The Fairmont Banff Springs needs little introduction… for well over a century, the resort has been a destination for weekend getaways and international travellers alike. And, one of its biggest draws is the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, which is consistently ranked one of the best courses in Canada and around the world.
It’s well-deserving of the prestige. Designed by Canadian golf legend Stanley Thompson, it’s one of just a handful of courses in the country located in a national park, offering unparalleled views of the Rocky Mountains that are literally a stone’s throw away. Pair that with beautifully maintained fairways, top-tier greens, and service that rivals any PGA venue, and the course is on every golfing enthusiast’s bucket list.
However, the course recently started offering something new, which we think is unique across the entire country. Sure, you can bring your own clubs for backup, but the Heritage Golf Experience will have you swinging authentic sticks from decades, not years, gone by.
It’s an idea that’s much more popular in Europe and the United States, and there are some tournaments and leagues focused on it, even in Canada. But, for most people, a round with hickory clubs requires buying your own, hoping they work, and then donating them to your local thrift store (or forcing them on a pal when they lose a hole in match play).
That’s not the case at the Fairmont Banff Springs Course. Instead, it maintains a variety of hickory sets, available to rent so you can experience the glory of the course much like Stanley Thompson would have way back in 1928. For the purists out there, it’s a dream come true. For the, well, less pure among us, it’s an incredible opportunity to enjoy the game from an almost completely different perspective. Back when woods were, you know, made of wood.
With a couple of golfers here at Curiocity, we knew that we had to try it out. So, we wrangled up flat caps, tried to fit into some pleated pants, and made our way out there. Our first thought upon arrival? Geeze, this course is beautiful. Our second thought? Holy moly, how are we going to make these things work.
Turns out, hickory clubs are a lot more bark than bite, as long as you have the proper expectations. Are you going to be crushing a 7-iron 190 yards? Probably not. But, the more consistent among us will have no problems finding fairways with practically everything in the bag, and the less consistent can do nothing but laugh when looking down at a 200cc or so driver that appears to be set at 1 degree. If fun is your focus, then the Heritage Golf Experience here does nothing but add to an already inFairmont Banff Springs Golf Coursecredible day out on the links.
One of the best ways to enjoy it involves yet another bonus of visiting Fairmont Banff Springs- the equally beautiful Tunnel Mountain 9, a regulation par 36 course that plays inside the front nine of the Stanley Thompson 18. Enjoy the Heritage Golf Experience here as a warm-up to the full 18, or as a way to unwind afterward. Either way, you’ll be treated to the full range of what this dream course offers, from every angle, and in a single day!
And let’s face facts- very few people are golfing Banff Springs (or any destination course, for that matter) with the expectation that they’ll shoot their lowest round ever. Sure, it would be a great bonus, but courses of this calibre offer an almost magical escape from the regular fare, whether it’s a day trip or a full-scale golf getaway.
Leave the swing aids and the YouTube tips at home, grab a set of hickory sticks, and make some memories that are sure to last a lifetime.
When: Now open for the season
Where: 405 Spray Avenue, Banff, Alberta
Cost: Varies per experience, contact the course for more information