Director of Golf Alan Carter gave visiting media members something extra to chew on over dinner at Moose’s Nook on the eve of a round at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s golf course: More grizzly bears are showing up on the famed course in recent years than ever before, he told them.
Visits by golfers have certainly not dropped in recent years. Designed by legendary course architect Stanley Thompson and opened in 1925, Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club remains one of the world’s top resort courses. Certainly it is one of Canada’s premier golf destinations — recently rated the fourth best course in the country by ScoreGolf magazine.
It’s draw remains that it is welcoming to new and average golfers, and a challenge to those who actually have enough of a game to expect to finish with a par score.
“People get very distracted by the mountains and they stop thinking about their swing as much so they play well,” Carter said.
“It works for all levels of play. Good players come out and are challenged. But the average guy can come out and not lose a bazillion golf balls and have a good time.”
Jasper Park is home to one of the most beloved holes in golf — the 9th, one of five par-threes on the par-71 course, which plays anywhere from 5,397 yards to 6,663.
‘The Cleopatra’ hole, offering a stunning view of the mountains from the tee box, was built by Thompson to resemble a womanly form from the air, complete with mounds. He was ordered by the original owners, however, to change its design, but the name remains and the lore lives on.
The par-4 Lac Beauvert hole causes a traffic jam of golf carts as it tees off at the edge of the crystal clear waters of the lake it’s named after. Guests tend to linger by the waters before continuing. Tee shots fly over the water before landing amid a gathering of Canada Geese, that are kept off the hole’s green by a fake plastic Bald Eagle. (They peck holes in the green if it’s not on duty).
The 14th is followed by the short but challenging par-3 The Bad Baby, which plays at anywhere from 114 to 138 yards with a green that sits atop a hill.
“You need to land your tee shot on the green or you will have your work cut out for you to par the hole,” offered assistant pro Taylor Van Tighem, who broke par on a hot, cloudless morning.
Even though there were no grizzlies on this day, there was wildlife on site.
“Did you see the elk?” Carter asked the media.
“He was there on No 8, eating. A big one. He would have been there sitting down as you were putting.”
The wilderness retreat began as an eight-bungalow wilderness lodge at the turn of the 20th century. It now has 446 rooms on 770 acres and draws 1,000 visitors each night during the summer months.
Jasper Park Lodge offers golf and spa packages from late April to early October each year. To learn more visit fairmont.com/jasper.