Set high in the Rocky Mountains Banff Springs Golf Course could not have a more beautiful backdrop. It is routed to take full advantage of the Bow River, and the mountains beyond. Although the course originally dated from 1911, Stanley Thompson redesigned it in 1927, taking full advantage of the surroundings, improving the routing, and moving mountains (almost) to create the course we see today…
It was The Canadian Pacific Railway Company that first built a course in 1911 to complement it's Banff Springs Hotel- known as 'the Castle in the Rockies'. Later another 9 holes designed by Donald Ross was added, but it was the complete redesign by Thompson that made the world sit up and take notice of what is still regarded as one of the great Mountain designs.
Later Thompson’s original first tee beside the iconic Fairmont hotel became the fifteenth hole when a new clubhouse was added in the 1980’s in the middle of the course, and a nine hole course added.
When playing the course nowadays you will note a succession of very strong holes along the Bow river from hole 8 onward- these were originally the closing holes and the multi bunkered fourteenth hole with views of the hotel was the closer.
Perhaps the most famous hole is ‘The Devil’s Cauldron’- the par 3 fourth hole. The club claims it is rated as one of the 18 best holes in the world. It is an impressive hole with a drop of perhaps 70 feet from tee to green over a pond, with a magnificent mountain backdrop.
However it has to be said that all the par three holes at Banff Springs are all outstanding.
Other favourite holes include:
- the par 3 second hole with it’s elevated green
- the par 3 eighth hole with Bow River on the right and pond to carry. The green runs right to left making back pins harder to approach
- the short par 5 ninth hole with green beside the Bow River. The huge bunker short of the green asks you the question?- lay up, or go for the green…
- the long par 3 tenth hole, often played into the wind, and all carry over a bend in the Bow River. It is a test of nerves, and requires a long accurate approach.
- the long par 4 twelfth hole with a green set right on the river, and which narrows from front to back. The back pin has little green space, but abuts the river on one side and yawning bunkers on the other. It makes a tough approach.
- the long heavily bunkered par 3 thirteenth
- the long par 4 fourteenth hole. It was designed as the closing hole by Thompson and has the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel as a backdrop, and more bunkers than fairway…
- the fifteenth with it’s elevated tee shot over the Spray River to the fairway beyond
Stanley Thompson designed 145 golf courses, and as well as Banff Springs his designs at Highland Links, St Georges, Jasper Park, and Capilano, continue to be regarded among the best in Canada. All are world class.
Banff Springs is a Travelling Golfer ‘must play’
Other Activities in the Area
Any visitor to the Banff area should visit Lake Louise, The Athabasca Glacier, Johnson Canyon, Moraine Lake, and the white water rafting at Kananskis.
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf tour to Canada to suit your group. For information on suggested trips see Great Golf Destinations: Canada:Rocky Mountain Highs, and Canada: Both Sides Now
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