Golfing at Fairmont - Image credited to: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography
Jun 23, 2016 by Michael Cochrane
As the sun crests over the Canadian Rockies on the eastern horizon and you finish the last few drops of local percolated bliss it would be hard to do anything but shift an ambitious gaze towards the sweeping fairways, manicured greens and jaw dropping tee boxes offered by your gracious Albertan hosts. When Mark Twain penned the phrase “Golf is a good walk spoiled” he obviously never took the time to have a stroll among nature’s finest and most challenging backdrop.
Truth be told, the sport which is made to look easy by numerous pros will quickly buckle the strongest of intentions and heal even the most determined spirit. That said, while some may find this silly game endlessly infuriating, those that allow themselves to lose their soul among Banff’s cedars, pines, gullies, crests, and humbling horizon will find it once more in their swing as they send their truest shots blasting down the fairway. And god forbid, for those that don’t, there is always the 19th hole! So without further ado, let’s tee off into a look at some of the jaw dropping fairways that will make your Banff holiday one like no other. Regardless of which Banff Avenue property you choose to stay at, all of our Superhost employees will see that you are well rested and well fed before setting off to test that swing.
Stewart Creek Sunset - Image credited to: Stewart Creek Golf Resort
At over 5,500 yards from the whites and stretching to nearly 7,200 should you feel up to testing their championship tee boxes, you certainly won’t be left without a challenge when taking on these fairways. Described as a course with 18 signature holes you will most definitely be awestruck while revelling in that stellar tee shot you keep bragging about all day. Should you manage to walk away at an even 72 par, you will have won acclaim from the local pros, and all others that came before you. Silvertip was meticulously designed by the Les Furber group which has been setting the standard of course design since 1980 and continues to draw in golf hounds from around the world with their challenging layouts. Located in Canmore Alberta, just a short drive from Banff and well worth the journey, you will find this inclusive gem. Not up for a full round and just looking to work on your short game? Then consider taking in the Silvertip short course which boasts 14 stunning Par 3’s all at or under 150 yards. These shots will have you working on precision rather than that a range busting John Daly swing all while absorbing the sweeping views and breath-taking scenery. The Silvertip Resort looks to cater toward all desires providing exquisite facilities ready to host banquets, weddings, corporate meetings, and every other kind of function. Whether you are looking to sneak off for a quick 18, or to make a weekend of golf in your plans, Silvertip is close at hand to each of the Banff Avenue Resort facilities. For a full list of their seasonal, weekly and daily rates, be sure to visit the official Silvertip website. All green fees incorporate a GPS equipped ride along carts, with all necessary amenities including bottled water, and of course complementary access to the course’s driving range.
Golfing at Silver Tip - Image credited to: Silver Tip Golf Course
Snuggled against Banff’s glacial Bow River and commanding some of the most astounding panoramas any golfer could hope for, the Banff Springs Golf Resort will titillate duffers and pros alike and have you scrounging for another tee time before your holiday is through. The Fairmont actually boasts 27 championship holes spread over two courses: The original 18-hole, par 71 Stanley Thompson course which has been challenging guests with its supernatural layout since 1928, and the newer addition of the 9-hole, par 36 Tunnel Mountain course which was added to the grounds in 1989. While Banff and its surroundings gives discerning golf aficionados plenty of strong options to choose from, there is a touch of magic captured by the Banff Springs course that you just don’t find with other fairways in the area. In addition to the towering presence of Mount Rundle, and Sulphur Mountain which dominate the landscape, there is the added majesty of the Fairmont’s Iconic Chateau, rising from the forest adding a touch of whimsy to your approach shots. Further lending a touch of something special, the management of the Stanley Thompson course have put together a one of a kind heritage golf experience which allows golfers the opportunity to experience Mr Thompson’s 18-holes as he himself would have done when the course first opened in the late 20’s. By reserving this package, players are supplied with a vintage style, wooden shafted set of clubs complete with historical replica re-pressed golf balls. If you ever wanted to test the real skill behind your swing and see how you might fair without the latest and most technologically advanced equipment, the Fairmont Golf Resort has crafted a one of a kind chance to realise that dream. A list of green fees and accommodating rates can be found here. All prices include a power cart for 2 and complementary access to the practice range.
Golfing Next to The Fairmont Hotel - Image credited to: Fairmont Banff Golf Resort
For those visiting Banff looking for a tour of some of the golf highlights in the surrounding region and that don’t mind a bit of a drive (unavoidable pun), consider making your way two hours down the road to the small town of Panorama, British Columbia which touts the spectacular Greywolf Golf Course. Listed by Golf Digest as one of the top 100 courses in the world outside the US, you will be glad that you took the time to reach this secluded gem. Greywolf is marked by mostly “open” style fairways offering generous room for strong tee shots. The layout of the course is such that it allows for maximized potential to soak in Panorama’s sweeping scenery and seemingly endless collection of green hues. Course architect Doug Carrick was able to create real harmony between his cleverly designed fairways and subtle undulations, challenging patches of high grass, water hazards and assorted fairway bunkers. Just after the halfway marker of the front 9, you will come to Greywolf’s signature and frankly iconic “Cliffhanger” par 3. If you were going to choose anywhere on the course to capture a candid group photo and forever immortalize your smile, this would be the hole. Though, it might be advised to take advantage of a photo op before everyone tees off as there may not be too many smiles when taking on this short but unforgiving hole. Green fees at the course vary depending on day of the week and time of day, however all fees include GPS equipped power carts and complementary range balls to help loosening up your swing before setting out. After your ultimately satisfying day and a relaxing drive back, take a load off and enjoy a well-deserved dinner of champions just off the Rundlestone lobby at our famed Bumpers Beef House and relive all the day’s magic once more.
Beautiful Golf Resort at Grey Wolf - - Image credited to: Grey Wolf Golf Resort
Returning to the banks of our familiar Bow River, we are making our way 30 minutes down the road from Banff to Canmore Alberta, home to one of Canada’s top rated golf courses. Stewart Creek has been scoring high praise and raking in accolades for well over a decade from some of the top names in the business such as: Golf Digest, SCOREGolf, Golf Week Magazine, and the Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America. Stretching more than 6,600 yards from their blue tees, this inspired par 71 creation has been flooring guests with its sheer beauty and masterful integration of the surrounding environment. When setting out for your round you are sure to notice some odd features scattered among the terrain that you aren’t likely to see on any other course. When renowned golf architect Gary Browning set out his vision on the perfect mountain course, he chose to maintain some of the history of the area by preserving many of the former mine entrances that a number of the fairways rest atop. The entrances, now sealed of course, speak of Canmore’s past as an important former mining community. As Stewart Creek is located near the base of the Bow River Valley, be mindful of your lie when playing and take special care in terms of shot placement as everything runs downhill towards the valley floor. The fairways have also gotten a reputation for being somewhat deceptive in terms of distance, and you might do well to select a little more club especially on the uphill shots and the par 5’s. Nearly every hole on the course warrants a phot op, so make sure your camera is charged and ready to go. From the dramatic elevated teebox at hole 1 right through to the sweeping valley view looking down the fairway of the 18th, the course will definitely make you glade you decided a golf holiday in our back yard. Green fees include your cart and access to practice facilities. Be sure to call ahead when booking as this semi private club does have certain restrictions on tee off times.
Stewart Creek Greenway - - Image credited to: Stewart Creek Golf Resort
For our final pick in the top five countdown of unbelievable golf experiences in and around Banff, we are touring an hour and forty five minutes south to the small town of Invermere British Columbia. An excursion to Copper point will reward all players with a picturesque drive from Banff into BC’s Kootenay region, perhaps with a stop by Windermere Lake after your round to cool off with a dip in its pristine waters. Copper Point Golf Club is actually made up of two courses. The Ridge aims to attract a wider field of skill levels to its slightly shorter fairways. Expertly maintained by loving groundskeepers, players do not need to worry so much about the long ball, while it still serves up more than enough challenges to keep your short game busy. The Point Course on the other hand is a full length, 6,500 (from the blues) yard powerhouse which will likely command your respect as much for its beauty as for its challenging layout. Skilfully capitalizing on deceptive gradients and exploiting dastardly pockets of tall grass and sand traps to make this one of the more skill testing challenges on your visit. Should you be one concerned about your handicap, you would do well to break in your game at the practice facilities before taking on this challenge. For those willing to suspend disbelief, and to go through with this mental marathon, they shall reap the rewards of unparalleled scenery, perfectly groomed fairways and razor sharp greens. While it may seem a little off the beaten path for many, you and your party would be doing itself a disservice if you were to skip out on this diamond in the rough.
Stunning Copper Point Course - Image credited to: Copper Point Golf Resort
Enjoying Life on the Course - Image credited to: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography
Whatever Mr. Twain might have thought about the good game of golf suggests that he never had the opportunity to experience it at its finest. The Canadian Rockies offer an atmosphere for the sport that is completely unsurpassed. Regardless of your taste in fairways and greens or your expectations on “that perfect lie”, it would be impossible to be disappointed with the hospitality offered by these superhosts. Whether you manage to achieve that illusive eagle, or you sail well over par, with surroundings such as these your handicap won’t mean two shakes as you marvel at the spectacular views, which crest beyond one of many majestic tee-boxes. We at the Banff Avenue Resorts want to help ensure that your dream holiday is met and we will go out of our way to help you with everything from arranging tee-times, to transportation, to assisting you in your quest to recharge the body and soul to get back out there again. While we are confident about how much you will love it inside our resorts, we also know what you really came for; to get outside and play among the trees.
Breath Taking Course in Banff Valley - Image credited to: stewart Creek Golf Resort