Lakes and Links

When it comes to spending weekends in the great outdoors, Canadians often head to one of two places – the lake or the golf course. With warm summer days often in short supply, both locales can be in high demand.

But what if that locale wasn’t so far away? What if they were in your own backyard?

Whether it’s within the confines of Calgary or one of the province’s other picturesque communities, purchasing a home on or around a lake or golf course offers one very special amenity. For those backing onto either of the two, there’s quite a view.

“The views are wonderful, always green of course because they groom the golf course to perfection,” said Barb Boydell, a resident of the hamlet of Speargrass in Wheatland County,who makes the quick 30-minute drive to work in Calgary everyday. “(There are) no houses directly behind us, (it’s) fun to watch the golfers.”

With more than 65 golf courses located in and around Calgary, the possibilities to enjoy those same views – not to mention to ability to pick up the clubs and play a round at a moment’s notice – from your porch or deck are virtually endless.

A recent report from RE/MAX came as a financial confirmation of sorts to those, like Boydell, who enjoy the benefits of living near such amenities. Released in June, the RE/MAX Recreational Property Report singled out young buyers in Alberta as one of the key contributors to sales, with locals markets like Sylvan Lake “steadily improving.”

“While buyers are still cautious, they’re motivated,” says Elton Ash, regional executive vice president, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “Current market conditions have placed them firmly in the driver’s seat. While the more favourable climate has factored in, activity has also been fuelled by pent-up demand that’s been building since 2008, when many began waiting it out on the sidelines. Opportunity does exist. Canadians love a good deal, and there’s no question that there are still some to be had in recreational property markets across the country.”

In a similar report released by Royal LePage, Alberta’s Glennifer Lake – located less than two hours from Calgary – was highlighted as one of the newest destinations in the province for lakeside buyers. Pine Lake, situated just 90 minutes north of Calgary and known for its swimming, water skiing, boating and fi shing was also mentioned in the report as a popular vacation destination for several generations.

As evidenced by the number of places in and around Calgary where homeowners can enjoy those same activities just minutes away, it’s an option open to anyone who wants to spend their vacation minutes, sometimes seconds, from their own backyard.

Lake Chestermere
Sitting just outside of Calgary to the east, “Alberta’s Oasis” boasts one of the biggest lakes in the Calgary area. At a length of 4.8 km, Chestermere Lake offers local residents the ability to wakeboard, waterski, fish, paddle or enjoy a lakeside BBQ all within a short drive of their homes. For those yearning to try out their sea legs, the Calgary Yacht Club provides sailing lessons and a place to keep and launch your boat once you get the hang of things. Not a sailor? No problem. The SurfSUP offers paddleboarding lessons and rentals for the nautically challenged.

Lake Bonavista
Once nothing more than flat, treeless prairie with no distinctive natural features, Lake Bonavista was reportedly the very first community in Canada to be built around a manmade lake. Developed in 1967, the community is now home to 10,475 people. Accessible via the community’s impressive 65,000 square foot recreation complex and houses built around the lake itself, the 14-hectare lake even has its very own lakeside eatery – the Newport Grill.

Valley Ridge Gold Club
Situated in a secluded, undisturbed valley in the nature-friendly northwest community just 15 minutes from downtown Calgary, Valley Ridge Golf Club boasts some of the most picturesque surroundings of any course in the city. The 7,026-yard, 18-hole championship layout with four tee boxes per hole includes the River Nine and the Ridge Nine. Being a Semi-Private & Public Club, residents can take their swings while still allowing for public course accessibility and affordability.

Silver Spring Golf and Country Club
Bordering, amongst others, the community of Varsity Acres, Silver Springs Golf and Country Club offers local duffers a true test of their abilities right in their own backyard in the form of a championship par-72 golf course. Originally designed by Colorado course architect Dick Phelps, the course winds itself through the coulees and plateaus of northwest Calgary and presents the player with a wide diversity of terrain and elevation changes. With four sets of tees ranging in yardage from 5,500 to 7,000 yards, golfers of all skill levels will find the course a challenge.

Do you live in a lake and/or link community? What are some of the perks you enjoy about it?

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