Cooke Municipal Golf Course
Course Improvements Elevate Status of Cooke Municipal Golf Course
One of Saskatchewan’s most popular championship golf courses, Cooke Municipal Golf Course in Prince Albert, has completed some dramatic course improvements and opens up for the 2019 golf season in fantastic condition.
Thanks to some steady social media activity by the Cooke GC staff, golfers were able to follow the progress of the multiple course improvements from start to finish. Male and female amateur golfers from around the province playing in the inaugural 2 Person Team Championship on May long weekend were some of the first golfers to witness firsthand the course improvements. Judging by the comments from many popular golfers playing in the event, including Saskatchewan golfers David Stewart, Colin Coben, Sherry Anderson, Andrea Ring, Brett Henry, Danny Klughart, Taylor Afseth, Ashley Ziegman and the Cooke GC members, the course improvements are an overwhelming success.
We had our own personal tour guide of the course improvements as Paul Tastad and I entered as a team in the Team Championship. Paired alongside Cooke GC PGA of Canada Professional Ryan Wells and Ashley Ziegman, Ryan walked us through all of the changes in full detail. Too bad we couldn’t have used some of his drives as well. Ryan and Ashley would go on and win the Team Championship, solidifying the fact that they are very much in favor of the overall course improvements.
Options is one of the first words that come to mind when describing the many positive enhancements to the Cooke GC. As a competitive golfer who enjoys a challenging, yet fair, test of golf, I appreciate being presented options off the tee box. As golfers tee up on holes #3 and #5, they will notice a little more room on the right side of both fairways, where fairway bunkers have been replaced by grass. Both holes now offer golfers an option to hit their tee shot out to the right, avoiding the water that extends along the left side of both holes. Previously, any ball leaving the confines of the fairway ended up in the water or drifted away into a fairway bunker.
Another way the course enhancements at Cooke GC have provided more options, this time to benefit the overall course conditions throughout our Saskatchewan summers, is by enlarging some of the tee boxes. Multiple tee boxes added on hole #3 allow for many more options for the maintenance team to set the tee markers. And with a new teeing area added further up at the forward tees, many more birdies will be made that will satisfy all levels of golfer. Among the noticeable tee box enhancements, holes #17 and #18 are much more playable now. Larger, smoother tee boxes now await golfers on both holes, and additional tee boxes have been added at hole #18 which make the hole both more challenging (from the added back tee) and shorter (from the added forward tees).
A couple of other impressive course enhancements include an entirely new green on hole #5 and an upgraded irrigation system. All playable areas of the golf course will now receive the ideal care and attention due to the expansion of the irrigation system. Well known for their consistently lush green conditions, the Cooke GC will once again be one of the best conditioned golf courses in 2019.
When it comes to the playability of the golf course, golfers of all abilities will appreciate the solid mix of risk / reward holes. With two par 4’s playing slightly more than 300 yards from the back tees, holes #6 (313 yards) and #16 (310 yards), golfers are enticed into driving the green, but accuracy is equally paramount as a two-tiered green on #6 and greenside bunkers on #16 will test your skills. Measuring in at just over 6,300 yards from the back tees, golfers playing Cooke GC don’t need to overpower the course. Strategically placed trees, with overhanging limbs, require golfers to focus more on precision off the tees than power. Golfers wanting to unleash the driver need to be selective in doing so. I would rate Cooke GC as having the most challenging opening hole and closing hole combination in all of Saskatchewan. Measuring in at 433 yards and 428 yards, holes #1 and #18 require a long, straight drive in order to reach the green with a mid-iron. Reaching the green in regulation doesn’t guarantee a par as you’ll need to carefully read your putts on the sloped greens.
Hole #13, a par 4 dogleg right is one of my favorite holes that requires a well-placed tee shot. With multiple bunkers lining the left side of the fairway, and a large bunker placed at the elbow of the dogleg on the right side, the hole calls for your most accurate tee ball. Again, with a great mix of risk / reward holes, Cooke GC also offers up a handful of premium, challenging golf holes. Having hosted Golf Canada Championships, including the Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship, where only one golfer finished the event under par, Cooke GC can be set up to test all ages and abilities.
Cooke GC is an ideal Match Play Tournament course, because on any given hole golfers can make a triple bogey just as easily as a birdie. One of the best Match Play tournaments in Western Canada, the Northern Amateur, is hosted annually by the Cooke GC. A must play for any competitive golfer. Tournaments and events at the Cooke GC attract some of the best golfers in the province due in large part to Head Professional Darcy Myers and his entire staff providing a welcoming and casual tournament experience.
The Cooke GC will continue to be a top choice for golfers due to the countless new options, course improvements and overall value at one of Saskatchewan’s friendliest golf courses.
Be sure to add Cooke Municipal Golf Course to your “must play Saskatchewan golf course” list.
By Scott Allan / SaskGolfer