Oh, Canada!

2016 02 Canada
Banff Springs

Given that it is the world’s second largest country in terms of land mass, it really shouldn’t come as any surprise to learn that Canada is brimming with fantastic golf courses.

Indeed, a 2015 report into golf around the world commissioned by the R&A revealed that the country has the world’s third largest golf supply, with a total of 2,363 facilities.

The vast majority of those are  located in two of Canada’s ten provinces, Ontario and Quebec. However, it is Alberta and British Colombia that are making waves and generating a large amount of buzz. That’s because they are home to the majority of the 37 new golf projects currently in development in Canada.

Indeed, whilst golf course construction has slowed in North America, designers and architects are still on the look-out for exciting new places to develop eye-catching layouts. Alberta and British Columbia both tick that box.

More mountainous and densely populated than Quebec or Ontario, the natural canvas of both these provinces makes them ideal for golf, as evidenced by the courses that are already there.


Jasper Park Lodge (Credit: www.fairmont.com) Jasper Park Lodge (Credit: www.fairmont.com)

Banff Springs is perhaps the most famous of the courses in these two regions. Part of a luxury Fairmont hotel resort, it is a captivating and challenging layout set deep in the heart of Canada’s Rocky Mountains. It was designed by Stanley Thompson and winds its way through huge trees, along the Bow River and under the snow-capped peaks of Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle. Its nine-hole course, designed by Cornish and Robinson, is also worth a bash.

Jasper Park Lodge, overlooking the crystal waters of Lake Beauvert, is equally impressive, whilst Blackhawk, Calgary and Wolf Creek are others in the ‘must play’ bracket.

All of those courses can be found in Alberta. British Columbia, meanwhile, has many treats of its own, of which Capilano, in West Vancouver, is arguably the best of the bunch.

The views across Vancouver Harbour to Mount Baker and beyond are simply breathtaking, whilst the course itself is no pushover. Largely unchanged since it opened in 1937, its par-3s are particularly good.


Predator Ridge (Credit: www.predatorridge.com). Predator Ridge (Credit: www.predatorridge.com).

The marvellously named Predator Ridge is equally worthy. You’ll find it just  to the south of Vernon, in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, where it offers 36 holes of championship-standard golf. The Predator course is the senior of the two, although the Ridge - worked on in part by Doug Carrick, the brains behind Loch Lomond’s The Carrick course - should not be overlooked.

Victoria GC is worth the trip, if for no other reason than to say you’ve been to the oldest golf club in Canada - it was founded in 1893 by a group of British expats. Big Sky, Greyworld and Tobiano give a good return on the cost of your green fee, too.

Away from the golf course, there is so much to explore and enjoy. If you are visiting Alberta, you might want to stay in Calgary, a cosmopolitan, oil-rich city, steeped in western culture. It’s not called ’Cowtown’ for nothing! Vancouver, meantime, is located on British Columbia’s spectacular coastline and, according to a 2015 report, is the fifth-best place to live in the world. It is particularly popular with winter sports fans, too, with the stunning peaks of the Whistler resort just over an hour’s drive to the north of the city.

All of this combined adds up to a wonderful prospect for your next golf holiday. Pay it a visit. We guarantee you won’t regret it.

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