Save cash, play superb Canadian Rockies golf at Banff Springs, Jasper Park Lodge with the Stanley Thompson Cup
BANFF, ALBERTA - Quite a special/competition is happening way up here in the Canadian Rockies at two of the finest classic mountain valley golf courses you’re bound to see in your golf travels.
This summer, the two Fairmont Hotels here in the Canadian Rockies, at Jasper Park Lodge and Banff Springs, both home to their own Stanley Thompson design built in the 1920s. Canadians will tell you Thompson, who built 144 courses here, was as good as any other Golden Era architect like Donald Ross or A.W. Tillinghast.
Here’s how the Stanley Thompson Cup works (they’re naming it that because we know the Flames and Oilers won’t be playing for any serious hardware for some time…snicker). You pay the full green fee at either Banff Springs or Jasper Park Lodge (which is about $175-250). Then, for just $25 you can play the other, which is an absolute steal.
The special is being offered until the courses close this fall.
Fairmont is doing it because they want to lure you into making 300 kilometer drive from one resort to the other, which shouldn’t take much coercing when you consider the mountain scenery along the Icefields Parkway. But they also have a competition going between the two courses, so once you’ve played them both, you’ll be asked to pick a favorite.
So what’s my vote? I think Banff has better conditions and a collection of knock-out holes, and is probably a better test for scratch players and pros, but I’d probably opt for Jasper Park by a nose for the full collection of holes. Jasper Park also feels a little more remote, has better undulating land versus the mostly-flat Banff Springs and slightly better start-to-finish hole variety, including a better closing stretch of holes from about No. 13 to the finish.
Then again, maybe I’m just preferring Jasper Park because it was sunny there and rainy at Banff. You never really know which course you like until you reflect back on them a few months from now. But preferring one of these courses, or “Cleopatra” over “Devil’s Cauldron” (pictured below) is like picking Scarlett Johansson over Jessica Alba.
There are other great golf courses in the Canadian Rockies (and not designed by Stanley Thompson), so stay tuned for plenty more golf and sights in the Canadian Rockies.
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