Sturgeon Valley Golf and Country Club, located just outside the heart of St. Albert and only 30 minutes from downtown Edmonton, understands that personal touch and strong community sets it apart from many other golf courses. The golf club has just completed a 2.8 million dollar renovation to both the course and clubhouse and has to be seen.
For Brad Hoekstra, a new member to the club, Sturgeon Valley is a place where he can get together with friends – old and new – not just to play golf, but to have a good time. He joined the club four years ago and said he looks forward to making golf a bigger focus at this stage of his life.
"[Sturgeon Valley has] really set itself up as a premiere place to play golf in the region because of the quality of the course and all of the facilities around here," Hoekstra said. As mentioned, the 18-hole golf course recently went through an extensive rebuild, in which some holes were completely dug up and built anew. Now, the course is a stunning place to see, let alone play golf on.
The scenic fairways now lead to hardy perennial bentgrass greens making for a lusher, more consistent playing surface and the greens now have much more character. Golf cart paths are paved for ease of transportation (although golfers can easily walk the course and enjoy the natural views). Beautiful water features and sneaky sand traps are speckled across the course and attract an array of wildlife. Trees were cleared to let in the perfect amount of morning sunshine and brightly coloured flowers decorate the outdoor areas. The course is one that lends itself to players of all abilities, whether an experienced golfer or new to the game, anyone can enjoy the outstanding course. And they do. Memberships are still available – including corporate, junior and associate – and of course the public is always welcome.
Hoekstra said an advantage to being a member over being a public player is the opportunity for camaraderie or competition with the rest of the membership. "The demographic throughout the membership is one where we all blend in, regardless of age," he said. Hoekstra is able to walk into the club and be immediately recognized by staff. They find him a game with another group or he can play a few holes alone before closing time (which he said you wouldn't necessarily be able to do if you aren't a member). He said he's often paired up with juniors, but it's not a problem because everyone gets along fantastically.
While some golf clubs tend to cater to older men, Sturgeon Valley welcomes men and women of all ages. The club often hosts tournaments, championships and challenges for both adults and juniors. Hoekstra said one thing he noticed about Sturgeon Valley is their unique commitment to the junior program where the PGA of Canada Professionals teach not only good golf skills, but also great life lessons. "The pros are so polite in the way they address you and the way they treat you. It's a great program and that was one of the biggest attractions for myself."
This year Hoekstra brought his daughter's boyfriend to golf at Sturgeon Valley. He said the young man was so impressed with the interactions between members and the quality of the course that he immediately wanted a membership too. Hoekstra said parents really enjoy bringing their children to the club, "I think there's that level of comfort and almost that feeling of home where there's that real confidence that goes with it. If you bring them in they'll continue to go down that path not only as good golfers, but as good human beings."
For some members, Sturgeon Valley has been the go-to golf spot for generations. They played at a young age with their parents and continue to play as adults with children of their own. Since 1960, the staff at Sturgeon Valley have shown they take great care of their members and facilities to keep people coming back year after year.
Jim Douville, a current board member, is someone who has witnessed Sturgeon Valley's complete transformation. He first started golfing at the course with his father back in 1969 when he was about eight years old. Now, Douville lives less than five minutes from the club and says he's there about four days a week – either playing golf or enjoying the facilities. He said he will often visit the Valley Lounge with his wife just for a nice meal and enjoy the amazing view. "I think one thing the course has done well over the 50-some years is to stay relevant," Douville said. "The course has always made improvements."
Both Hoekstra and Douville will still visit other courses, but the camaraderie that comes from being a member keeps them returning to Sturgeon Valley. While many private clubs are cost prohibitive, Sturgeon’s semi-private membership platform offers incredible value to its members. Hoekstra contends, "You start making time to be there because it provides that level of contentment and relaxation that goes along with the game. The beautiful thing about golf is it forces you to clear your mind. It allows you to relax and you can walk away from it actually refreshed."
In the long run, both Hoekstra and Douville say they have saved money by joining Sturgeon Valley, and have had a better experience than they were having before joining. Both have enjoyed the commitment to making Sturgeon a place where family and friends meet and now the course and clubhouse make it a golf experience second to none.
Sturgeon Valley facilities
- Club storage Staff will clean and store members' clubs. When you book a tee time, they'll pull the clubs out so all you have to do is hop on a cart and go.
- Locker rooms Recently renovated locker rooms include showers, a steam room and personal care products for members to use.
- Practice facility Another newly renovated improvement to the club. It boasts a state-of-the-art driving range, putting green and chipping green for players to sharpen their skills.
- Valley Lounge Upgraded to include custom furniture and flatscreen TVs for members' comfort and enjoyment. A new bar and expanded kitchen cater to more people with higher efficiency. Patio access allows players to walk straight off the green into the lounge.
- Men's Night/Ladies' League/Club Championships/Match Play Events Play against players of your calibre for an opportunity to grow as a player and develop lasting friendships.
- Junior Program at Sturgeon has been recognized nationally for its commitment to developing young players to enjoy the game