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19 May 2022

Through the Years

“The first year I was here was in 1995,” said Graeme Douglas, CGSA, manager, golf and hotel facilities. “I had been working on courses in Europe and Les Furber wanted me to come see the project. The Mission building was a shell, but the land was spectacular. It had a very special feeling to it.”

After initial work, Douglas was called to Cuba, where he and his team completed the now-famous Varadero golf course. Shortly afterwards, in 1998, he came back to the St. Eugene and began work in earnest.

“Myself, Les (Furber), and GDS (Golf Design Services) made a commitment and pulled in a lot of expertise. We pushed hard to get the project shaped and seeded.  We soon found that the First Nation’s component would be beneficial.  The Ktunaxa were comfortable in shaping the grounds and the work that needed to be done. 80%  of the original golf course construction crew were First Nations.”

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“I didn’t really relax until the fifth anniversary of the resort, when the partnership (Ktunaxa Nation, Samson Cree Nation and Chippewa’s of Rama First Nation) took over management,” said Pierre. “In the future, I’d like to see the other plans we have for development to be there. Those include a tipi village, a golf academy and convention centre.”

For Isaac Birdstone, who was born and raised in the area surrounding the resort and a man instrumental in the creation of the golf course along with the SEM Development Board, the popularity of the course comes as no surprise.  “There is a circle here and that exists because people are always coming back and that’s important,” explained Birdstone. “They come back because they realize this place is special. It is the gem of the Kootenays.”

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