My annual guys' golfing vacation in the Canadian Rockies is the event of the summer. We spend the first two days in Canmore and play Silver Tip Golf Resort and Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club. The rest of the trip takes us to Banff National Park where we play all 27 holes at the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course.
Next year we’re extending the trip and bringing our wives. They can play and spa, but the best part? We’re adding on the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club, just up the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park. The two Fairmont courses are voted tops in their class, year after year. A hole in one for us duffers.
The Canadian Rockies are perfect for golfers seeking out new horizons and unique challenges. Before you go, get the inside track on playing Alberta’s mountain courses.
Golfing with Wildlife
Banff and Jasper national parks are part of a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. This means that standards can be more rigorous than other areas – good news for golfers. It also means that wildlife generally has the right of way. Don’t be surprised to see moose, elk and the occasional black bear crossing the fairways. I’m not sure whether yelling “fore!” will help or hinder.
Adjust your Game for Mountain Magic
Altitude, depth perception, temperature and high winds are all variables you’ll need to take into consideration when playing in the mountains. It always takes me at least a few holes to remember that I’m dealing with different grass types, new topography and the occasional high wind that can funnel down through the valleys. And a word to the wise: it may feel like you are on flat ground but there are a lot of optical illusions here. Be prepared to adapt.
Different Strokes and Points of View
Your ball will fly further in the mountains compared to courses at regular altitude. I use an eight iron on the fairway at home, but often choose a nine iron here. You’ll likely have to change up your shot and club, depending on your game. You’ll also need to adjust for depth perception. The mountains make the depth seem different, and even though there are yardage markers, it can appear longer than it actually is. When I see a mountain face, I often feel that I can touch it and that ultimately affects how I play.