Best of golf and travel in Alberta's Canadian Rockies
Just west of Calgary the flat farmlands and oil fields quickly turn into the dramatic Canadian Rockies, which are home to a collection of six golf courses of varying styles. Golf here dates back to 1925, when Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course opened in Jasper National Park. It was designed by Stanley Thompson, who would build the heralded Banff Springs just a few years later.
Since then, a few other notable designers have passed through this neck of the woods, including Robert Trent Jones Sr., quoted as saying his piece of property at Kananaskis Country Golf Course, where he would build two courses, was the best piece of land he's ever worked with. Given the area's spectacular mountain backdrops and wealth of wildlife, there's seldom a dull moment on these golf courses. Architect Les Furber also lives in the area and is a member of Canmore Golf and Curling Club. He built the new mountainside Silvertip Golf Resort, the area's most severe golf course with over 600 feet of elevation change.
Here's a look at some of the best shots on and off the golf course from Brandon Tucker's recent visit to the Canadian Rockies, which included helicopter rides, bear sightings and plenty of postcard-worthy golf holes.
Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course
A fence protects part of Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course from wild animals, though they're still abundant around the national park.
Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course - Cleopatra - hole 9
The Pyramid Mountain frames the backdrop of No. 9 at Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course, nicknamed "Cleopatra."
Between Banff and Jasper Park, tourists take the ever-scenic Icefields Parkway, a 300 kilometer drive.
Banff Springs - Fairmont hotel
The historic Banff Springs castle-turned Fairmont hotel looms over the golf course on the back nine.
Silvertip Golf Course
A new addition to the Canadian Rockies, Silvertip Golf Course features 600 feet of elevation change.
Stewart Creek Golf and Country Club
Stewart Creek runs down Pigeon Mountain and in front of the par-4 14th hole at Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club.
Canadian Rockies - helicopter tour
Kananaskis Helicopter Tours provides an aerial view of the dramatic Canadian Rockies.
Kananaskis Country Golf Course
Kananaskis Country Golf Course plays at the foot of the Canadian Rockies.
Kananaskis Country Golf Course in Alberta
Kananaskis Country Golf Course features two 18-hole championship courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr.
Kananaskis Country Golf Course - bear
Abundant with wildlife, a grizzly bear and cub sighting at Kananaskis Country Golf Course.