Last Oak Golf & Country Club: Golf, Dine, Meet . . . Repeat
Last Oak Golf & Country Club, located on Cowessess First Nation, is a remarkable comeback story. The 18-hole golf course was completed in 1978 and, three years later, ranked the No. 1 course in Saskatchewan. Season after season, it was a thriving golf destination and hosted numerous tournaments and provincial championships.
Devastation hit in 2011. Excessive spring runoff through Elcapo Creek into the Qu’Appelle Valley, combined with above-average rainfall caused severe flooding. With the entire course under water, operations ground to a halt. The community rallied to rebuild but efforts stalled when spring flooding reoccurred two years later. Fairways and greens were submerged in silt as deep as 1.2 m (4 ft.).
Through the power of volunteers – Cowessess residents, local golf enthusiasts and community members – restoration of the front nine holes was complete in time for the 2016 golf season. Work continues with a goal of bringing the course back to its full splendour.
“The pride is there, the goal to have the best course in the area is there,” Chief Cadmus Delorme said. “Last Oak Golf & Country Club will rise again as one of the province’s greatest 18-hole championship golf courses.”
Chief Delorme credits his involvement in golf as a youth to his leadership today. “With four First Nations within close proximity of the course, there were Nation golf groups that competed. I spent days upon days golfing and became a regular. Each group taught me humour, respect and the value of competition.”
When quizzed about a favourite golf memory, he shared hitting a hole-in-one on Hole 5. “It was early in the morning and I was golfing alone. As soon as the ball went into the hole, I lifted my arms in the air as if there was a crowd that went wild. Then I had to find a course employee because I needed to tell someone. It took me about 10 minutes to find Howie Delorme. When I did, he drove me back to my bag at the tee box.”
The Chief’s favourite hole? “Hole 6 – a 460-yard par four and a constant dog leg left,” he said. “It is a handicap one on the scorecard and, for me, requires a driver and five iron on a good day. The green is a constant slope left to right.”
This season, there is a not-so-new face in a new role at Last Oak Golf & Country Club. Jaimie Delorme was a seasonal employee throughout his high school and university years. He returned to the community in 2013 to manage the club’s finances and accounting, and took on the responsibilities of General Manager in March 2019.
Delorme obviously knows a thing or two about golf, but he also has the right blend of enthusiasm for the position and appreciation of nature and the surrounding environment.
“There is nothing like the pleasure of coming to the golf course when the sun is still rising and hearing all of the birds chirping,” he said. “It’s just as beautiful first thing in the morning as it is when the sun is setting. Once in a while, a lucky golfer will see some wildlife like deer or other woodland neighbours. We tried not to disturb the natural beauty surrounding of the course so that golfers get a completely immersive natural experience.”
As for the season ahead, Delorme looks forward to welcoming and talking to golfers and visitors. “It’s always great getting to know our golfers, hearing about how well their game went or how challenging it was, and getting the play-by-play on what they would do better next time,” he said.
He offered these words of advice to someone unfamiliar with the course who may be planning their first trip: “Bring lots of golf balls – it can be a challenging course. But regardless of your skill level, there is lots to enjoy at Last Oak Golf & Country Club.”
Players of all skill levels are welcome. For seasoned golfers seeking a challenge, the par 36 course will definitely meet expectations. Lush tree-lined fairways, set amongst rolling hills, demand controlled drives and approach shots. Hidden greens and frequent water hazards test skill and patience. Sloped putting greens test players to hit their line with precision.
Families or novice golfers appreciate the encouraging, laid-back atmosphere. The relaxed pace and minimal wait times are popular features.
Last Oak Golf & Country Club offers a casual and scenic golf experience. Upon arrival, guests are struck by the beauty of the Qu’Appelle Valley landscape. The Elcapo Creek winds through the course and steep valley slopes line part of the perimeter. Wildlife sightings are common, and it is not unusual to spot deer, foxes, coyotes, bears and a variety of bird species. In the spring, rare suckerlings (small fish) can be found in Elcapo Creek.
Golfing works up an appetite. The club’s full-service, licensed restaurant, open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., has menu options ranging from the hearty 18-hole Breakfast to light appetizers and healthy salads. The Bannock Burger is a signature dish. Add a side of poutine or the daily dessert special and you’ll have more than enough “fuel” for another nine holes after lunch.
Last Oak Golf & Country Club is a welcoming hub for golfers, locals and visitors from far and near. The comfortable 40-seat lounge is a place to relax after a game or enjoy a cold beverage while watching your favourite sporting event on the big screen.
The 100-seat Clubhouse can be booked for special occasions – family reunions, weddings, parties, steak nights and other events. The scenic Qu’Appelle Valley is the perfect backdrop for celebrations. Nearby accommodations and amenities include lodging in Melville, Broadview and other communities, as well as campground options in Crooked Lake Provincial Park.
Did You Know?
Last Oak Golf & Country Club attributes its name to local legend. The Elcapo Creek Ravine is believed to be the last location in the Qu’Appelle Valley where native oak trees grew.
Check out this video and learn more about the course.