Here’s a new genre of abandoned for BIGDoer.com, a disused golf course. It’s the first we’ve ever explored. Located deep inside the city of Calgary, the facility, the Highland Golf Course, recently closed down, the land having been sold and now slated for redevelopment. The former links, the rough, the greens, bunkers, hazards and fairways it’s expected will be transformed into a residential neighbourhood, new housing for an ever growing city.
Opened in 1965, the course is located in the north half of Calgary and was owned by the city. With only nine tight holes (2000-ish yards, par 31 or 33 depending on the source), the place never catered to the serious player but more so to beginners, less causal users and the budget minded. There was no real clubhouse to speak of, no caddies, no carts, reservations weren’t always necessary…you get the picture. It was just cheap easy fun. There was also a driving range on site.
Located in a low-lying gently-sloped hollow the L-shaped course, a few blocks in area, has always been completely surrounded by housing, With this close proximity, I wonder how many errant balls resulted in broken windows and dented car hoods? Tall fences were put up in places but I bet they didn’t stop all the ones that got away.
Underutilized, not making any real money and badly in need of a facelift (it was near the end a bit of a dump), the city sold the property a few years back. Development is planned but nothing yet has happened just yet. The process is never quick – there’s the usual studies which take time, and so on, and no doubt with the economy in the crapper hasn’t helped things either. Still, it’s only a matter of time before the old golf course is no more. With that in mind, we were invited by the developer to the grounds to catch it before it’s gone. Of course, it sounds interesting!
Almost everything is still pretty much in place on the course, albeit little kept-up. With a good mowing you could probably even play a round. The only building on site, the “clubhouse”, is boarded up tight. The rest of the place is pretty much untouched for now and the layout of each hole is still quite obvious. Some trees have been damaged by storms or snow, and in a few places blown in garbage has accumulated. A few people, it looks like, have used a place as a dumping ground.
The grounds are used by locals to walk their dogs. Even when operating, the course was always used, unofficially that is, as a park of sorts during off hours or off season. There are many places where there is no fencing at all allowing one easy access. Sloping land here is used as toboggan runs when there is sufficient snow.
Walking around it’s a bit eerie. It was just too quiet. At any time we expected a ball to go whizzing by. Was that a plaid-pants wearing ghost of a long dead golfer? Or just our overactive imagination? Soon, if plans go ahead, the silence will be broken by the din of heavy machinery tearing the place a new one.
This author has seen the plans for the land to be known as the Highland Village Green. There will be a new road running roughly down the centre, flanked by condo type buildings on either side, mixed low rises and some retail development. There would be a good bit of green space too. Of course, many would love to see the golf course converted to a park, not a hard thing to do since it’s almost that already, it’s got all the trees and grass needed. But of course, the city doesn’t own it any more, so it’s too late now I guess.
The loss of the Highland Golf venue, even if it was less than prime, is no doubt a blow to the golfing community, especially those who don’t like the expense or the snooty “country club” type atmosphere of most other courses in town.
Fore!: shouted as a warning to other players in the area that a ball has been struck and may be headed their way. In other words – watch out! The origins of the word is open to debate, several theories are given, not that it really matters that much here. It’s been used since the 1800s. In movies and TV it’s always used in golf scenes, so much so it’s become an overused cliche. In real life it’s not used neatly as much. I’ve never heard it said while playing. Of course, we don’t get out to the links that much.
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: February, 2016.
Location: Calgary, AB.
Article references: Maple Projects Inc, City of Calgary.
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