The Beginning of Kananaskis Country
The Alberta Government announced the creation of Kananaskis Country, a multi-recreational area, intended to encourage Albertans to spend some of their vacation money in Alberta. Included were plans for camping and all types of outdoor recreation, including golfing and skiing.1977
Brian Bygrave, Kananaskis Country Golf Course’s original Director of Golf
"Our involvement began when the Government of Alberta put out a Request for a Proposal, for parties to respond to how they would operate the golf course. I was living in Edmonton at the time, and was shortlisted. It was time to write a detailed proposal for how I would suggest everything be managed, and that’s when I realized I was in above my head, so I called Wayne. [Brian’s brother and partner in preparing operations for, and opening the golf course in 1983"1982
Kananaskis Country Golf Course opens with 18 holes playable. Premier Peter Lougheed announces that it is a course built by Albertans, to be used by Albertans. Brian Bygrave, then-charter manager: “The green fee was $20 and it took off immediately. We were so busy booking tee times. I mean it was crazy. We didn’t know if we were coming or going… and then along about late August we’d realized we’d booked our first groups off at 6:30am. Trouble is, it didn’t get light until about 7:15! That was a bit of an embarrassment but, needless to say, we’ve since learned our lesson on those kind of things.”July 22, 1983
Wayne Bygrave, the original Head Golf Professional
“In the early years, there was so much interest in the course – it actually surprised us how instantly popular it was. After all 36 holes were open, virtually every tee time of our season was sold out. Golfers just wanted to get out here.”1983
The Claresholm Local Press: "What a course!"
Cover story in Claresholm Local Press.
"One of the world's most magnificent golf courses."
Gord Edwards, Golfer, 1983-Present
"I played my first round on Mt Kidd in 1983; the year it opened and the year my wife and I moved to Calgary from Ontario. Through the years it became an annual event for my son and I to pitch our tent in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park so that we could bike, hike, camp and take in a round of golf or two".Read more 1983
Roger Penner, Golfer, 1983-Present
"I have been fortunate to have golfed at Kananaskis many times, commencing shortly after it opened. I have been part of golf buddies’ weekend trips, corporate tournaments and regular green fee play spanning 30 years or more".Read more 1983
Two Courses, Now Open:Mt Kidd and Mt Lorette
Both 18-hole golf courses now opened, accommodating 80,000 rounds.1984
The Edmonton Sun
“If God is a golfer, his bag tag must read Kananaskis.”1984
Brian Bygrave, PGA Tour player Dave Barr, and Wayne Bygrave stop for a photograph on the course.
"Nineteen eighty-five marked the break-even year for KanAlta, the management company operating the facility. This year also marked the first full summer of operation for Kananaskis as it was designed. And more than 55,000 golfers will pay $20 a head green fees to play. That’s $1.1million revenue without adding rental of the 166 carts at $16 each, sale of balls, tees and clothing from the pro shop, or the revenue from the restaurant and lounge… In years ahead those green fees will bring a financial return on the investment, something governments rarely get."1985
Brad Taylor, Golfer, 1985-Present
"My passion for golf was starting to grow back in 1985, and I remember my Dad saying that Kananaskis was the best course in Alberta – and I had to take a minute just to say the word Kananaskis, as I’d never heard of it before!"Read more 1985
Sean Messing, Golfer, 1986-Present
"One time, my guest Richard and I were playing Mt Lorette on an early-season spring day. We were on Hole 5, and the morning sunrise was lighting up the course. Richard looked up and said, “Wow, Mess – check it out! Avalanche starting at the top of Mt Kidd!”
Read more 1986
Two former Kananaskis Country Golf Course employees, Dave and Traci Gardner, met at the course - and later married.
Jeff Van Vulpen, Supplier, 1991-Present
"I remember my first time on the course, standing up on the lookout and seeing Mt Kidd to the left, Mt Lorette to the right, and the outline of the courses up top".
Read more 1991
Kananaskis Country Golf Course is featured in the book, ‘Tee Off! America’s Most Challenging Public Golf Courses.
“Both are excellent layouts, though Mount Lorette is probably the favoured of the two, in a photo finish – which can be quite stunning when you’re around 5,000 feet above sea level in the Canadian Rockies."Read more 1991
Barrie Carpenter, Supplier, 1992-Present
“I have had the privilege to service the course as a supplier for more than 25 years. I can truly say that the team takes the same approach with their customers as they do with all stakeholders: extraordinary, professional service. Every member of the team goes out of their way to be helpful – their mission must be to ensure each person feels welcome and part of their community. I consider Kananaskis to be one of the most scenic, special and unique golf courses anywhere in the world. This course is a crown jewel for Alberta".1992
Kananaskis Country Golf Course features in the book, ‘The World’s Greatest Golf Courses’
"To the list of fine Canadian mountain golf courses such as Banff Springs and Jasper Park, another name can now be safely added: Kananaskis."Read more 1992
Billy Dakuras, Supplier, 1995-Present
“The people and attention to detail make golfing at Kananaskis unique. From the moment you enter, you are transported by the laid-back mountain atmosphere. This is why I love it. Since the flood, the restoration progress has been phenomenal – an incredible comeback story! Reopening this great facility will put smiles on many people’s faces once again. Golfing here is an experience that you will never forget".1995
Golf Digest Names the course “the best 36-hole public golf facility in North America”.1996
Tom Altmann, Former Employee, 1996
"Travelling through Kananaskis Country reminds one of standing on the threshold to heaven. The gigantic mountains, the rivers, forests and the wildlife create a true perspective for one’s existence. Being employed at a golf course in this magnificent environment is extremely rewarding and gratifying".Read more 1996
The Calgary Sun
"Readers love the "K" course. Seems if you had your druthers, you’d tee it up at Kananaskis. The government 36-holer topped our readership poll of the top five golf courses in Alberta."1998
Greg Reid "Mr 7:21", Golfer, 1998-Present
"I have golfed at more than 300 courses around the world – and I rate Kananaskis among the finest. The people, the setting, and the courses are absolutely first-class".
Read more 1998
Golf Digest Magazine
Brian McCallen, Senior Editor:
“Until the Dalai Lama builds a golf resort in the Himalayas, Kananaskis reigns as the world’s pre-eminent 36-hole mountain complex.”1998
Jason Novak, Golfer, 1998-Present
"I first started golfing at Kananaskis in 1998, and I continued as a fairly regular golfer (six to eight rounds per season) until the flood in 2013 closed the course".Read more 1998
Adam Derges, Former Employee, 1999-2000
"My three summers working in Kananaskis represent some of the best times of my life. For my first two years working there, I was the valet captain. Basically, I had the incredible job of welcoming people to paradise, and telling them when they left that we’d love to see them back soon".Read more 1999
The New York Times
“Driving through magnificent Kananaskis Country to a sprawling lodge for golf and good food… Alberta’s secret is Kananaskis Country. Less crowded than Banff but equally beautiful, this mountain-rimmed park system offers pristine wilderness and touches of civilization.”2000
The Calgary Sun
"Kananaskis Country Golf Course designer Robert Trent Jones, renowned as the father of modern golf architecture, died aged 93. Jones was responsible for an estimated 310 courses in 45 states and 29 countries or islands on every continent but Australia and Antarctica. He also helped redesign about 150 other courses. He tested golfers with his risk-reward philosophy, skillfully including hazards to encourage greater strategy. He termed Kananaskis his “piece de resistance”."2000
Kory Postma, Golfer, 2000-present
"Kananaskis has always been an iconic golf experience for my father and I. Every year since I was a boy (now age 28) we would play Father’s Day golf, typically mixing up the front nine holes of Lorette and the front nine of Kidd. These were our favorites!"Read more 2000
New management team
Brian and Wayne Bygrave officially handed over the reins to a new management team. Wayne turned over his club pro title to Bob Paley, while Brian passed more management responsibility to Darren Robinson.
(Darren, Bob Calvin; photo by Steph Bunbury)
Kananaskis Country Hosts
Adam Calver, Former Employee, 1998-2005
"During my first year as Assistant Superintendent, we hosted the 2002 G8 Summit. That was an amazing year. Having the world descend into the valley was a surreal experience. There were 5,000 military securing the area."Read more 2002
Jen Kerslake, Former Employee, 2002-2008
"Working at Kananaskis for six years was single-handedly the greatest experience of my life. I started working there when I was 18. Little did I know I’d meet a fellow grounds crew worker named Andy – he is now my husband and father to our two children!"
Read more 2002
Brian L'Heureux, Golfer, 2002-Present
"I wanted to share one of my best memories: it was about 15 years ago. My dad and step mom were camping at Boulton Creek Campground and we had a noon tee time at Kananaskis, Mt Kidd course..."Read more 2002
Stephanie Bunbury, Former Employee, 2003-2011
"My husband, Justin, started working at Kananaskis the same year as I did, while working towards a Professional Golfers’ Association of Canada (PGA) membership. We started dating in the summer of 2006 and now are a happily married family with two healthy boys".
Read more 2003
Kananaskis Country Golf Course showed a province wide net economic impact
Kananaskis Country Golf Course showed a province wide net economic impact of $14 million, 175 full-time equivalent jobs sustained province wide, and a $4.4 million federal, $1.9 million provincial and $800,000 local taxes generated.2011
Listed Mt. Kidd as the third Best Public Course in Alberta, with Mt. Lorette taking fifth place and Golf Week included Mt. Kidd on its list of Best Canadian Golf Modern Courses.2011
Top 75 golf resorts biennial list ranking. Golf Digest also rated Mt Kidd and Mt Lorette in the top 50 Courses in North America for “Great Value.”2011
“Best Canadian Modern Courses” ranking.2011
Two days before the flood hit, June 18, 2013
"It was pouring rain leaving Calgary and continued unabated until we neared the turn-off to the Kananaskis Country Golf Course. The skies showed some clearing as we observed many cars in the parking lots and in the Clubhouse, golfers were enjoying a meal as well as either discussing strategy before playing, or recalling what happened on the course."Read more 2013
The Flood Arrives, June 20, 2013
5:00 am: The banks of the Evan Thomas at the Southern-most portion of the golf course start to break down with unusually high volume. Throughout the day a tremendous amount of water from the swollen Evan Thomas and Kananaskis Rivers spills onto both golf courses and causes massive erosion and damage.Read more 2013
The Aftermath, June 22, 2013
The rain finally stops, and the course damage is evaluated as best as possible, with washed out roads and newly-eroded water channels throughout the two course layouts.
Gary Browning,Golf Architect
"Darren called me – Darren and I had had a business relationship from years prior and we just stayed in touch infrequently – so when he called he said, “Gary, can you come out and help us out?”, I could tell he was bleeding badly".
Read more 2013
Kananaskis Country Golf Course experiences severe flooding
Along with many other parts of southern Alberta. Damage was extensive, and most fairways and greens were damaged or destroyed. The flood did not affect buildings that were located on higher ground, such as the pro shop and clubhouse.2013
Department of Tourism, Parks and Recreation submitted a recommendation to the Southern Alberta Recovery Ministerial Task Force to restore KCGC. The task force agreed that the proposal to restore KCGC should go ahead.
Calgary golf architect, Gary Browning, is tasked with the restoration of Kananaskis Country Golf Course. “For me, this is the Super Bowl,” he said.2014
Rebuilding the course
The restoration of the course nears completion
View Gallery 2017
Lucille Senger, Calgary
"This is the gem of Alberta - I sure am relieved the course is coming back. For Albertans to have a world-quality course such as this for our own, now that’s special".Read More 2017
The Management Team Look Ahead to New Beginnings2017
Darren Robinson, General Manager, 2001-Present
"For me, this point in our restoration signals the future of Kananaskis Country Golf Course, and I look forward to seeing the many rounds of golf that will be played right here".Read More 2017
Alberta Media reports on the courses construction updates2017
Gary Browning, Golf Architect, Reflects on the Restoration Progress
"I feel so incredibly honoured to have been entrusted with re-creating Trent Jones Senior’s work. It’s just like golf. I love the challenge of golf, and I love the challenge of design. I’m confident that we’ve put something back as good, or perhaps even better – because now we’ve had thirty years of experience to assess where even Jones himself may have done things differently".Read More 2017
Golfers Look Forward to the Return of Golf in Kananaskis2018
"Back in 2006, a small group of four of us left the eastern shore of Nova Scotia and started driving across the country to a new (temporary) adventure in the picturesque and breathtaking Kananaskis valley".Read More 2018
"At around age 12, I started playing golf. But before that time, we used to camp out as a family in Kananaskis, and we would always bike up to the golf course from the campsite. We would arrive at the putting green on the top deck, just by the Clubhouse, and we would look out over the valley where you can see the 8th and 9th holes".Read More 2018
"I first golfed at Kananaskis the second season it was open, and I ran a tournament out there for twenty-nine consecutive years, and we had our thirtieth-year anniversary all planned for 2013. We’d organized caps and jackets with 30th anniversary logos stitched on to celebrate, but of course the flood stopped that – but we’re returning in 2018 to Kananaskis Country Golf Course to celebrate then instead. It’ll be quite the year!"Read More 2018
Cara Anderson, Golfer, will play a round in honour of her father
"My Dad and I were supposed to play here for his 70th birthday. We got waylaid by the flood that year  and then he passed away. When you reopen, I'm coming to play a round in his honour. Can't wait".2018