On a June 2010 visit to Canada I played Banff Springs whilst staying in the Banff Town, I had heard many great things about this Stanley Thompson designed course and had seen many pictures, I had even played the course on the Tiger Woods play station game so had an idea of what to expect.Overall Banff Springs is a very good course with many standout holes, it is worth noting that as part of the national park they are not allowed to use fertilizers on the course or use water at certain times of the year so this will impact on the conditioning of the course. The greens were not brilliant to be fair, they were pretty sandy and were clearly still recovering from the snow which had only melted a month or so previously, however they were more than playable and didn’t dampen my spirits despite the $229 green fee.The course is set in a stunning mountain location, the views from nearly every hole are incredible and fortunately for me it was a sunny day so I got to see the course at its best, many of the holes are tree lined and whilst the fairways are not overly tight you do have to be careful with placement off the tee as the bunkering was pretty clever on certain holes.A feature of Stanley Thompson designed courses are long par 3’s and this is relevant for the 9th which was playing 220yds on the tees I used, although the 4th which is famously known as ‘Devils Cauldron’ was playing about 160yds and is a beautiful par 3 over water into a ‘basin’ of a green.For me there are several highlights on this course, number one is the scenery and general aesthetics of the place, the other is the Bow River which cuts through the course at certain points and is particularly stunning on the 14th par 4 which plays towards the beautifully imposing Fairmont Springs Hotel. This then leads on to the best hole on the course, in my opinion, which is the par 4 15th. You have to drive your buggy up towards the hotel where the tees are set into the hillside elevated high above the fairway, the hole looks huge from the tees but if you hit a good drive you’ll be surprised just how far it goes due to the elevation – a stunning golf hole that is worth the price alone, in fact this used to be the 1st hole on the course until they shuffled it around in the 90’s.The range practice facilities are very good, as they seem to be at most of the Canadian courses I played, with complimentary Taylormade range balls and you were able to hit off the turf too rather than range mates. The clubhouse is very nice with a well stocked pro shop, although the prices of garments were high!Overall I highly recommend this course to any serious golfer out there, it provides a good challenge from the tips and the setting alone is worthy of a visit. I thoroughly enjoyed my round at Banff Springs and would not hesitate to head back there one day.
Date: July 02, 2010