Kananaskis Country Golf Course set to reopen 5 years after devastating flood

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WATCH: Out of commission since the 2013 floods, the world famous Kananaskis Country Golf Course flood restoration is near the finish line. Kevin Smith shows us the planned 2018 reopening will be emotional for a lot of Albertans – Jul 27, 2017

Every Saturday for 10 straight years, Calgarian Greg Reid had the same tee time at 7:21 a.m. at Kananaskis Country Golf Course. He’s even known as “Mr. 7:21”.

Each spring, Reid would take the day off work to make sure he secured a season’s worth of tee times.

“Basically the course books everything in one day for the entire year, so I took the day off work and had three phones going.”

Those 7:21 tee times ended after the Evan Thomas Creek destroyed the 36-hole layout during the 2013 floods.

The Kananaskis Country Golf Course post-flood in July 2014. Tim Lee/Global News

This week, Reid returned to the provincial gem to see the amazing flood restoration progress that will see Albertans tee it up again in the spring of 2018, five years after the course was lost.

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“Coming back and seeing it restored and being absolutely pristine and ready for all the Albertans and visitors again — it’s overwhelming. It really makes the heart skip a beat and brings a big smile to the face.”

Mount Lorette 2nd hole, Kananaskis Country Golf Course. July 26, 2017. Global News

All 18 holes on the Mount Lorette course are sodded and ready to go while work continues on the 18-hole Mount Kidd course.

Kananaskis Country Golf Course will have a grand reopening in spring 2018, with all 18 holes of Mount Lorette ready for play. At the Mount Kidd course, between nine holes and all 18 will be ready for play, depending on weather conditions for restoration work in the coming months.

Restoration work being done on the 3rd hole on the Mount Kidd course at Kananaskis Country Golf Course. July 26, 2017. Global News

Head professional Bob Paley says the grand reopening will be very emotional.

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“I think it’s going to be super emotional, just to see people and see smiles on peoples’ faces,” Paley said. “And just to have other human beings here with golf clothes on instead of [construction] vests and to have their equipment and golf clubs and not jack hammers and excavators.”

The price tag for the province to restore both courses has been minimal, since 90 per cent of the $18-million budget has been covered by disaster relief.

Once the course is up and running, golf course general manager Darren Robinson expects a yearly economic spin-off of over $14 million for the province. He says it’s hard to describe the feeling that the finish line is within sight.

Kananaskis Country Golf Course. July 26, 2017. Global News

“Dirt, debris, rubble, downed trees, all that kind of thing to go to this green oasis that sits behind us here is a feeling that’s indescribable.”

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The world famous 36-hole provincial course will be handed back to Albertans with better grasses, drainage and irrigation systems than before the flood, Paley says.

“Wrap that all up together and it’s really going to make this place extra special when people come out to play it,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what people are going to say.”

Albertans will once again get a reduced rate to play the course, but exact price points haven’t been determined yet.

By the time the golf course reopens, it will have been lost for a half decade from flood to restoration.

Kananaskis Country Golf Course, July 26, 2017. Global News

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