Banff Springs Golf Course
405 Spray Avenue, Banff, Alberta | (403) 762-6801
Green Fees: $199-$249
The only intimidating tee shot at the Banff Springs Golf Course is a menacing 165 yard par 3.
The 4th hole is downhill, over water, with your target green tucked around a corner of trees up against a wicked hill. The hole is as ferocious as its Devil’s Cauldron name would lead you to believe.
I dropped my first shot in the water, flopped my drop over the back and faced a fierce downhill shot before finally escaping with a double .. par.
But Devil’s Cauldron is an outlier on this epic Stanley Thompson designed course. The other 17 holes at the Banff Springs Golf Course are free swinging and wide open. There are clever bunkers, especially along the left side of the third hole, Trough, and some impressive, yawning traps along the back 9, but they’re nothing that waver your resolve enough to put the driver back in the bag.
The Banff Springs Golf Course is welcoming, forgiving, and a gorgeous round for locals and tourists alike. I played early on a Sunday morning and just as we approached the 13th tee, the wind started to pick up a bit. According to the members I played alongside, there are days where you can find 50km gusts blasting right into your face as you make your way towards the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. I avoided that challenge on my early Sunday round, but can imagine it would change the experience considerably.
My favorite holes are 14 and 15. 14, Wampum, is the original 18th tee in the Stanley Thomspon design. This is long par 4 has the impressive Fairmont Banff Springs as a backdrop. You’re forgiven if you grab your camera instead of your short iron on your approach shot, the view is stellar.
The 15th hole, Spray, was the original 1st tee. The box is located off the back patio of what is now the Waldhaus. Before the new clubhouse was built in 1989, this was the original clubhouse. It has now been transformed into a German-inspired alpine hunting lodge with a menu of schnitzel and cheesy fondues.
With the wind at your back and stein weilding patrons at your side, it’s a wonderful place to stand and take a free swing launching a shot at Mount Rundle.
“Opened in 1911 as a nine-hole course laid out by Bill Thomson, a Scottish expatriate who apprenticed under Old Tom Morris at St. Andrews, the Banff Springs Golf Course was expanded to an 18-hole course by Donald Ross in 1924. But it was Stanley Thompson, Canada’s most significant and successful golf architect, who created the layout as it plays today.
The course demonstrates his appreciation of traditional links golf courses while emphasizing the subtleties of the mountain landscape. Money was no barrier for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and when unveiled in 1928, the Banff Springs Golf Course was the most expensive ever built.”[Banff Springs Golf Club]
I’m an 18 handicapper, a capable golfer, but not competitive at all. I hit 77% of the fairways on my round, and finished with fewer than 2 putts average per hole. If I could only maneuver my wedges and short shots around the greens, I would have finished with an epic score.