Par for the course

As his hometown of Fort McMurray grew more harried and rushed, Todd Jurak decided his family needed a change of address.

Sylvan Lake Golf and Country Club pro Todd Jurak swings on the first tee at the club on Monday.

Sylvan Lake Golf and Country Club pro Todd Jurak swings on the first tee at the club on Monday.

SYLVAN LAKE — As his hometown of Fort McMurray grew more harried and rushed, Todd Jurak decided his family needed a change of address.

“I wanted to come to a community where my kids could grow up in a very safe environment,” the Sylvan Lake Golf and Country Club director of golf said Monday. “Golf is my background, something I’ve been involved with for more than 25 years. When this opportunity was presented to me, I came forward.”

Jurak left Fort McMurray, where he was the executive professional at the Miskanaw Golf Club, and moved into his new job in May of last year.

“There are so many advantages to living here. You’re in between two larger cities and you’re just 20 minutes from Red Deer. Plus, you have the lakes and the camping spots and so forth,” he said.

“Fort McMurray is a great place and was a good environment to grow up in. But over the last five years it’s been really hectic with a lot of growth and demand, which stresses the service aspect of a golf club. You lose that whole customer service component. Here, it’s more laid back, although it does get quite busy on long weekends. But you can maintain your customer service by having access to different stores.”

While admitting that he seldom gets the chance to play the Sylvan Lake course, Jurak is a fan of the layout.

“It’s a little easier for the average golfer, a fun little track to play,” he said, in reference to the par-72 course that covers 6,367 yards from the back tees and features plenty of foliage and water on 11 holes.

“You have to watch out for our little fairway creeks with some of your approach shots,” he noted.

“The setting is very nice with the treed environment. There are some wider fairways but you still have to be accurate with your shots.”

The par-4 holes are relatively short, but the shortest of the four par-3s — No. 6 — checks in at 167 yards from the tips. The other three measure 176, 195 and 221 yards from the back tees.

“The par-3s are probably the biggest challenges on the golf course due to their length,” said Jurak. “All of the holes on the course are fun to play, depending on the day and which way the wind is blowing.”

The highlights of the golf course, at least at the present time, are the luxurious putting surfaces that have been superbly crafted by superintendent Mike Nowakowski.

“The greens are in incredible shape this year. Mike has done a super job,” said Jurak. “He did a great job of putting them to bed last year and they’ve come through (the winter) really well.”

As for the rest of the course . . . ,

“We have a bit of snow mould on the fairways and the teeboxes, but once we get some heat and the leaves start coming back on the trees everything will start to fill in,” said Jurak.

Course renovations are not planned for this summer.

“But in the fall we’ll look at some long-term planning,” said Jurak. “There are some issues out there that have been around for a few years that we’re looking at changing.

“A couple of holes, such as No. 4, hold water if you get a major rainfall, which we haven’t had this year. Those are spots that we need to look at and see what we come up with in terms of solutions.”

Contact Greg Meachem at gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read