ALBERTA AND BC—CANADA—You’ve been thinking of a getaway to the green, but you’re interested in more than just a challenging game. Known for its scenic natural beauty, Western Canada is the prescription for those sick of golfing humdrum holes. To help us cull our list, and provide some pointers, we caught up with K. Gordon Schultz, golf enthusiast and President of Golf Canada’s West, a company that specializes in golf vacations in Alberta and British Columbia.
“I always encourage people to take a camera,” says Schultz, who knows golfing can sometimes provide some serious photo ops. Schultz recommends golfers have someone take their photo at tee off, but warns not to be too quick to replace that lense cap. “No one can guarantee seeing wildlife, but don’t be surprised to see elk, deer or other animals on some of these courses,” he says. Packing your camera? Schultz encourages visitors and clients to post their pictures to the Golf Canada’s West Facebook page.
Here, three of the best golf courses in Canada’s west when it comes to heart-stopping scenery.
Golfers visiting the Canadian Rockies shouldn’t miss this scenic Les Furber-designed course. Standing at the edge of an untouched wilderness reserve only 20 minutes from Banff National Park, Silvertip covers 600 acres of peaks, valleys and grasslands on the benchlands of Mount Lady MacDonald. “There are tremendous elevation changes from the tee box to the green and the views are unbelievable,” says Schultz. “From hole 13, you see the Three Sisters,” he says, referring to a trio of mountain peaks that dominate the skyline around Canmore. “You feel like you can just reach out and touch them.”
Winding along the Toby Creek Canyon, Greywolf Golf Course in Panorama, BC is a scenic spot to golf the Canadian Rockies. Here, greens cling to cliff tops and nearly every hole boasts views of granite massifs. Add in the almost 500 feet of elevation change on the course, pristine bentgrass fairways and water on 14 holes, and it’s easy to see why Greywolf is one of the most beautiful courses for a golf vacation in BC. “This course takes advantage of the narrow terrain of the valley and has terrific vantage points,” says Schultz. “You’ll definately want to bring your camera.”
Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Bear Mountain was named after golf great Jack Nicklaus—aka “The Golden Bear”—who co-designed the Mountain Course with his son, Steve. The course is set in the foothills of Mount Finlayson, near downtown Victoria, and is carved from rugged terrain, providing impressive elevation changes. Overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, golfing Bear Mountain affords panoramic mountain, ocean and city views. “It’s spectacular golfing that close to the coast,” says Schultz.
Any courses you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below.
Looking for more of the best things to do on your Canadian Rockies vacation?
Don’t pack up your golf clubs as soon as you’re finished on the fairway. There’s plenty more to do during your stay in the Canadian Rockies. Visit Banff National Park or Jasper National Park, raft the Kicking Horse River, or feel the rush on a zipline tour. For more activities in the Canadian Rockies, check out Banff Travel or Jasper Vacations. Eager to get on the whitewater? Visit AlbertaRafting.org for more information about whitewater rafting in the Canadian Rockies.