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September 2015

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Green Golf Designs

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Elmwood Golf and Country Club
"Getting a well-deserved Facelift"

By George Bowditch, Sask. Golfer

One of the grand old golf courses in Saskatchewan, the Elmwood Gold and Country Club has been showing her age. With little in the way of upgrades for many years the course needed updating to keep it among the finest courses in Western Canada.

Sheldon Reinhart, General Manager of Elmwood Golf and Country Club, explains that after having a consultant from the USGA evaluate the course and make recommendations they realized there was a lot of work that was needed.

"After we received the report back for the USGA consultant we found out there was a lot of work that was actually needed below the greens in order to keep the golf in top condition. Stuff you can't see but very important to keeping the greens etc. in tip top condition."

To do a major renovation the golf club decided they needed the help of an experienced golf course architect and they proceeded to hire the services of renown golf course guru, Les Furber.

Furber came up with a design plan for revamping Elmwood Golf Course and it was now up to the club to decide if they were going to go ahead with the project. They were actually in a tough situation as major renovations are very expensive and the bills have to be paid.

On the other hand if they did nothing and left the golf course as it was they would never be able to host any more prestigious provincial and national events and risking further decline in the condition of the course and the possible loss of membership. Not a good situation.

The Elmwood Golf and Country Club approached the City of Swift Current to see if the was any way the City could help out the golf club with the renovations that they so desperately needed to do to the course.

A high-end residential housing development was something the City needed and by coming up with a plan to develop in partnership with Elmwood both sides are in a win-win situation. Elmwood Golf Club receives $20,000 dollars for every lot sold in the development and this money will go towards the renovations at the golf course. The City of Swift Current basically financed the project and the money received from the sale of the lots would go towards paying back what the City fronted for the club. The City also get a very attractive area for housing development.

According to the General Manager the renovation project was to take around six years to complete. " we were told the complete renovation project of Elmwood was to take around six years to complete but it has been shortened to about 4 1/2 years because a couple of other projects that Les Furber was working on have been postponed so they were able to devote more resources to the Elmwood project. we are in year two and as you can see things are really taking shape."

One of the biggest challenges that Elmwood Golf and Country Club faced was keeping the golf course open and playing 18 holes. This is something that they have been able to do and it is a remarkable feat as some of the temporary holes have been very good and the membership is happy with how things have turned out.

Next time when you are in Swift Current you must put Elmwood Golf and Country on your playing list and check out for yourself how the renovations to this stately old course are coming along and also see the vision of the course when it comes to completion. You will be very pleased I think.

Dakota Dunes
Dakota Dunes
Dakota Dunes
Dakota Dunes

Dakota Dunes Golf Links
"Experience it in Autumn Splendor"

By George Bowditch, Sask. Golfer

The days may be getting a bit shorter and the air is crisp but Dakota Dunes Golf Links is a spectacular place to play golf in autumn. The links style course offers wonderful views of the countryside in fall and offers a very special leaf-free golf where you do not have to search for your golf ball in huge mounds of leaves.

Saskatchewan has many varied ecosystems that add to the beautiful landscape and you can count on many different types of golf courses based on what the province's landscape has to offer. The layout at Dakota Dunes Golf Links is no different.

The links style course is located on the Whitecap Dakota First Nation land a short drive south of Saskatoon. Dakota Dunes Golf Links is situated on natural sand dune formations and the indigenous prairie grasses.

Five tee decks with yardages ranging from 5100 to 7300 yards allows golfers of all abilities to be thoroughly challenged and entertained. Rolling fairways with large greens that are in immaculate condition await and ready to receive shots. Dakota Dunes has been designed to be playable for golfers of all levels.

It is located throughout sand dune formations and indigenous prairie grasses. During the spring and summer at the course you may see cactus flowers, crocuses blooming, smell wild roses and on and on. The fall season is no different with the fall colours of gold and red painting the countryside. The course is an experience from more than just a great game of golf as it features nature at its best.

While the surrounding scenery is great, don't underestimate the golf course as if you do it can bite you big time. The large greens are meticulously manicured but full of subtle breaks and the fairways are rolling tests of skill that will challenge you from hole to hole.

General Manager McLaren Taylor describes the par 3-15th hole as the signature hole on the course and this writer agrees with him that this hole is extra special. You will not be disappointed.

"The signature hole at Dakota Dunes Golf Links is the par-3 15th hole. With layered tee decks set high among the dunes that range from 115 to 176 yards, this hole plays downhill with the green set in a natural coulee. It is one of the most spectacular views on the course, both down to the green, and across the links that stretch beyond."

In addition to the golf, the Dakota Dunes Casino is located next door. The casino is an architectural masterpiece where you can try your hand at a variety of casino games. The Casino also brings in world-class entertainment for your enjoyment as well.

Dakota Dunes Golf Links is also the venue of the PGA Tour Canada's Dakota Dunes Open each year during the first full week of July. Many top calibre professionals have honed their skills at this tournament and gone on to bigger things. Player such as Graham DeLaet, Josh Geary, Andres Gonzales, Matt Hill, Adam Hadwin, Brad Fritch, and James Hahn walked the fairways at Dakota Dunes.

You are advised to book ahead when planning to be in the area and want to play this masterpiece of a golf course. You can call toll free at 1-877-414-4653 and the friendly golf staff led by General Manager McLaren Taylor and Head Professional Mike Jacobs will do their best to make sure your golfing experience at Dakota Dunes is one you will remember fondly.

Plan to come back often as the winds drop in fall and the autumn colours adorn the landscape surrounding the emerald green fairways. Come and experience the Autumn Splendor of Dakota Dunes. We are waiting for you!

Dakota Dunes
Dakota Dunes
Dakota Dunes
Dakota Dunes

Golf and Gambling in Las Vegas

By Andrew Penner

Golf and gambling go together like cake and ice cream. Beer and nachos. Steak and potatoes. Or, in Vegas, Kobe beef and a bottle of Bordeaux. Indeed, swinging with some swagger - and going for broke whenever possible - on Sin City courses is just par for the course.

For golfers and gamblers looking to throw down a few bets - on either the tables or the turf - hunkering down at the MGM Grand always does the trick. The massive hotel, owned and operated by MGM Resorts International, has it all. And then some.

(MGM Resorts International owns and operates 12 hotels in Las Vegas. They include: MGM Grand, Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, Mandala Bay, Delano, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur, and Circus Circus. For information on all their resorts you can visit www.mgmresorts.com)

With 5,033 guest rooms, including 751 suites, the MGM Grand is mind-boggling in size. The hotel, which consists of four 30-story towers, occupies one of the most prized plots of land - the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard - in the city. It also boasts the largest casino in Las Vegas with over 170,000 square feet of gaming space. To give you an idea, there are more than 2,500 slot machines and over 150 table games in the casino.

The hotel also boasts a 380,000 square foot state-of-the-art conference center, 22 restaurants, a 16,800-seat arena (they have hosted acts such as U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, and many more), as well as the largest bronze statue in the United States. The 100,000-pound bronze lion that guards the front entrance to the casino sits on a 25-foot pedestal and reaches 45-feet high.

With all those over-the-top numbers, you'd think the number of golf courses owned by MGM would also be an eye-popper. Shockingly, it's not. They own just one. Of course, for anyone who has ever heard of Shadow Creek - or, better yet, made divots on the hallowed grounds - this is "one" course with the beauty and charm of a 100.

But before we wax too poetically of Shadow Creek's many virtues, there are other courses in the area that guests of the MGM Grand should consider playing. For example, MGM's corporate partnership with Walters Golf is certainly worth noting. Guests of MGM-owned hotels are entitled to various packages and promotions, which can equate to more bets at the tables! The two courses owned by Walters Golf - Bali Hai and Royal Links - are also two of the top "upscale" tracks in the city.

Located right on the strip and just a few minutes by cab from MGM Grand, Bali Hai captures the Vegas golf scene with all the glitz and glamour you might expect. But, then again, this is Las Vegas, so one always has to expect the unexpected!

While the soaring hotels on the strip provide the backdrop on many holes, it's the gorgeous white-sand bunkers, the plants and palm trees that pepper the property, and the pristine water features that really give it character. Its distinct South Pacific look is unmistakable and, certainly, a trademark of the Brian Curley-designed course.

True to the Vegas mantra, there are a number of holes that should satisfy the risk/reward "gamblers" who come to play. The 16th, for example, an island green hole of striking "Balinese" beauty, is always a blast. When the pin is tucked back right you're certainly rolling the dice by going for it. The 9th, another great par-3, also invokes the "are you feeling lucky?" question. Going pin hunting can be a precarious proposition. Of course, this town was founded on the "going for it" principle so, let's be honest, you should try to attain "hero" status on every shot!

Flirting with flags - and nasty pot bunkers, knee-high fescue, and historic rock walls - is also part of the equation at Royal Links. A replica course inspired by many of the best golf holes on the British Open Championship rota (think St. Andrews, Troon, Carnoustie, Royal Liverpool, etc.), Royal Links serves up an old-world golf experience unlike anything else in Las Vegas.

The ultimate gamble here is on the 10th, which is a very cool take on, arguably, the most famous hole in all of golf, the 17th, or "Road Hole," at St. Andrews. How much of the corner do you want to cut off? What are you willing to risk? The choice is yours!

Another choice - mind you, it's a $500 one! - you need to make is whether or not to play Shadow Creek. Only guests of MGM Resort hotels are able to gain access and the rule is strictly adhered to. However, I'll cut right to the chase: if you're an MGM guest and you appreciate top-notch golf...play it! It will not disappoint. In fact, it will exceed all your expectations. It's that good.

A legend in its own time, Shadow Creek is one of those ultra-rare courses that words and accolades just can't quite do justice to. It really - from the limo ride there and back - has to be experienced to be appreciated and understood.

A Tom Fazio design that was built with an unlimited budget, Shadow Creek is spectacular from start to finish. It's one postcard-perfect hole after another. And, certainly, golfers who like to "go for broke" are going to fall in love with the place, especially the par-5 closer. A water-framed hole of incredible beauty, this par-5 captures all the strategy, drama, and risk/reward options that you might expect. But, then, again, this is Vegas we are talking about.

For more information visit www.shadowcreek.com, www.waltersgolf.com, and www.mgmgrand.com.

Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta. You can visit him at www.andrewpenner.com.

Club Carts
Club Carts
Club Carts
Club Carts

Melfort Golf and Country Club
- A thinking man's course

By George Bowditch, Sask. Golfer

Located on the south side of the town of Melfort, the Melfort Golf and Country Club will challenge to play to the top of your game. The course appears to be flat and relatively wide open with little trouble so it should be a piece of "cake" to play. However a little thought is paramount if you want to score low.

Once you get the opportunity to play the Melfort Golf and Country Club, a public championship golf course with a fully stocked pro shop, excellent restaurant and spacious lounge you will find that your first impressions were wrong and the only thing wide open will be your eyes. This 18-hole gem is a very good test of any golfer's skill.

The par-72, 6580 yard layout has three tee boxes on each hole to ensure every golfer can enjoy playing to their ability without feeling over-matched.

A large water hazard that runs through the centre of the golf course presents a challenge to golfers on numerous holes. The biggest challenge, though, are the small relatively hard to hit and hard to hold greens. While the greens roll true, you must figure out their many breaks as the greens are not flat. Trees will catch your errant shots as will the well placed sand traps that are present around the course. Again, good placement of shots is important so choose the right club.

The course record is 62 so as you can see the course will give you a fair test of your game.

Led by General Manager Kevin Ryhorchuk, you will find the staff at the Melfort Golf and Country Club very willing to help make your visit to the golf course a memorable one. The can handle all your group functions and tournament needs.

The Golf and Country Club General Manager explains that the proper club selection is needed to get your ball in scoring position.

"The 17th Hole would be the signature Hole; it's a Par 3 that measure 216 from the back tees and usually plays into a prevailing head wind. You have to carry it over water to a big green and you don't want to be above the hole so choosing the right club is a must." explained Ryhorchuk.

Their fully stocked pro shop will take care of any your golfing needs whether you need a cart for your round, a new set of club or balls and tees. Their prices are excellent and they will match up with any golf shop around. Also, if they don't have what you need, they will do their best to get it for you! You can't ask for anything more than that.

The Melfort Golf and Country Club has a very spacious driving range on which you can warm up on and hone your skills. The range is well marked with yardage markers and target for you to aim at. If you feel you need a lesson, the staff at the pro shop will be happy to arrange one for you.

The restaurant and lounge are waiting to satisfy your cravings whether it is for a breakfast before your round or lunch or a delicious supper meal. You don't have to be a golfer to come out to the Melfort Golf and Country Club and enjoy their great meals. You are welcome.

Once you have had the opportunity to experience what the Melfort Golf and Country Club has to offer, you will no doubt realize that yes indeed first appearances can be deceiving! Play it once and you will want to come back time and time again....with you thinking cap firmly attached.

Greebryre Golf Resort