The sun was shining on Redstone Resort Golf Course Friday, a perfect day for a ceremony celebrating its grand opening.
While golfers have enjoyed a version of the remarkable alpine course since 1922, Redstone marked its official grand opening of its 18-hole course Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and unveiling of a plaque to recognize its founders and 90-year evolution.
With special guests, such as world-renowned course designer Les Furber on hand for the ceremony, the ribbon was cut by senior member 91-year-old Roger McKeown and the marble plaque placed in the ground at the same spot as the original first tee.
Furber, a Saskatchewan native, joined Redstone developer Robert Felsch, Teck representative Roger Belland, course manager Cary Fisher, representatives from Trail and Rossland council, and senior club members McKeown and Bill Vickers for the ceremony.
While the 18-hole version has been open for play for a few years now, the Redstone executive wanted to wait until the course had matured and was playing its best before having a ceremony.
Originally the course was just five-holes carved out of the terrain near the “water hole” on the Rossland hill across from the old Milk Creek Dairy, and the golf club formed as the Rossland-Trail Country Club.
Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company rented the land to the golf course for $1 per year at the time, and Cominco (now Teck) eventually sold the land to the Redstone developer in 2006.
The Australian born Felsch then teamed up with Furber’s Golf Design Services out of Canmore, Alta. to transform the nine-hole course into the 18-hole dreamscape it is today.
“We headed out and had a look at his courses that were in driving distance,” said Fisher. “He’s fairly prolific in B.C. and Alberta for designing courses and we just liked his attitude about listening to some of the suggestions we had. The biggest things here are the greens, number one, are fantastic and the views. You can take a postcard picture from any hole and it’s beautiful.”
Furber has been involved in the golf construction and design business throughout Europe and North America for more than 50 years, including some of the best courses in B.C. -most notably Predator Ridge and Gallagher’s Canyon near Kelowna.
His favourite and more challenging projects have been working in difficult mountain terrain.
“I’m always extremely excited to work in an alpine setting, to create golf that’s really taking nature and softening it so that we can play golf in it,” said Furber. “All we really did was carve the existing trees out of the topography and we ended up with beautiful golf holes.”
The name change to Redstone is a combination of the historic Red Mountain development and the course’s early golf pro and organizer Reg Stone.
Esteemed members McKeown and Vickers are representative of arguably the most vital element of any golf course – its members – and were an important part in the development and organization of the course over the years.
“The course really is its members and what those members do for us is so important,” said Felsch, who also recognized former land owner Teck for its support for the golf course and the communities.
Redstone adds a unique golfing destination to the West Kootenay, complimenting other local courses such as Birchbank, Champion Lakes and Castlegar and offering another attraction that can only benefit Rossland and the Greater Trail area as a whole.
“The official opening like this just make us realize what we have here, and how we should be very appreciative of those who made it work,” said Rossland Mayor Greg Granstrom.
“Mr. Furber built a golf course in the valley here that is second to none. The old nine was very interesting, very challenging – of course we all miss the old rope tow – but what Mr. Furber’s done is remarkable and it’s certainly a world class golf course and a great asset to the community.”