Dan makes his way to the eighth tee box, the tall grass flanking the pathway.
Golf

Golf and sausage: slices of life in Mundare

Mundare has every reason to be proud of its links, both sausage and golf.

Stawnichy’s Meat Processing, the iconic family-owned business that put this tiny Alberta town of 850 people on the map, has sold more than 20 million smoked sausage rings in the past 57 years.

Whitetail Crossing Golf Club, on the other hand, has been up and running only since 2007, when the first nine holes opened for business. The other nine was launched in 2011, and together they form an estimable links-style challenge for golfers of every stripe.

The Whitetail Crossing Golf Club is all about the wetlands. Ten holes either have water or naturalized wetlands.
The Whitetail Crossing Golf Club is all about the wetlands. Ten holes either have water or naturalized wetlands.

Thankfully, there is a convenient blending of Mundare’s most iconic establishments in the Whitetail Crossing clubhouse. A standup cooler in the corner stocks Stawnichy’s products, and after a delightful four-hour round on one set of links, we happily partook of the other.

You probably already know how good their Ukrainian sausage is. But take my word for it, the beef jerky is absolutely killer. And Therese said the pepperoni/cheese stick combos are the perfect golf day snacks. Had we spotted the cooler before teeing off, there is little doubt we would have been noshing away on the front nine.

That said, we did have our hands already full with Whitetail’s wetlands, tall native grasses, undulating fairways and massive waste bunkers. Navigation demands some canny course management, and driver is not necessarily the first choice on the white or blue tee box on a handful of par-fours.

Whitetail is a Puddicombe Golf design, and it’s a pleasant, player-friendly (if somewhat repetitive)  track.

Whitetail Crossing is part of a planned community on the edge of Mundare. Once you’ve turned north off the Yellowhead Highway, you’ll make a left turn about two kilometres in onto Whitetail Road then another left onto Whitetail Drive. There aren’t any obvious golf course signs, sadly, nor did we see any street name signs but your GPS will get you into the parking lot. Know this: if you can see the big sausage, you have gone way too far.

Whitetail Crossing Golf Club 
42 Whitetail Drive, Mundare
• 85 kilometres from downtown Edmonton, about one hour to drive.
• 18 holes

By the numbers: There are five decks from which to choose, ranging in length from 5,406 yards on the reds to 7,083 at the tips.

$$: Rate including GST for 18 holes is $46.20 Monday through Friday, $60.90 on weekends and holidays.

Course deals: Their twilight rate of $37 plus GST is a good one, since it kicks in after 2 p.m. each day. A sign in the pro shop advertised “Free Cart Thursdays,” which can save a golfer who wants to ride $16 plus GST. There are a number of promotions on their website which can save you a few bucks, especially on the multi-round punch cards. The golf course website also features an “E-Club” that offers online specials and a free round on your birthday. Not really sure how that works for we Pisces kids.

Defining characteristics: The wetlands were the showstopper for us, especially on the back nine where they were big, beautiful and too often in the way of what was otherwise a perfectly good drive.

Walkability: As with most links-style courses, it’s not too taxing. Our FitBit says we walked about nine kilometres, which includes a few longer treks between holes on the back nine. Some tee boxes had benches on which you could take a rest. Shade is scarce  — think about it, this is pretty close to golfing in a field of canola. When the heat is up, wear a hat.

On-course amenities: They don’t go overboard here for the casual golfer. The clubhouse/pro shop is a modest establishment, and there isn’t a full kitchen on the premises. They do hotdogs, beer, pop, chips and the like. The refreshment cart person gets to you at least twice, maybe three times, and the clubhouse attendees are friendly and informative. And, as aforementioned, there is Stawnichy’s on site! For tournaments and league play, they can fire up the outdoor barbecue — or bring in a pig roaster — to satisfy the culinary demands of a big party.

As long as you’ve made the drive: Mundare calls itself a small town with a big heart. It also has a big sausage. The 12.8-metre high kobasa is a testament to good-tasting sausage, if not to good taste. It’s right there in the middle of town. It’s impossible to miss. Huge. And brown.

If you don’t mind driving a little further east, Vegreville and its massive pysanka is just 20 kilometres away on the Yellowhead. Every big sausage needs a big egg. That, my friends, is the circle of life.

How excited was Therese to finally see Vegreville's giant egg? Yeah. This excited.
How excited was Therese to finally see Vegreville’s giant egg? Yeah. This excited.

In this Drive Time series, Road Wordy will spend the summer finding some hidden golf gems easily accessible to Edmontonians as a day or overnight trip. Here are some our previous stories:

•  Barrhead raises the bar for country golf
•  Can’t hit the fairway for the trees at the Sundre Golf Club

Into the black sands at Coal Creek
Dan Barnes: Golf, the original social network

Do you have a suggestion for a golf course we should try? Tell us about it in the comments and maybe we’ll pay it a visit.

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