Practice Your Swing at Fairmont’s Best Fairways
By Susie Henderson
Whether you’re into driving a ball down the manicured fairways of a dramatic riverside course or teeing off amid jagged mountains and lakes, the finest Canadian golf courses offer both astounding scenery and exciting, technical challenges.
Riverside Golf in Quebec
Planning a golf vacation in Quebec? Playing a round at Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu Golf Club in Charlevoix is anything but ordinary. Originally designed by Englishman Herbert Strong and opened in 1925, the revamped course now features a whopping 27 holes, thanks to an imaginative expansion led by architect Darrell Huxham. Expect wide, rolling fairways and strategically placed bunkers, along with challenging greens guaranteed to put your skills to the test. The course sits high above the St. Lawrence River, providing you with unforgettable, panoramic vistas.
Golfers staying at Fairmont Tremblant, meanwhile, are a handy 10-minute drive from Le Diable, an undulating, par-72 championship course designed by master architects Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry. Striking, red-sand bunkers dot narrow, tree-lined fairways, while views of the forested Laurentian Mountains grab your attention at every turn. Perfect your swing on the driving range or pick up tips from certified pros at the on-site Tremblant Golf Academy. Here, you’ll have access to a 400-square-metre putting green, sand traps and a virtual golf centre, plus video analysis enhanced by state-of-the-art TrackMan technology. Also within easy reach of the hotel are Le Maître and La Bête, two spectacular courses along the banks of the Devil’s River.
For a secluded golf destination beside the Ottawa River, Fairmont Le Château Montebello offers 18 tranquil holes on a renowned, par-70 course laid out by Stanley Thompson in 1929. Set among thick, deciduous trees, the site is famed for its vibrant red, gold and orange foliage in autumn as well as its riverside 14th hole. If you feel peckish during your game, flag down the roving golf cart for tasty snacks or hit the terrace overlooking the Ottawa River to fill up on barbecued dishes, smoked meats and salads, plus inventive cocktails.
The Rockies: The Ultimate Golfing Backdrop
Heading west, backdrops don’t get much more breathtaking than the Rockies. Swing your club amid craggy snow-capped mountains, evergreen trees and vividly hued, glacial lakes at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Also created by Stanley Thompson, the hotel’s iconic course has a wildlife corridor running right through it, so while you tackle the elevated tee boxes and water hazards, keep your eyes peeled for grazing elk, resident wolves or ambling grizzly bears. Trained pros are on hand should you need a refresher lesson. Finish off your day with delicious sandwiches and a chilled beer on the outdoor patio of Thompson’s Terrace.
The setting at the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course is equally magnificent, with lush fairways stretching alongside the Bow River beneath towering peaks. Golfers have the pick of the par-36 Tunnel Mountain 9, a favourite with locals, or the classic Stanley Thompson 18, another masterpiece from the 1920s architect. You might have an audience at the 15th hole, where you can tee off directly below the hotel’s Waldhaus Pub patio (a great spot to grab soft pretzels and pork schnitzel later on). If you’re missing any golf essentials or looking to update your equipment and clothing, the Pro Shop can kit you out with the latest gear.
Tee Time in British Columbia
When the snow melts and the greens reappear, Whistlerites dust off their clubs. Surrounded by the Coast Mountains, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club encompasses streams, ponds and soaring Douglas fir trees. The par-72, Audubon-certified course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. in 1993, and has challenges for every level of player, with a good chance of spotting black bears or the occasional cougar. An outstanding practice facility includes bunkers and a gigantic putting green, plus chipping and pitching areas, while the David Leadbetter Golf Academy offers private coaching and retreats. If you have mini golfers in tow, kids aged 10 to 16 can play free after 1 PM with a paying adult.
All set to play the top Canadian golf courses? Plan your Fairmont golf vacation and get ready to tee off.
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Susie Henderson is passionate about travelling and has written articles and travel guides for numerous publications and websites, including the World Travel Guide, Sky News online, MSN Travel, Mail Travel, The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. She’s lived in the UK, France, Spain and the US and is now based in Victoria, BC.