The Stettler Golf and Country Club will swing into its second century of operations in 2023.
Planning for the Stettler golf course first began way back in 1920 when a group of “doctors, lawyers, dentists, and druggists” came together to develop ideas for a new facility to be built on pasture land adjacent to Highway 12 and Highway 56.
The facility was officially launched in 1923 as a private club.
Since that time, the club has “evolved,” according to member Ed Ouellette.
The club has faced struggles over the years; in 1973, the town seized the property for failure to pay taxes.
Once the town had ownership, the first, seventh, eighth, and ninth fairways were sold off. This land is the site of the current Stettler Hospital and Care Centre, Heart Haven Lodge, and Stettler and District Ambulance Association.
Not wanting to operate the club themselves, the Town of Stettler came to an arrangement with the Stettler Elks to operate the course for a 20-year period.
The Elks, with assistance from Alberta Transportation who built the road between the hospital and the course’s fence along Highway 56, signed the lease in 1974 and began work to realign the course to its current layout.
While the town owned the land and the now-re-named Elks clubhouse, the Elks were able to keep any revenue generated by course operations and put those funds back into facility development. Grass greens and a watering system were installed, and the clubhouse was eventually moved onto a basement.
As the 20-year lease was expiring, the Elks expressed the desire to walk away from the club; the Stettler Golf and Country Club was thereafter established and received official certification in 1995, and has operated as such since.
The Stettler Golf and Country Club operates in a similar manner as the Elks, where the town owns the land but the club collects the revenue.
A lot has changed over the years according to Ouellette.
The Club House, Pro Shop, and Office all received renovations for the club’s 75th anniversary back in the late 1990s and a deck was added in 2000, though “minor repairs and replacements” have been undertaken since that time as well.
In 2022, the Stettler Golf and Country Club went through a re-brand process, complete with an official website and social media channels.
“We’re starting to reap the benefit now,” said Ouellette.
“Things have changed a lot in the last couple of years.”
The Stettler Golf and Country Club is a fully licenced facility with a course that is “harder than it looks,” according to Ouellette.
“It’s a classic prairie golf course.”
The club offers juniors, seniors, men’s, and ladies’ programs and lessons and is mainly volunteer-run; it is operated by a nine-member board.
In celebration of the club’s 100th anniversary, the club is offering the town the chance to come and play a round of golf on June 17 with a donation to the Stettler Food Bank. Tee times are now available by calling the Club House at 403-742-2001.
Around 3 p.m. on the same day, representatives from the town and other dignitaries will be on hand for presentations before a plated meal.
Tickets for the meal are $10, available at the Club House.
-With files from the Stettler Golf and Country Club