Kananaskis Country Golf Course is located in the Rockies, near Canmore, a small town that can be reached within an hour by car from either Banff of Calgary in Alberta. There are two 18-hole, par 72, courses at Kananaskis, Mount Lorette and Mount Kidd at this 600-acre property.
Named after the nearby mountains that rise to 10,000 feet above sea level, the Kananaskis courses themselves are 5,000 feet above sea level, so your long game will be flattered as the golf ball travels a little further than normal in the thinner air. Try hard also to concentrate on your game, as the surroundings are simply sensational and quite a distraction.
The construction of both courses was part funded by the oil-rich Alberta government in the early 1980s and Robert Trent Jones Senior was the architect responsible for each layout. He routed the holes through pine forests around the Kananaskis River and glacial creeks, adding nearly one hundred and fifty bunkers for good measure.
Mount Lorette has two feature holes which conclude each loop of nine holes back at the clubhouse. The 9th, a 560-yard par five, has two large bunkers left of the fairway at the landing area from the tee. There is water down the left of the fairway from just past this point that then cuts into the front left of the green. It goes without saying that the smart play here is to stay down the right, all the way from tee to green.
The closing hole is a 463-yard par four and there’s an enormous bunker left of the fairway which threatens the tee shot. The hole doglegs slightly left and a creek lies in front of a green that has a severe slope from back to front. The percentage golfer might consider a three wood off the tee, lay-up in front of the water then play an accurate wedge to the green followed by a single putt. Sounds easy.
With special rates available for seniors, juniors and Alberta residents, Kananaskis certainly promotes itself in the provision of affordable golf for all golfers. With complimentary valet parking as you arrive to the Summit restaurant and fireside lounge in the Robert Trent Jones Pavilion, the off-course experience matches all that the Mount Lorette and Mount Kidd courses have to offer.
Both Kananaskis courses were devastated by flooding in 2013 and were rebuilt by architect Gary Browning at a reputed cost of $23 million, with the province expecting to recoup three quarters of that sum from Ottawa’s disaster recovery program. Thirty-two of the thirty-six holes that were badly damaged by gravel, mud, silt and fallen trees had to be totally reconstructed from scratch. The Mount Lorette and Mount Kidd layouts re-opened in the summer of 2018.