Members of Edmonton’s Derrick Golf and Winter Club are even more eager than usual for the golf season to begin in 2015 as they await the unveiling of a new golf course designed and built by Toront0-based architect Jeff Mingay.
“The project was carried out in phases over the past two summers,” said Mingay. “Ten new holes were built in 2013 and the remaining eight holes and the practice areas were completed in 2014. We put the finishing touches on everything in late October.”
Mingay said superintendent Darryl Maxwell, who acted as the on-site project manager, was vital to its success, as was contractor TDI Golf and its drainage affiliate XGD Systems.
Due to heavy clay soils and relatively flat topography, drainage had been a serious and chronic problem at the Derrick for many years before Mingay got involved. The club’s original course opened for play in 1959. “Improving drainage was really the impetus of this project,” said Mingay. “The need to comprehensively improve a very poor drainage situation, which impacted turf health and playability, is what allowed us to also go ahead with a complete redesign of the entire course.”
Mingay’s redesign included major adjustments to the general layout and sequence of how the holes are played. Overall, six new hole corridors were created by rerouting the entire course. Every feature of the course, including tees, greens and bunkers, was redesigned as well. Some fairways were recontoured to improve drainage, too, and more than a thousand trees were removed to enhance turf health, playability and aesthetics. The planting of new trees will be part of continuing enhancement throughout the new course in 2015.
The C$5.5-million golf course project was part of a massive C$12-million makeover of one of Alberta’s most historic and prestigious clubs. “Now the club has a golf course that matches the rest of its excellent facilities,” Mingay said. “I’m confident the new course at the Derrick will be both adequately challenging for better golfers and fun for all to play. But, just as important, it’s a course that will be unique to the Edmonton market.”
“What’s been done is really amazing,” said Maxwell, who’s been golf course superintendent at the Derrick for more than a decade. “I don’t think many of our members realised this property had this much potential for golf. Jeff, and his colleague George Waters, have markedly improved things from both golfing and aesthetic perspectives. And, fundamentally, the course functions properly now.”