-season is just what its board of directors is looking for.
The Turner Valley Golf Course is inviting more of the public to access the approximately 200 acres of green space to increase its profile while encouraging people to get active.
Fred Woodlock, vice-president of the Turner Valley Golf Club board of directors, said they are welcoming off-season users now more than ever.
“There’s more activity this year than there’s been in past years,” said Woodlock, who lives within walking distance of the grounds. “People are parking and getting out with skis or four or five dogs in the back of their cars. Every day they are walking, cross-country skiing, sledding and snowshoeing.”
Woodlock said part of the club’s strategic plan is to embrace the community and that’s what he aims to do by encouraging users during the off-season.
“It’s important that we engage the community,” he said. “They are more than welcome to use the facility.”
The Turner Valley Golf Club is one of Turner Valley’s biggest employers, but general manager J.D. Scheller said it’s been having its struggles.
Membership dropped from about 420 to about 330 the past four years, said Scheller. The average age of its members is getting higher, currently at 62.
The golf course brings in more than $3 million of income to the area each year, he said.
With the largest tax base in town, Scheller said it’s important to keep it going.
“The whole purpose of having more people out here is to get membership and get them to golf,” he said.
The purpose of embracing the community is two-fold, he said. In addition to boosting the profile of the golf course, it also keeps people active.
Sheep River Ramblers co-ordinator Gita Grahame said she’s glad to hear about the golf course’s open invitation.
“I really like that they encourage people to come out,” she said. “It’s nice and close to where most of the members live. It’s nice for the beginners because there are no major hills.”
The Sheep River Ramblers is a group of more than 400 people from across the Foothills and Calgary who get together to hike, snowshoe and ski in the Foothills and Kananaskis year round.
The group typically goes in the Highwood and Sandy McNabb areas, but Grahame, also the Sheep River Library’s assistant manager, said the golf course is pretty convenient.
She’d like to see a track set and is hopeful someone will step up.
Rambler Carol Johnson, who lives in Black Diamond, said she’s been snowshoeing, walking and skiing on the golf grounds for six years.
“It’s wonderful just for getting out on a day like this where you don’t have to get in a car and drive far away,” she said Friday while skiing on the golf course. “If it’s an open invitation, that’s great.”
Off-season users of the golf course are encouraged to stay off the greens and tee-box, and those walking dogs must pick up after their animals.
The administration office, pro shop and washrooms are open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except Friday when it closes at 12:30 p.m.
The restaurant and bar are open during golf season.