The days have long passed since “Shorty” Warwick used to set fire to the cactus ridden prairie to encourage enough new “turf” to place a ball on. Originally there was only a small shack for the golfers to enjoy a few refreshments, and a roughly outlined golf course that featured 4 par 3’s and 5 par 4’s. The 2nd hole was a monstrous par 3 of over 220 yds, and required a wood from the tee to send the ball into the teeth of the predominant wind. The original clubhouse was built in the late 40’s, and with its hinged up plywood windows, the screens would allow the breezes of summer to cool golfers down as they enjoyed the nineteenth hole.
Throughout the years, keen members gathered their golf design wits to continually improve the course. In 1959, the south portion of the clubhouse was built to supply lockers and more room in the clubhouse. In the late 1960’s, holes 4 (currently hole #3) and 5 (currently hole #7 played backwards) were transformed into dogleg par 5’s. With this change, the tee off box on #6 was pushed south into the “box of carriganas” to create a very blind tee shot. The clubhouse was often victim to misguided tee shots on this little par 3 (the practice green occupies the site of the old #6 green). Up until this point, the greens were square or circular pits filled with oiled sand, and required the ritual of marking the ball with a line in the sand, dressing the green with the steel handled dresser, pulling the secondary cup filled with sand so as to not disturb the surround sand, placing the ball back, addressing the putt with a backhanded sweep of sand behind the ball, and then making the stroke. A clear remnant of one of these greens is right and front of the 100yd marker on hole number 3. In the fairway you will notice what looks like a lunar formation, but it is actually the original green for hole #4.
By the early 1970’s, the local golfers made plans to launch the Hanna Golf and Country Club into the world of grass greens. Along with these plans, full irrigation of the course was set in motion. With tons of peat moss, sand, and gravel, and hours of volunteer labor, the greens were built, and planted, and at last Hanna had grass greens. Even though some were shaped like grave plots, some had different types of grass on them, most were far too small, the locals enjoyed the improvement. Bill Matheson and a staff of one handled the grounds work, keeping the course in lovely shape. I will long remember the taste of the turkey buns with cranberries the ladies made on the Labor Day weekend in this era. Many Sunday mornings were spent at the club at this time as members would be assigned the grill to cook breakfast for a fund raiser.
In the early eighties a group of members, along with two young whipper snappers, who had dislocated themselves from Robert Trent Jones after finishing up the amazing Kananaskis Golf Course had a dream. Les Furber, and former Hanna Jr. High School Teacher, Jim Eremko, had formed their own company Golf Design Services, out of Canmore, and created an exquisite plan to completely redesign the Hanna Golf and Country Club. This project was carried forward and created current holes 1,2,3,8,9,7,16,17,18. These holes were played in this order on the “original nine”, and created a very challenging course that hosted many golfers. The memorable aspect of this course was the formidable amen corner. With a Northwest wind, holes 5 and 6 (current holes 9 and 7) tested the vigor of many a golfer and turning this corner even was an accomplishment indeed.
As the nineties rolled around, the continuous transformation of the HGGC continued as well. The older portion of the clubhouse had run out of time, so a team planned and built what is today’s clubhouse. As with all of the improvements that have been made, this project required countless hours of donated time, energy, and money from the members, the Town of Hanna, the Provincial Government and the local businesses. The value of these projects is not only satisfying a goal, but also creates a tremendous amount of camaraderie and community. This is what has set this club apart for so many years and has been essential for its success.
The mid ’90’s saw another project greatly improve our course. The automated, high output irrigation system was installed. Members of the HGGC are not content to sit still, and in 2003, the most ambitious project ever was planned and set in motion. The Hanna Golf and Country Club was “going 18”. GDS was again commissioned to design the course, and after two years of planning and construction by an incredibly motivated team, September 17, 2006 saw the first 18 hole round played in Hanna at the annual Club Championship. It was zero Celsius, cold to the bone but close to 100 golfers braved the elements to say they were the first on the course. It is a very exciting time at the Hanna Golf and Country Club, and many other improvements are in the works. A camping area with electrical hookups has been added recently. We hope you take the time to visit us and play a round or two!