The Bearspaw Golf Club has reopened and is now welcoming non-members and the general public to hit the links.
Back in 2019, the Bearspaw-based country club and golf course announced that it would be closing, citing several setbacks and climbing costs associated with the construction of a new clubhouse.
According to head professional Sam Hunt, the club went into receivership in 2018 and was then operated for a season by PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc.
Around the end of 2019, a group of ex-members successfully put in a bid to purchase the property. Now, the course is back on track and will operate under Bearspaw Equity Ventures Limited.
“Bearspaw [Golf Club] has been a part of this community for 35-plus years," Hunt said. "The guys who were the ex-members of the previous Bearspaw Golf Club really had the desire to keep this place as it is, and wanted to see it continue as a private golf club."
He explained the club still has memberships available but is also open to the public.
“This year, we’re operating a semi-private club, so we have 110 primary members, 230 or so total members that have all rejoined as of that initial part of 2020,” Hunt said. “We have those members, plus we do allow non-member public play.”
Once the clubhouse, which was the source of the original closure, is completed and operational, Hunt said he hopes membership purchases will increase.
He noted that construction on the clubhouse should wrap up in early 2021.
“We’ve got a new building that’s in process, we’re about 75 per cent done the exterior," he said. "The interior has had work done previously, but our timeline is, hopefully, to get at the interior mid-September, and hopefully be ready to go with that new facility sometime in May 2021.”
This year, the club has had an "unprecedented" season, according to Hunt, typically selling out tee times between 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. every day.
“When golf was announced as one of the only sanctioned events or something that was OK by Alberta Health and Safety standards, we saw a massive participation rate,” he said. “I’ve been in the industry for a long time – 15-plus years – [and] I don’t think I’ve ever seen tee times being booked at 8:30 and 8:45 p.m. until this year.”
Hunt attributed the course's popularity to the surge in activities like golf brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was the first activity allowed, so I think everybody was taking advantage of it," he said.
Though the goal, according to Hunt, is to eventually go back to it being a private facility within the next few years, that move is dependent on membership sales. For the time being, he said the course will be open to everyone – member or not.
“We will continue to operate as a semi-private club, allowing public or non-member play until that time," he said. "I don’t know exactly what the number they’ve determined they would need to make that switch back to private.”
He noted that there is no firm timeline for a return to private-only play.
To book a tee time visit GolfBearspaw.com