A familiar face has returned to the Pheasantback Golf and RV Estates.
Drake Mason is returning as the head pro of the 18-hole layout, just northwest of Stettler, and hopes to bring back some of the former success.
“I know a lot of people in the area and I know what the course was like when we were going strong,” he said.
The Pheasantback Golf and Country Club, which opened in 1995, went into receivership on Sept. 12, 2012, and was closed for a better part of a year. Gary Grant, a lawyer in Stettler, purchased the course last summer and started cleaning up. By August they opened nine holes.
“There was tonnes of work to do, but it’s all system go this year, although we’re still finishing off a few things,” said Mason. “We just finished the clubhouse with a new floor, repainted and fixed things up. We also bought new ball washers, flags and we’re in the midst of finalizing work on the sand traps.”
The traps needed to fix the drainage and add new sand to get to where it should be.
What the course didn’t need was a lot of work on the greens.
“When it was in receivership the bank made sure our superintendant (Jamie Devinich) looked after the greens,” said Mason. “That was extremely important. But he didn’t look after the fairways and they were three-feet tall when they got back in working on them.”
They also purchased 40 new electric golf carts and have been working on building “five or six” new tee boxes and making several of the holes more player friendly.
“We’re getting to the point where water won’t come into play on several of the holes,” he said. “The course will still be challenging, but we want it so everyone can enjoy themselves and be comfortable.
“We still have ideas what we want the course to look like and we’ll work on a few holes each year.”
Mason still wants the course to attract golfers from all parts of the province, but says it will also be a community course.
“We want the local players, from junior to senior, to come out,” he said. “We’ll have a number of specials. Have men’s and ladies’ nights and also be available for tournaments.”
In addition to the golf course, Don Peters is putting together a RV facility.
“It’s in it’s first phase and while there’s no services or power right now, eventually it will be a full service facility just west of the course,” Mason explained. ‘“That’s exciting. We can get individuals who want to come for a week, or a weekend, camp and play the course.”
Mason indicates they’ll keep their costs down to bring back members and green fee players.
“We’ve been encouraged with the interest in our memberships and we’re putting together a corporation membership where you can buy a 20 pack book, or more, and use them to give to clients or for their company. You buy a 20 pack book and can save $147. We also have junior memberships.”
They also have reasonable green fees including $43 for 18 holes Monday to Thursday and $49 for weekend and holidays.