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Monday, August 11, 2014

Stewart Creek Mines the Canadian Golf Mountain

In the land of the side-hill lie, Stewart Creek is king.  It’s a mountain course in Canmore where the history of the town as a mining center is highlighted on several holes (including the first) by a mine shaft entrance spotted just off the fairway.  Spend a few minutes reading the placards on the site if you can tear your eyes away from the views of the surrounding Three Sisters, Cascade, Pigeon and Ha Ling Mountains.

Stewart Creek’s 7,195 yards (from the tips) present a succession of challenging, occasionally quirky holes. Five sets of tees make it accessible for players of all levels, although the 6,360-yard whites are tough enough for most of us, especially those playing the course for the first time. You need to choose your lines carefully on holes like the 527-yard sixth, which has a split fairway forcing a difficult choice for your second shot.  The same holds true for the 516-yard eighteen hole where a drive farther left than you think is essential to avoid the woods on the right, but a good tee shot will send your drive down the hill to birdie territory.

The course has several unusual short par fours that demand careful study before teeing off. Choose your club carefully on the tee at the 274-yard fourteenth hole, for example. The ravine that suggests a layup is closer than you may think and so is the green, which can be reached by a moderately strong drive.

Stewart Creek also has a fine range, short game facility, and practice green. It pays to spend time on the latter since the greens are delightfully slick and true.  It's a great addition to any Canadian Rockies golf adventure.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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