Alberta is now a golfer’s paradise

With its beautiful mountains, Alberta might not be the first place that comes to mind if you’re planning a golf vacation. Since Alberta is host to the best women golfers in the world this summer (at Calgary’s Priddis Greens Golf Club), it’s time to take a look at what the province has to offer golfers.

Alberta’s best-known courses are at Banff and Jasper, followed by two newer courses at Kananaskis. All offer challenging golf in a spectacular mountain setting, with the bonus of spotting some interesting wild life on a good day. The courses at the Banff Springs and Jasper Park Lodge hotels were both designed by the famous Canadian golf-course architect Stanley Thompson. They have recently been restored to their original 1920s splendor. The newer courses in the Kananaskis Valley were designed by Robert Trent Jones.

Alberta also has a lot to offer for golfers who either have a smaller pocketbook or bigger handicap than the world-famous courses require. In the past 10 years, the province has added more than 40 new courses, and most of them are public facilities.

The new courses are located all over the province. For example, there are now about 20 good golf courses thin an hour’s drive of Red Deer, all in the $25-30 range for greens fees. Alberta tourism officials note that if you have a week’s vacation, a drive and golf tour will let you experience some of the province’s best scenery and links. It’s quite easy to play six games in seven days, and still see some sites that don’t include a clubhouse.