Golf and Spa Getaways


Author: Travel Alberta

If you're going to swing at something all day, regardless of the great satisfaction you might get from a drive that soars upward toward the trees but is somehow snatched by the wind and settled gingerly onto the green for a perfect putt, you're going to want to continue to relax near Alberta golf courses.

Then again, you may already be relaxing because you're there to enjoy a spa and, hey, by gosh if there isn't the best golfing in the world just a walk away from where I'm getting a hot stone massage that's so good, it's putting me into a trance. And I'm dreaming of a new set of clubs.

In Alberta, spas such as The Willow Stream at Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff National Park are rated among the world's best. You'll find some of the top rated spas and golf courses within walking distance to each other. There are more than 280 courses throughout the province, six of which are among Canada's Top 10. A few top magazines are showing this spring that Alberta's a trip worth taking.

Golf & Spa Magazine of Resorts and Great Hotels, the Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best, features The Fairmont Banff Springs in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Alberta as one of the planet's best locations where you can get the best of both worlds (golf and spa).


Remember, it's warm in Alberta during the summer, and the daylight lasts beyond 10 p.m., so you can enjoy yourself indoor sand outdoors, far into the night.

The magazine's Special Edition acknowledges The Fairmont Banff Springs as a AAA Four Diamond Award winner and describes it as"a century-old symbol of Rocky Mountain hospitality and as a Canadian pioneer in the realms of golf and spa." Just a 90 minute drive west of Calgary, Alberta's international gateway city to the Canadian Rockies, the luxury property features abaronial castle in the mountains with easy access to a Stanley Thompson Course (18 holes) and award-winning Willow Stream spa.

I've been to the Willow Stream spa and it's a remarkable retreat. A group of us (men and women) tried the plunge pools(you move through a series of pools and watch it, the last one's pretty cool) and then we moved out into the hot springs, set amidst towering mountains. Even the views from the lounges are breathtaking. The men's lounge has a big, flat screen television tuned to sports and other programs that guys want to see. The women's lounge is geared a bit differently, of course, with special touches for the ladies. So it's a great place for acouple.

As Golf and Spa Magazine notes, the spa facilities include 23 treatment rooms, including a deluxe couple's suite, health centre and much more. The Banff Mineral Scrub refines and renews the skin with a compound of Rocky Mountain botanicals and mineral elements, says the magazine. And the story notes that elk and bear sometimes wander the fairways of this certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. The golf course's signature fourth hole, nicknamed the Devil's Cauldron, requires "a highly accurate tee shot across a deep blue glacial lake and onto a bowl-like green," the magazine says.


'Canada's Golf Boom' trumpets the Athlon Sports Golf Magazine 2006 annual golf guide on the cover. "There's a golf boom going on north of the border," it says, "from links to inland courses, tree-lined designs to wide-open prairies, Canada has a wide variety of golf experiences and some of the most enchanting settings in the world." And when the article focuses on Alberta, it praises Edmonton, Canmore and both (Fairmont) Banff Springs and Jasper National Park as prime places to play. The magazine says Edmonton, (Alberta's international gateway city to the North), is home to the Northern Bear Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus Signature design that has received many accolades. The Ranch features a closing hole nicknamed the Pit of Doom that has been rated the roughest on the Canadian Tour, says the magazine. While in Calgary and Edmonton, you can try Eveline Charles spas among many others.

Wolf Creek, 70 miles (133 km) south of Edmonton, has 27 holes and "a wonderful blend of Scottish and Wild West flavors," notes the magazine. It also speaks of Glen Eagles, "a par-72 gem" with ravines, escarpments and eye-popping vistas. Silver Tip in Canmore, a growing mountain town that sits at the edge of Banff National Park, is quoted as "an extreme golf experience." And there are nods to the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Courseas Stanley Thompson designs that are "mesmerizing."


For a unique golf and spa experience, you can travel northeast of Calgary through towering hoodoos in Canada's Badlands and visit terrain where dinosaur roamed; the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology houses most revered dinosaur skeletons. And you can golf a jaw-dropping nine holes at the Dinosaur Trail Golf & Country Club and enjoy a spa at Heartwood Manor, among other properties. And in the North is a new golf consortium, Golf Northern Alberta's Best, where you have access to more than 18 hours of golfing daylight.

New courses include the Blackhawk Golf Club just 10 minutes west of Edmonton (it's recently rated as one of the top two new courses in Canada by Golf Digest Magazine) and the Spear grass Golf Club, set along the Bow River, just 30 minutes southeast of Calgary,

Whether you're enjoying the Canadian Rocky Mountains or the small town adventures of the rolling prairies or the province's vibrant, international gateway cities of Edmonton and Calgary or the rugged North, you'll have easy access to golf and spa getaways.

About the author:Travel Alberta is the destination marketing organization for the Province of Alberta. Guided by the Strategic Tourism Marketing Council, Travel Alberta is the steward for the effective delivery of tourism marketing programs. For information about our organization, please visit our Travel Alberta industry web site.


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