Sturgeon Valley upgrades golf facility


Course and clubhouse improvements

The Sturgeon Valley Golf & Country Club is undergoing a facelift to its course and clubhouse.

The total budget is about 3.5 million, with one-third earmarked for the clubhouse and two-thirds for the course in terms of allocation of funds.

“If you look at any golf course that is 50 years old kind of thing, eventually you have to upgrade yourself and you have to sort of rebuild the old and introduce the new,” said Mark Beckwith, general manager of the Sturgeon Valley facility that was established in 1960.

“It’s certainly a two-part project that’s going to run I guess from start to finish for the better part of 18 months to two years. We’ve started on the golf course segment of it this fall with the reconstruction and rebuilding of two of our existing greens, No. 10 and 18,” Beckwith added. “It took a long time even to get to where we’re at today. We had to go through I guess a vetting process with our bankers and we needed shareholder member support and the board has dedicated a lot of time and effort on this. We’ve all put in numerous hours of meetings so we’re getting there but we’ve still got a couple of more years to go obviously.”

Beckwith reported No. 18 is pretty much done other than the final sodding on the putting surface and No. 10 is also nearing completion.

“The snow held us back for a few days but we’re working away at it. We’ll likely get to the completion stage on No. 10 this fall but certainly in the spring,” he said. “Over the next year and a half we’ll continue on with more rebuilding of the greens at No. 1, No. 7 for sure and possibly No. 8. There is also irrigation work and drainage work and cart path paving to be done throughout ’17 and into the spring of ’18.”

The goal is to make the renovations as least disruptive to the golfers as possible.

“It’s sort of a spring/fall work on the greens and then the irrigation will just have to be done during the playing season because it’s a lengthy fix,” said Beckwith of the course located north of Edmonton and east of St. Albert in Sturgeon County, bordering the Sturgeon River on the northwest and Sturgeon Road on the southeast.

“Some of our greens were the old original dirt greens from the early ’60s and didn’t have drainage whatsoever in them. We always seem to struggle with putting conditions and general conditions of the greens so it’s time to replace them with new technology and new construction techniques and drainage,” he said. “These new bentgrasses are very hardy when it comes to our climate and we’ve always struggled with our greens in the spring because we just didn’t have the right grass on them, so that’s where we’re headed to.”

The clubhouse “is another ball of wax,” according to Beckwith.

“We’re going to start on that this winter. We’re getting down to the final design stages. We’re about ready to sign off on some documents here and get some firm pricing.”

Beckwith estimated work on the clubhouse will run from January probably into May with the rebuilding of a bar, additions of doors and flooring in the Valley Lounge area, which will re-emerge as a golfers’ lounge/restaurant.

“The main part of our clubhouse, the front entrance as you come in, is our large Sturgeon Room and it will be repurposed as our banquet and wedding and tournament facility and the golfers’ lounge will sort of stay on its own,” Beckwith said. “We’ve got some pretty good ideas on how we want to operate that in the future in terms of what we’re able to offer.”

Total shareholders at Sturgeon Valley is 279 and Beckwith said memberships range between 450 to 500 depending on the season.

“About 85 per cent are within a 15-minute drive of the golf course and probably the bulk of them reside in St. Albert.”


About Author

Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.