St. Eugene celebrates 15 years of golf
This year St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino celebrates 15 years of golf.
On May 20, 2000, in partnership with Chief Sophie Pierre and the Ktunaxa Elders, St. Eugene opened its doors to the public with a remarkable 18-hole Championship Par 72 Golf course.
Designed by Les Furber, the course is surrounded by mountain ranges, running waters, bluffs and pine trees. The course, known as one of the most scenic in the region, challenges golfers of all abilities.
Development of the course started in 1995 in conjunction with Les Furber and Graeme Douglas, CGSA, Manager of Golf and Hotel Facilities. While there was some consideration on what should happen to the historic Mission Building by the elders, this venture was the first of its kind in Canada, with over 80% of the staff being First Nations.
The plan was such a success, that within the first year of opening, the course placed third in Golf Digest’s Best New Canadian Golf Course. This led to the cornerstone that helped create the 4.5 star full service resort that St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino has become.
Furber recently visited and sat down with St. Eugene to discuss the course and how far it has come in the last 15 years.
“I have played the course on many occasions over the last 15 years, usually two to three times a year including playing in the Ktunaxa Nation Charity Golf Tournament. Every year, I bring friends from all over the world to this course; these are players of all different levels. The upkeep of the course is clear and the grooming done by Graeme Douglas and his team. A course is only as good as its maintenance. Graeme clearly takes pride in his work and that shows as St. Eugene is one of the best maintained courses I have designed, and of course, that makes me look good.”
Year after year, the course has been named Best Hole and Top Pro Shop GolfWest Magazine; with 2015 bringing the Platinum Award for Best Resort in all of Canada and the Northwest United States.
The resort is a proud member of the National Audubon Society, boasting over 166 species of birds on the course. Alongside this recognition, the course is protected land; home to 22 different types of mammals. St. Eugene is also a proud member of the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, consistently holding a rating of four Green Keys. As one of the larger employers in the East Kootenay, St. Eugene employs approximately 250 people, of which approximately 18% are First Nations.
The beautiful golf course and resort you see today was once the St. Eugene Mission Residential School. Today, through partnerships with the Ktunaxa Nation, Chippewas of Rama First Nation and Samson Cree Nation, the Mission has become an entertainment destination for people across North America.
Lead image: Max Sherwood (Head Golf Professional), Les Furber (Course Designer) and Graeme Douglas (Manager of Golf and Hotel Facilities) (pictured left to right).