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Central Alberta's Ultimate 18 - The Back Nine

We conclude our tour of our favourite golf holes that you can find right here in Central Alberta with nine more beautiful, fun and challenging holes.

In a previous post we reveled the first nine holes of what we are calling Central Alberta’s Ultimate 18. These eighteen holes are a collection of our favourite holes you can find right here in central Alberta.

Our team consisting of a variety of golfers of all skill levels quickly discovered that there are a ton of beautiful, challenging and fun golf holes throughout Central Alberta and we are lucky enough to call this area home. Here are a couple of the ground rules for the Ultimate 18: Each

18 hole course is eligible for only 2 holes. Criteria included; beauty, challenge, distinctiveness, and playability. So without any further ado, let's have a look at the last nine holes!

Hole #10

Lacombe Golf & Country Club, Hole #14, 444 yards, Par-4

Located just east off HWYII, you will find the Lacombe Golf & Country Club. Lacombe is a beautiful traditional layout with many mature trees lining the fairways. The rolling central Alberta terrain along with a number of well placed bunkers challenges golfers of all abilities. Our next hole on the Central Alberta Ultimate 18 is the longest par-4 out at Lacombe, the 444 yard 14th.

The history of the course can be traced back to the early 1900’s so it easy to imagine that a number of different people have had their hand on the design of this lovely course. When you arrive on the tee at fourteen, something might feel a little different. That is because it is a little known fact that Canadian Golf Course Architect Rod Whitman came in to design this hole.

Right away you will notice the dramatic bunkering lining the left side of this rolling fairway. The 14th is often considered the toughest par-4’s on the course and if you are lucky enough to find the fairway with your tee-shot, you will then face a downhill approach shot to the elevated green that falls away to the bunker on the right which awaits any short or wayward shot. The green is very undulating and fast, coming away with a two putt could be challenging if your approach finds the wrong side of the green.

Hole #11

Innisfail Golf Club, Hole #5, 183 yards, Par-3

The Innisfail Golf Club has a number of beautiful, scenic and challenging holes, the par-3 5th on the Aspen nine is its second entry onto our "Central Alberta Ultimate 18" list. Choosing just one of the par-3’s from Innisfail was challenging, but in the end we decided on hole five on the Aspen nine.

The fifth hole is the first par-3 on the Aspen nine and is such a strong golf hole...If you hit a good shot you can be rewarded, hit a bad one and you could be looking at a big score. It is also very scenic with the spectacular view of Hazelwood Lake and plays anywhere from 110 to 183 yards. Club selection is key on this hole and can vary drastically depending on the elements!

Hole #12

The Nursery Golf & Country Club, Hole #11, 782 yards, Par-6

Located just north of Lacombe you will find the always fun and good conditioned Nursery Golf & Country Club. Carved and sculpted from a former 75 year old tree nursery, The Nursery has a number of fun and interesting holes and there is no hole more interesting than the 782-yard par-6, eleventh! Be sure to be all fueled up after the turn because after the lovely par-3 10th you will need all your strength as you face the longest hole in Canada!

From the tips your tee shot needs to go more right than you would think. Something wild to think about is that a tee shot of 282 yards, will still leave you 500 yards from the green!!! The second shot can be tricky as a stream crosses the middle of the hole, once over the creek it is smooth sailing from there as long as you can manage to keep your ball on the fairway. This is a really fun hole and something you just don’t see very often, hopefully you can walk away from this hole with a birdie 5

Hole #13

Alberta Springs Golf Resort, Hole #11, 392 yards, Par-4

Alberta Springs second entry into our Ultimate 18, is the 392-yard dogleg left par-4 eleventh. Off the tee, the eleventh at Alberta Springs will tempt the golfer to take a shot at cutting the corner over the large body of water that guards the left side of the hole. However, keep in a mind that taking the more conservative route and placing your tee-ball to the 150 yard marker is never a bad idea. After your ball finds the fairway don’t sleep on your approach shot. The water on the left is snuggled right up next to the left side of the green, with firm greens and a left pin it is best to aim for the middle of the green. A pin in the middle or right is a green light pin-location and chances are you could have a good shot at birdie.

Hole #14

Wolf Creek (Old Course), Hole #11, 506 yards, Par-5

Wolf Creek Golf Resort located just outside of Ponoka on HWYII and is home to two 18-hole championship Rod Whitman designed courses and a number of great holes. The eleventh, “Buffalo Jump” is aptly named as there is a large hill that divides this short (506 yards from the tips) par-5.

This hill is part of which makes this hole so interesting and fun to play. Right where the fairway drops off is also the narrowest part of the hole so the longest hitters have a decision to make off the tee. The ideal tee shot is placed just at the top of the hill which can leave you with a shot of around 220 yards to the green (all carry), decision time #2. Even with no wind, going for this elevated and well protected green in two is risky. If you go for it, there is lots of room long but it will be a very challenging up and down.

The layup option to the front of the creek is also no walk-in the park, you must commit and hit an accurate shot and then you will be rewarded with a wedge into this par-5. Our team felt like this was a great risk-reward par-5 and that is why it made our Central Alberta Ultimate 18.

Hole #15

Meadowlands Golf Club, Hole #12, 440 yards, Par-4

For the fifteenth hole of Central Alberta’s Ultimate 18 we head 15 minutes west of Red Deer, to the Meadowlands Golf Club.

Meadowlands is a friendly parkland layout that offers 18 holes of open rolling fairways, tricky sand traps, water hazards and small, undulating greens. This 6500 yard, par-72 track will challenge experienced players yet is still very playable for golfers just starting out. The 440 yard 12th is the longest par-4, and one of the more challenging holes on the course.

Rated as the third most difficult hole on the course accuracy off the tee is required. You must fit your tee-shot between the large bunker on the right and the trees on the left. The approach shot is slightly downhill to a well guarded small, undulating green with four bunkers (sets of two bunkers both short right and left).

Hole #16

Pine Hills Golf Club, Hole #16, 175 yards, Par-3

Just outside of Rocky Mountain House you will find one of central Alberta’s hidden gem golf courses, Pine Hills Golf Club. Located on 397 acres of rolling woodlands, Pine Hills Golf Club offers tree-lined fairways, and some dramatic views.

Established as a nine-hole layout in 1964, renowned Canadian golf course architect Sid Puddicombe arrived in 1989 and created what is today's 18 hole course. Hole sixteen is quintessential Pine Hills and is also our sixteenth hole of the central Alberta Ultimate 18.

Surrounded by towering pine trees, the 16th is a lovely and challenging par-3 measuring 175 yards from the back tees. Club selection is key as anything short will roll back down the false front of the green down the hill, leaving a very difficult up and down.

Photo Credit: Pine Hills Golf Club

Hole #17

Wolf Creek (Links Course), Hole #16, 410 yards, Par-4

With two Rod Whitman deigned courses on the property there are obviously a number of great holes out at Wolf Creek Golf Resort (we have highlighted two from the Old Course already). For the seventeenth hole of our Ultimate 18, we head to the newer, Links Course.

The Links course shows the evolution of Old World golf design to challenge today's player. Cut through the vast natural sand dunes and longer on the score card than the Old Course, the Links course will make you think you are in some far away land...not in the heart of central Alberta.

One of our favourite holes on the Links course is the dogleg right 16th. We love how this hole flows down from the tee box to the fairway, and then back up the hill to the small challenging green complex. One of our panelists even argued that this could be the best par-4 in all of central Alberta!

Hole #18

Red Deer Golf & Country Club, Hole #4, 566 yards, Par-5

We wrap up our Central Alberta Ultimate 18 with an exciting risk reward hole. Located right in the heart of Red Deer along the Red Deer River is the beautiful Red Deer Golf and Country Club.

A private, member owned course RDGCC is a traditional tree-lined layout that has hosted a number of National and Provincial events. The 566 yard par-5 fourth, really stands out as a scenic and challenging hole.

The Red Deer River flows all the way from the tee to the green, and will grab any wayward shots to the right. The tee-box sits high on top the river bank and as you make your way closer to the green the hole takes a dramatic drop down to the green offering the golfer a stunning view of the river and the pedestrian bridge that connects parts of the renowned Red Deer trail system.

If you can manage a well struck tee-ball down the middle and over the hill, you then have to decide; go for the green, or to layup. Neither shot is to be taken lightly. If you choose to layup as mentioned before, the Red Deer River guards the right side and a strategically placed bunker and trees protect the left. The key is to trust the club you choose and swing with confidence. Long hitters will want to try to reach this green in two but will have to do so with a long iron, hybrid or even 3 wood and must not miss right of the green as everything slopes toward the river.

The green is long, narrow and undulating which makes club selection on the approach and putting a challenge. We wanted the 18th hole of our Ultimate 18 to be an exciting risk reward hole where matches would be decided and we think the 4th at RDGCC is just that hole.

Central Alberta Ultimate 18 Front Nine

1) Lakewood #3 Par 4, 379 (top left)

2) Wolf Creek (Old) #4 Par 4, 385

3) Spirit Creek #2 Par 3, 171

4) River Bend #9 Par 5, 533 (middle left)

5) Innisfail (Hazelwood) #6 Par 4, 362

6) Whispering Pines #18 Par 3, 240

7) Ponoka #6 Par 4, 408 (bottom left)

8) Balmoral #14 Par 4, 430

9) Alberta Springs #15 Par 5, 539

Out: Par 36, 3447

Central Alberta Ultimate 18 Back Nine

10) Lacombe #14 Par 4, 444

11) Innisfail (Aspen) #5 Par 3, 183

12) The Nursery #11 Par 6, 782

13) Alberta Springs #11 Par 4, 392

14) Wolf Creek (Old) #11 Par 5, 506

15) Meadowlands #12 Par 4, 440

16) Pine Hills #16 Par 3, 175

17) Wolf Creek (Links) #16 Par 4, 410

18) RDGCC #4 Par 5, 566

In: Par 37, 3898

Total: Par 73, 7345 yards

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