This golf course ain’t for golfin’

When I moved to Canmore in 2007, I remember hiking past the new, gazillion-dollar Three Sisters golf course as they were putting the finishing touches to it.

This green almost looks playable

The sprinklers were running, workers were busy dumping sand in the bunkers, pavers were completing the paths, and the greens were pristine. 

Tonight, as I biked along the cart paths, 10 years later, this golf course has never hosted a paying customer.

A fallen tree blocks the cart path

The elk were grazing on the fairways and geese were swimming in the pond in which nobody has ever plunked a ball. The hazards consist of occasional deadfall blocking the cart paths. I’m surprised at how clear the paths actually are after 10 years of no maintenance. 

Three Sisters golf course. Photo from 2013.

It’s mostly used by hikers, bikers, dog-walkers, and of course the elk. I saw only two elk tonight, but have often encountered large herds. I wonder how nutritious the golf course grass is compared to the native grasses which it displaced. 

Geese in the pond. Photo from 2016.

The greens are still surrounded by fences and are easy to spot with their distinctive grasses. The grass is a bit tall for golfing, but you might be able to five-putt. The bunkers are slowly disappearing and becoming small depressions among the landscape.

The wooden fence along the perimeter has been breached in numerous places, so hikers and bikers can join trails which run up to the fence. 

A large field of paintbrush at Three Sisters golf course

Three Sisters Development Company had been sold at the height of the boom, but went bankrupt soon after the downturn in 2008. The new owners(who now are actually the old owners), decided not to rejuvenate the golf course, and in fact are hoping to develop some of the land into residences. 

Three sisters creek

Three sisters creek, before and after the flood

Three Sisters creek intersects the golf course but the bridge which spanned the creek was dislodged from its moorings during the devastating floods of 2013. The creek was excavated to mitigate future flooding and is a poor facsimile of its former self. It’s nothing but gravel where it used to be a pretty little stream with lots of foliage along the banks, dotted by wild flowers. 

The birds were singing and I discovered a large field of paintbrush. 

The title of this post reminds me of a funny story from a long time ago. I was at a party where everyone was drinking, and a KFC franchise owner was asked by a friend of mine if he ate his own chicken. Joe replied, “this chicken ain’t for eatin’, it’s for sellin’.

Some of the photos I’ve included were from previous trips which I’ve made. I’ve noted it on the photos.

The trail to Pigeon mountain opened today if you’re looking for wild flowers this weekend. 

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  1. Thanks for sharing your perspective Bob. Though not a valley vlocal, like many of your followers, we visit often in winter xc skiing & took note of the absurdity of the various development saga. Such a shame and a sham the riparian restoration was allowed to be approved as such -any ecologist/hydrologist worth their salt would’ve never signed off on that abomination on the landscape, never mind the golf course debacle …I’ll stop with that. Can’t wait for snow to blanket the landscape once again! Until then, happy hiking (or if your Alf, happy still skiing).

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