that Thompson was working with wild, open
land that possessed great character, ex-
traordinary vistas and almost endless design
The terrain at Banff was a little flatter
JASPER, ALBERTA | Both Banff and Jasper are
than what Thompson had at Jasper, and he
had to bring in loads of topsoil and sand to
complete his work there. The designer also
did a fair amount of blasting, and by the time
work on the Banff track was done, in 1929, it
had cost $1 million, a record for golf course
construction at that time.
As expensive as that may have seemed,
however, it must fairly be regarded as money
well spent, for Banff Springs is a revela-
tion. Every tee box feels like a lookout point,
beginning with the par- 4 first, and continu-
ing through Nos. 2, 3 and 4, all of which are
cut in the shadow of Mount Rundle, so close
at times it feels as if it might fall down right
on top of you.
Teeing off on the par- 3 fourth, which is
known as the Devil’s Cauldron, I feel as if I am
hitting into the mountain itself, and the sheer
delight of Thompson’s design only grows
through the round. I have to hit draws and A
relatively high in the mountains (roughly 4,500
and 3,500 feet at the first tee, respectively).
There’s a chill in the air most mornings, as a
result, and the nights are cool. Layering is key,
and visitors need to dress accordingly.
w These parks are about the same latitude of
Scotland, which means that the sun sets late up
here in the summer – and that golfers can tee it
up fairly late in the day and easily play until nine
or 10 p.m.
w The Lake Louise ski area near Banff is one of
the best in the world, with some 4,200 ski-able
acres and runs that serve the beginner as well
as the Double Diamond expert. It also happens
to be the site of early season World Cup races
for both men and women racers.
w Born in Toronto to Scottish immigrants and one
of nine children, Stanley Thompson not only
designed the Banff and Jasper courses but also
the superlative Highland Links on Cape Breton
in Nova Scotia. They stand as three of Canada’s
finest golf courses and understandably make
most worldwide top-100 lists. A
to create perfect pairings for 12 guys on
their annual “Golf in the Desert” trip to Scottsdale? They all want
to play with each
the competition will include 4-ball, 2-ball and singles
other at least once over the three-day event, even though
matches, net and gross, and, of course, a daily Skins game for good measure.
After every round they all want to know how they stand and how their team
stands–in that order–so you’ll need a Leaderboard to keep up with each of the
matches, the individual and team standings, the winnings and all the
spontaneous side plays that came up last night.
Then, once the last match is in, everyone will want a copy of this year’s group
photo, plus the random shots the beverage cart girl took
of the really big tippers. All collected in a Trip Book that will help everyone
remember everything. Well, almost everything.
It takes a genius
What does it take?