Saskatchewan is a golfer’s paradise, with one of the highest “golfer per capita” rates in the world. Ok, sure, it’s generally pretty flat. And pretty windy. And our summers are frustratingly short. But that doesn’t stop Saskatchewan golfers from getting out every chance they get, making Saskatchewan golf an extremely popular and social activity.
And thanks to all that demand, Saskatchewan is filled with terrific golf courses of all levels, difficulties and terrains. From the scenic, tree-lined courses of the northern forests to the dramatic slopes on Lake Diefenbaker to the idyllic midlands courses of the central lake district, there are nearly endless choices for the avid Saskatchewan golfer. Not to mention, compared with the excessive prices being charged on city and mountain courses these days, the cost of most of these rural tracks are going to seem almost too cheap to pass up.
This isn’t meant to be a “best of” list, mainly since there are so many Sask golf courses I still haven’t tried. No, the goal is to share some ideas for short Saskatchewan golf road trips that allow you to conveniently combine rounds at several of the nicest courses in the province in one easy weekend road trip. Of course, they work even better during the week, when it will be much easier to get tee times and most of the rural courses usually have plenty of space.
I’ve included 4 courses in each circuit, with the idea that you can drive and play 18 on day one, hit the links for 36 on day two, then play a final 18 on the morning of day three before heading home. Obviously, many of these Sask golf circuits can be combined, added to or you can just mix and match courses as you go. But these are all Saskatchewan golf road trips that I have personally done some version of over the years (and would happily do again).
Can’t wait to do even more research next summer!
Although I live in Saskatoon and play much of my golf there (split fairly evenly with Waskesiu/Elk Ridge), I haven’t included any Saskatoon courses here because I have already put together a detailed (and extremely subjective) ranking and guide to golfing in Saskatoon:
Now, on to the list of top Saskatchewan golf trips:
Saskatchewan Golf Courses Map
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1. The Northern Lake Circuit
My favourite Saskatchewan golf trip – this long weekend or casual mid-week escape hits two of the undisputed best golf courses in Saskatchewan (both Waskesiu and Elk Ridge have been ranked in the Top 100 in Canada) and two short but beautiful forest courses in Emma Lake and Candle Lake. All four courses are carved out of the northern Saskatchewan forest – which means both fantastic scenery and serious problems if you don’t hit it straight.
Waskesiu Golf Course is my favourite golf course. Period. Of course, I may be a little biased since we have a family cabin at Waskesiu Lake and I grew up playing there. But don’t be fooled by my obvious lack of objectivity – it is a very scenic and very tricky golf course.
Also known as The Lobstick in honour of the Lobstick tree in the middle of the first fairway, the course is relatively short and the fairways are actually wider than they seem while staring out at all those trees from the tee box. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a flat lie anywhere on the course and knowing what to hit, where to hit it and when is practically an art form on this old, extremely unique course.
Also, if you’re thinking about a visit to Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National Park, one of just two national parks in Saskatchewan, you should check out our detailed guide:
Right next door to Waskesiu at McPhee Lake (and just outside the national park), you’ll find Elk Ridge Resort, another world-class facility. Longer and technically more difficult than Waskesiu, Elk Ridge has 27 holes to choose from and has hosted professional events. Among the many golfers I know, it is roughly a 50/50 split when deciding which of these two northern gems is best.
Just half an hour south in Christopher Lake is Emma Lake Golf Course (I know, it’s confusing), boasting a similar style and setup to Waskesiu in a smaller, simpler package. It is a very popular family golf course and the best way to get there from Waskesiu is on the intensely scenic old Highway 263 (although you can also follow the main Highway 2 if you’re looking for fewer curves and more functional shoulders).
Finally, less than an hour away you’ll find Candle Lake Golf Resort, another gorgeous, tree-lined course where you definitely get that away-from-it-all vibe. Candle Lake has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years and is quickly getting a reputation as THE place for Saskatchewan golf stay and plays.
2. The Prince Albert Farmland Route
This one offers a nice mix of prairie courses and tree-lined northern Saskatchewan golf.
Starting from Saskatoon, your first stop is at Valley Regional Park in Rosthern, a fun Jekyll and Hyde course with half the holes located in relatively flat and open fields and the other half narrow and bushy, tucked along a small lake.
Next up is Prince Albert, the “Gateway to the North”, where everyone should try Cooke Municipal Golf Course at least once. In fact, I’d recommend playing it many, many times if you get the chance. It is a typical old municipal course in that it doesn’t fit any of the modern stereotypes, just letting its wide variety of holes go whereever they’ll fit, creating a lot of very unique shapes, terrains and strategies. It’s the kind of course you can play dozens of times and never quite feel like you’ve got it figured out (trust me, I’ve tried).
Melfort Golf & Country Club is true prairie golf, with relatively flat, straight holes leading to infuriatingly small, humpbacked greens that are murder on your GIR percentages. Add in the ever-present wind and this course usually plays a lot tougher than it looks.
Evergreen Golf Course in Nipawin, meanwhile, has always been both beautiful and criminally underrated outside of avid golfers in the northern half of the province. With some bafflingly sharp doglegs and a few very difficult greens, it is more than just a pretty walk in the woods.
If you have time, squeeze in an extra 9 at Birch Hills Golf Course, a surprisingly tricky little 9-hole course between P.A. and Melfort.
3. Golf in the Heartlands
Straight north of Saskatoon, there is a huge collection of pretty little lakes scattered among the farmland, bushes and occasional hills. Thanks to their close proximity to the city and affordable golf courses, this is a very popular short Saskatchewan golf getaway.
Rather confusingly located at Shell Lake, Memorial Lake Regional Park Golf Course is a complex little course with plenty of risk/reward shots to go with the excellent scenery.
Spiritwood Golf Club, on the other hand, probably runs neck and neck with Nipawin for the most underrated Saskatchewan golf course, based on my own experience and the opinions of just about everyone I’ve ever golfed with. Which, theoretically, means neither one is really underrated at all. Semantics.
Anyway, there’s no arguing that Spiritwood is a challenging – occasionally mystifying – course with lots of blind shots, weird distances and inexplicable tee box locations. You’ll love it.
Heading a bit southwest from Spiritwood you can stop off at pleasant little Jackfish Lake, probably the most popular summer resort in this part of the province. The main town is Cochin and Jackfish Lodge Golf Course is relatively basic but runs right along the lake, providing great scenery. Meanwhile, the water and constant winds definitely up the difficulty rating.
The word that always comes to mind first when someone asks me to describe North Battleford Golf & Country Club is “classic”. Just a traditional riverside layout with some extreme slopes, big views and a good mix of forgiving holes and, well, some that are not forgiving in the least.
4. Lake Diefenbaker Highlights
After all the thick forests and marshy greenery up north, heading south from Saskatoon gives you the chance to experience a very different type of course. Several different types, in fact, as each of these unpretentious gems offers something a little unique.
There are two ways to start this southern circuit. You can ease into things with a couple rounds on the 9-hole Valleyview Golf & Country Club in Delisle, a typical prairie course with a few interesting twists (I won’t ruin the surprise). Ok, I’m exaggerating, there isn’t any big, weird twist. But it can be hard to figure out where to aim when you’re playing it for the first time (which, of course, only matters if the ball goes where you aim it so, you know, I find that mostly irrelevant).
Or, if you aren’t from the area and haven’t yet played the exceptional Dakota Dunes Golf Links on Whitecap Dakota First Nation land, well, don’t hesitate. My pick for best course in Saskatoon, Dakota Dunes is a classic, well, “dunes” layout that forces you to deal with naturally sloping fairways, hard and fast greens, impossible sage brush and almost always extreme winds. While that may sound daunting, hey, if golf was easy we’d actually get bored with it eventually.
While it is just a 9-hole course, the Outlook Riverview Golf Club is built right along the South Saskatchewan River with amazing views of the water and Outlook’s iconic bridge. Playing back-to-back 9’s gives you a rare chance to correct your mistakes the second time around and this course provides a great warmup before the more intense challenges to come.
A lovely course laid out along Diefenbaker Lake with tremendous views, a few extreme holes and lots of sand, Harbor Golf Club and Resort in Elbow is often mentioned when Saskatonians are asked to name their favourite Saskatchewan golf course.
Much like Waskesiu and Elk Ridge, even locals have a hard time choosing between Elbow and Sage View Golf Course in Riverhurst, two treasures found along the major (and generally windy) waterways of southern Saskatchewan. For me, it’s Sage View by a nose, even though it is only 9 holes. While both courses have some truly memorable holes, almost every one in Riverhurst is extreme in one way or another (difficulty, terrain, views).
And while Sage View is plenty difficult even the second time around, if you switch to a different set of tees you’ll find it suddenly playing like a completely different course. Especially if the wind shifts as well, something that tends to happen with annoying regularity.
The Almost Regina Route
Coming next year, if all goes well! We made it to the relatively new Flowing Springs Golf Greens this year but ran out of time and didn’t make it to the other highly rated courses in the vicinity – Deer Valley Golf Club and Regina Beach Golf Club. Which leaves us with about 10 months to come up with a fourth choice. Ah, decisions, decisions.
Saskatchewan Stay and Play Options
I wouldn’t say Saskatchewan golf stay and play options are particularly great, although there are a few options worth considering. While many, such as Northern Meadows in Meadow Lake, basically just add up the green fees and room and give it to you in one convenient number (not really any cheaper, but simple, at least), there are two deals that stood out in 2022.
It is only offered from Sunday to Thursday, but with the Candle Lake Golf Getaway package, for $199/pp you get 2 nights accommodation and unlimited golf. They even throw in 24 beer, a mini-bar and a swag bag. You’ll feel like a celebrity. A drunk celebrity.
Meanwhile, Sage View in Riverhurst has teamed up with the friendly and scenic Mainstay Inn to offer very affordable stay and play packages. I can’t remember the exact price but we played a lot of golf, got two cabins for 4 people, and a bunch of meals, including the exact greasy bacon and egg breakfast we needed after long days of drinking, swinging and swearing. I do recall it being a very good deal, though.
Saskatchewan Golf Road Trip Summary
There are close to a hundred golf courses in Saskatchewan, a province of just over a million people. Yet somehow they all seem busy, all the time. What can I say, Saskatchewanians love their golf.
This embarrassment of riches means the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to planning a Saskatchewan golf road trip, as no matter where you happen to be swinging it at the moment there is always another fascinating course lurking an hour down the road. But the 4 routes outlined here offer a handy starting point, easily customized or combined as the mood strikes.
I am planning to expand my Saskatchewan golfing horizons as much as possible next summer but, in the meantime, I’d love to hear your suggestions for other Sask golf road trips. And remember, there are no bad ideas, just bad golfers.
Other useful articles you may want to check out: