Why the Greens at Clear Lake Golf Course Smell Like French Fries

In the third in a series profiling Canada’s most environmentally friendly courses, Manitoba’s Clear Lake Golf Course demonstrates how the irresistible smell of French fries can benefit the local environment.


Clear Lake Golf Course Manitoba (Image: Clear Lake Golf Course)

Stanley Thompson designed the front nine at Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park. (Image: Clear Lake Golf Course)

As distinct as the forest scents of pine and cedar, there’s often a strong — and environmentally beneficial — whiff of French fries in the air at Manitoba’s Clear Lake Golf Course.

The smell is expelled by the exhausts of six maintenance machines rigged to run on used cooking grease gathered from nearby restaurants. It’s just one of several green initiatives that have turned the 85-year-old layout carved through the boreal forest in Riding Mountain National Park, about 95 kilometres north of Brandon, into one of the most environmentally progressive courses in Canada.

“Working every day in the beauty of a national parkland is both inspiring and a responsibility,” superintendent Greg Holden says. “When we spot a problem, we always try to fix it in an ecologically soft way.”

A need to conserve groundwater led to a switch to compost toilets, which in turn provided a source of natural fertilizer. And the use of cooking oil for maintenance machines was a way of annually recycling as much as 10,000 litres of an otherwise useless waste product.

“The only downside we’ve found to the cooking oil project,” Holden jokes, “is that golfers are reporting a constant craving for fast food.”



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