A Lacombe landmark is getting ready to celebrate a special birthday.
Aug. 20 will mark the 20th year since the first day that golfers hit the links at the Nursery Golf and Country Club.
Karl Dillman, manager of the Nursery Golf and Country Club, said that the event is a milestone worth celebrating.
“Twenty years, it’s a pretty long time. Especially for a golf course.”
The Nursery was built in the early ‘90s during what Dillman called the “Heyday of golf.” It’s name was chosen because the course was built on what was previously the Lacombe Tree Nursery.
In the ‘90s, after being a tree nursery for 75 or so years, the land was purchased by entrepreneurs Wolfgang and Ingrid Hainzmann, who decided to turn it into a golf course. Dillman said it was fortunate for the course to be built on an existing nursery.
“We didn’t start with just bare land and had to put in trees,” said Dillman. Instead, he said the course started with a lot of trees and they had to put in some bare land.
Today, the existing course shows evidence that it was once a tree nursery. Dillman said that the course has a lot of trees throughout it and the Hainzmanns have worked to preserve that look in the existing course. In 1994, the Nursery opened for its first season as a nine-hole golf course.
A few years later, the back nine were constructed, opening in 1998.
With the opening of the back nine, the Nursery also claimed fame as the home of a landmark hole. At 782 yards, Hole 11 is the longest hole in Canada.
Dillman said the Hainzmanns came up with the distance because 782 is the prefix for Lacombe-area phone numbers. He added the long hole is quite challenging.
In more recent years, a few improvements have been made to the back nine as well. After severe flooding in 2007, most of the back nine needed to be reconstructed.
Dillman said the holes were rebuilt and reinforcements were made to the creek which runs through the back nine to prevent future run-over. He said that the heavy rains in 2011 and again last year showed that the improvements accomplished what they were intended for.
Celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the Nursery Golf and Country Club will begin in July with ‘Kids Golf Free’. Dillman said the program usually runs for a week in July but the Nursery plans to extend it to the entire month.
Then, later in July, the Nursery will be gearing up for their 20th anniversary party and public tournament, which will be held in August. Dillman said the tournament will be held on Aug. 23 and he is hoping to get sponsors to offer prizes on every hole.
Prior to the tournament, there will also be raffles and draws for players to win their way into the tournament and gain other prizes as well. “Basically, we just want to say we are 20 years old and we are thankful you have helped us out for the last 20 years,” said Dillman.
He said there is a dedicated group of golfers that come out and support the Nursery every year. He added he was already fielding calls asking when the course would open in mid-April.
As for when the season did start, the Nursery opened its gates for the first day of golf yesterday. So far, only the front nine are open but Dillman said the handful of golfers that have already been out on the course have said things are looking good.