Golf the Columbia Valley
Yes indeed, just like kittens playing with yarn, daises in a fresh spring meadow, and a baby’s first steps, the buddies’ golf getaway is one of the finer things in life. These trips afford a wonderful opportunity to share our innermost feelings, touching on the delightful and the delicate, the sensitive and the sublime. Not. Of course, as the boys and I dutifully discovered, when the destination is the Columbia Valley Golf Trail, whatever is lost in bad behavior is gained back tenfold in good times.
Golf the Yellowhead
For golfers, the Yellowhead Highway affords an exceptional journey. True, it’s too long, too logistically challenging, to tackle all at once. Unless, of course, you’ve got an entire summer – and then some! – devoted to the task. After all, there are over a hundred courses that are on, or in very close proximity, to the highway. However, done in stages, in bite-size chunks, and it could easily be considered one of the best golf opportunities in the country.
Golf the Crow
I’m standing high on a wind-blasted knoll – one of many picturesque tee boxes at the Paradise Canyon Golf Resort in Lethbridge – and the scorecard says it’s a mere 148 yards to the sand surrounded green. But I’ve heard the legendary stories: when the Chinook winds howl out of the western skies a driver may not be enough here. However, I’ve got it pretty good today. It’s blowing a mere 50 km/hr straight into my face, a measly four-club wind. I can handle this. Child’s play. I reach for my five-iron, lunge at it, and hoist one straight up into the air.
Golf The Trans-Canada Highway
After canning an eight-footer for double bogey (hey, everyone is capable of having a good hole every now and then), I kissed my lucky wand and sauntered over to the famous fourth. The view took my breath away. The punchbowl green— some 170 yards away— was perfectly positioned on the other side of one of the prettiest little mountain lakes on the planet. Surrounding the green was a stunning collection of artistic bunkers that not just anyone could concoct. But, then again, this is the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, a Stanley Thompson masterpiece and one of the finest mountain golf courses in the world.
Golfing the Cowboy Trail
What does the perfect landscape – the ultimate terrain – for a golf course look like? For many, the barren, wind-swept dunescapes of the Scottish coast would get the nod. Others would say a peaceful forest peppered with pines is the ideal scenario. And, certainly, anyone who has played golf along the gorgeous mountain-framed foothills on Alberta’s Cowboy Trail would also have a serious candidate!
Golfing in Kananaskis Country
Beyond the water-surrounded green, hanging into the pristine valley, rows of jagged mountains puncture the blue sky. The tee deck, cut out of the pines on a rocky bench, is an elevated serene little spot; a beautiful vantage point to survey the classic Rocky Mountain scene. After photographing the hole – one of the most shuttered in Canadian golf – I tee up a ball and let it fly. My little white Titleist, painted against the majestic backdrop, stalls in the cool breeze and plunges into the pond fronting the green. But the mark on the surface, just like my frustration, dissipates quickly. After all, I’m golfing in K-Country. And life, despite my shot-making skills, is good.