By Stan Ashbee
Westwind Weekly News
Hell’s Creek Golf and FootGolf Course in Raymond is open for the season with plenty of new additions, revamps, and updates to make the town-owned facility an “Oasis on the Prairies.”
This renovated and restored local nine-hole gem has all the amenities of an 18-hole course. Hell’s Creek features six ponds throughout the course and a newly expanded creek, which will be on every hole throughout the course, as well. It’s a definite recreational must-see and must-play with a reciprocal membership partnership with Cardston’s Lee Creek and the Magrath Golf Club.
Hell’s Creek is a challenging and fun time for all ages with three separate tee difficulties — which are appealing to all golfers of all skill levels.
Raymond’s official FootGolf course is also the only course of its kind in southern Alberta and Hell’s Creek is the only golf course to offer FootGolf south of Calgary. FootGolf has been touted as North America’s “Fastest Growing Sports.” Raymond’s golf course is also a member of the Canadian FootGolf Association.
But, what is FootGolf? FootGolf is a combination of the popular sports of soccer and golf. The game is played with a regulation #5 soccer ball at a golf course facility on shortened holes with 21-inch diameter cups.
Greg Robinson, director of community and economic development for the Town of Raymond, said part of the revamped and rebranded town-run facility features waters that have been added and expanded and virtually impact every hole.
“Every hole has seen changes. Additions with some of the front tee-boxes make it both more friendly for a novice or beginner golfer. As well, the back tee-boxes have been added — in some cases — to make the holes a little bit more challenging. It’s meant to attract golfers of all skill levels,” Robinson explained.
About this time last year, Robinson said, the town began applying for flood mitigation-related grants and received $1.4 million from the Alberta Community Resilience Program, approximately $500,000 from the Building Canada grant, and about $300,000 of funding came from the town.
“We’ve had definite issues over the years. When there’s a major storm event in the region, it moves from the south to the north. What we’ve experienced in the past is in that south end we really have a hard time managing a large amount of water in a certain period of time. We applied for this grant after the last major storm event,” he noted. “We’ve got to be proactive in this situation, so if another major storm event happens, our systems can manage it and our residents aren’t negatively impacted by major events.”
Robinson noted that major impetus behind the grant stream and its approval allowed town council to sit down and discuss diverting flood event water through the golf course. “Now, the golf course, if that seems to flood out it might hurt a few golfers — but it’s no personal property involved in that sort of situation. It’s the best choice if a major flood event were to occur — to go through that area anyway.” Plus, it was also a way to expand, beautify, and make a better golfing experience.
As for the introduction of FootGolf in the area, Robinson said the activity is taking the soccer experience and skill to a golf course. “The only equipment you really need is a soccer ball with the addition of basically doubling down on the holes. So, 18 holes around the golf course.” And, players can even rent a power cart to enhance the experience.
“Once you hit that high teen age, soccer generally peters off for many of those who spent a lot of years learning that sport. This is just a natural sort of extension of continuing on with that into your adult years and it’s fairly inexpensive. There’s certainly not a lot of cost involved in going out for a round of FootGolf,” Robinson added.