Best Golf Courses: Sask. of course just made an elite national roster

One of Saskatchewan’s oldest golf courses is nationally recognized as one of the best golf courses in the country for the first time.

Waskesiu Golf Course in Prince Albert National Park ranked 83rd in top List of 100 courses by Score Golf.

The annual rankings began in 1988. The Stanley Thompson-designed Waskesiu course has never been on this list according to general manager Tyler Baker for 13 years.

“It’s something we’re very excited and proud of. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to for a number of years. We always thought we had something here, and people always told us it was a great golf course. Now being recognized is a bonus,” Baker told CTV News.

With 2,300 courses rated across the country, Baker said the fact that Waskesiu broke into the top 100 is significant. A team of evaluators come to the course and grade it on a number of factors.

“They look at the enjoyment of golf, the condition of the golf course, the setting of the golf course, the difficulty and it all comes together into one. We got a really good mark,” says Baker.

Score Golf evaluators have visited Waskesiu in the past, but this time they saw something different.

“For some reason they were very excited. I don’t know if they brought in a new team or if there was something that made them a little more aware of what they were playing,” he said.

A long-time member of the course, Marg Ravis has attended the course for approximately 50 years. “There is something magical here,” says Ravis. She feels that this recognition has been a long time coming.

“It was time for this to be recognized. It’s one of the best golf courses in Saskatchewan,” said Ravis.

Besides the natural tree-lined fairways completely separating all 18 holes, no houses or traffic noise, the course offers frequent wildlife visits according to one of its youngest members, Javier Salazar, who plays golf here since I was three years old. The 13-year-old golfer has seen bears while golfing and lots of elk.

An elk watches a golfer attempt a putt at Waskesiu Golf Course. (Courtesy Waskesiu Golf Course)

“When you are on the starting area, the elk is standing 50 meters in front of you. So you’ll have to hope not to hit them or just wait for them to move,” says Salazar.

He brings friends from Alberta or Saskatoon who are impressed with the course, he plays almost every day in the summer.

“They think it’s beautiful. They love seeing all the wildlife and the forest,” he says.

The only other Saskatchewan course to make the top 100 this year was Riverside in Saskatoon, ranking 64th. The course was previously on the list.

Michael C. Ford