Home » Kananaskis Country in Review: The Perfect Golfers Weekend

Kananaskis Country in Review: The Perfect Golfers Weekend

by K Gordon Schultz

Kananaskis, Alberta is one of the highlighted vacation destinations in the Canadian Rockies. With a plethora of year-round activities, this exquisite area is sure to make your travel vacation one to remember for years to come.  With its meadows filled with brilliantly colored flowers, crystalline rivers, and pure alpine air, the summer months in Kananaskis Country make for exceptional hiking, fishing, and biking. Those are all great activities, but we are here to talk golf!

Golfing in Kananaskis Country

Kananaskis Country Golf Course

It seems that whenever the sun comes out in Banff, all I can think about is playing a round of golf in the midst of the Canadian Rockies! Let’s face it – this place was created by the man in the clouds for golf. Lush greens, perfect spring and summer weather and absolutely stunning views make for the most memorable round of golf or even golfing trip you are likely to have. Kananaskis Golf Course is only a short drive from either Calgary or Banff and frankly it is one of the best golf courses in the world. Better news again – they are now taking bookings!

The rugged mountains tower over 10,000 feet above sea level and make a great canvas for the course which is 5,000 feet above sea level. The fairways are as lush as the hair of a beautiful woman (I am told…), the bent grass greens are challenging but rewarding, there are over 140 silica sand bunkers, four sets of tee boxes, glacier-fed creeks and ponds, the cascading Kananaskis River and all kinds of wildlife. Even if you shoot 185, you are going to have the time of your life.

Kananaskis Country Golf Course
Kananaskis Country is not exactly hard on the eye.

Former presidents of certain countries have often made the sneaky helicopter trip to the Rockies to enjoy a quick round in the peaceful serenity of the Canadian Rockies… probably before hitting the bar for some après golf expensive drinks on the taxpayer! Kananaskis Golf Course is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and just so happens to be one of the best courses in Canada too. Get in early to book a tea time.

Lorette Golf Course in Kananaskis Country

Golf Digest magazine loves this course, giving it consistently 4 and a half stars, and we believe you will, too.

For one thing, it’s a beautiful course – though given that it’s in the Canadian Rockies, that may be redundant. For another, it’s a challenge for all skill levels. Indeed, the multiple tee boxes on this par-72, 18-hole layout give you the choice to play it anywhere from 5,429 yards to 7,102 yards.

It’s not just the length, either. This is no walk in the park. No fewer than 13 of the 18 holes sport water hazards. You’ll find the source of all of those creeks and ponds on the front nine when you reach the back nine, where the glacial Kananaskis River passes by.

In addition, the greens are large and asymmetrical, and the sand traps are deep enough to be a real hazard.

All together Lorette Golf Course is a feast for the eyes, and no matter what length you play it at, you’ll find it a sturdy challenge, as well.

Mt. Kidd Golf Course in Kananaskis Country

A sister course to the Lorette Golf Course; Mt. Kidd Golf Course features some of the same attractions. That’s not a surprise, given that the same architect, Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed both.

Golf Digest gives Mt. Kidd Golf Course 4 and a half stars, and the course makes the top 10 in Canada for best value.

Like Lorette, Mt. Kidd has wide fairways, large and undulating greens, and a lot of water hazards, sand traps and elevation changes. Again, all are hallmarks of a Jones course. And it is further enhanced by the stunning backdrop of the Canadian Rockies.

The par-72, 18-hole layout can be played from 5,539 yards to 7,083 yards, making it a reasonable proposition for an average golfer, but a challenging one for a player of high skill.

11 Great Kananaskis Country Hotels

Delta Lodge and Kananaskis

Delta Lodge
Aerial view of the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis surrounded by trees and mountains in Kananaskis Country.

Nestled at the base of an evergreen mountain slope In Kananaskis Village, one hour west of Calgary, the Delta Lodge At Kananaskis in Alberta provides charming accommodations in the planned resort village built for the 1988 Winter Olympics. Kananaskis Village now offers year-round outdoor and leisure activities an a pristine Alpine location, including hiking, golfing, fishing, biking and skiing. Nakiska Ski Area is only a few miles up the mountain. Though the location feels genuinely remote, the village is only 60 miles from Calgary.

Copperstone Resort

The Copperstone Resort is nestled in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Dead Man’s Flats, Alberta. The city of Canmore offers shops, pubs, bistros and fine dining restaurants eight kilometers from the resort. The Silvertip Golf Course is 10 kilometers and Banff National Park’s 25 Kilometers from the property.

The Windtower Lodge And Suites Resort

The Canadian Rocky Mountains provide the backdrop for the Windtower Lodge and Suites, located in the natural wonderland of Canmore, Alberta. Located just five miles (eight Kilometers) from Banff National Park and eight miles (12 Kilometers) from Lake Minnewanka, Windtower Lodge and Suites has easy access to local activities year-round. Winter activities include downhill or cross country skiing, ice fishing and snowshoeing. Area summer activities include golfing mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, white-water rafting and horseback riding.

The Radisson Hotel Conference Center Canmore

Located off Highway 1 in Canmore, Alberta; the Radisson Hotel Conference Center Canmore is five blocks from the Bow River Path and eight kilometers from Banff National Park. On-site dining is offered at Vic’s Steakhouse and Bar which serves certified Alberta Angus Pride Beef and seafood entrees. Meetings, conventions and special events are accommodated via the hotel’s business center and 10,000 square feet of function space with windows that frame mountain views. Wireless internet access is available in the lobby. Recreational options include a complimentary fitness center with an indoor pool, a spa tub and a steam room. Parking is complimentary.

On-site Dining Is Offered At Vic’s Steakhouse And Bar That Serves Certified Alberta Angus Pride Beef And Seafood Entrees. Meetings, Conventions And Special Events Are Accommodated Via The Hotel’s Business Center And 10,000 Square Feet Of Function Space With Windows That Frame Mountain Views. Wireless Internet Access Is Available In The Lobby. Recreational Options Include A Complimentary Fitness Center With An Indoor Pool, A Spa Tub And A Steam Room. Parking Is Complimentary.

Hiking Sarrail Ridge, Kananaskis Country
Hiker looking out over the mountain view on Sarrail Ridge in Kananaskis Country

Blackstone Mountain Lodge

Blackstone Mountain Lodge is located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Canmore, Alberta. Main Street’s unique shops, art galleries, microbreweries and restaurants are less than two kilometers away. Banff National Park is five kilometers from the property. The town of Banff is 15 kilometers away.

The Resort At Canmore Banff

Location: The Resort at Canmore Banff is located in Canmore, Alberta; one kilometer from Canmore Nordic Centre; two Kilometers from Canmore town centre and five kilometers from Stewart Creek Golf Course.

Features: Heated outdoor pool and two spa tubs; all-suite resort; two computers with internet access in the lobby; video library; no pets allowed.

The Lodges At Canmore

Eleven miles from the town of Banff, the Lodges at Canmore are five miles from the edge of Banff National Park. Canmore is a quiet town nestled in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies. Plenty of fine restaurants and quaint shops are spread across Canmore, which has a friendly and non-touristy aura. Several lakes, thousand of acres of forest and snow-capped mountains provide year-round recreation. Skiing, golfing, hiking and mountain biking are just the beginning of a long list of possibilities.

The Canadian Rockies Chalets

Just 24 kilometers from Banff National Park, the Canadian Rockies Chalets are located near downtown Canmore, Alberta. Canmore is a quiet town nestled in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies. Plenty of fine restaurants and quaint shops are spread across Canmore, which has a friendly and non-touristy aura. Several lakes, thousand of acres of forest and snow-capped mountains provide year-round recreation. Skiing, golfing, hiking and mountain biking are just the beginning of a long list of possibilities.

Mystic Springs Chalets And Hot Pools

Surrounded by the beautiful majesty of the Canadian Rockies, Mystic Springs Chalets and Hot Pools are located just over six kilometers from the entrance to Banff National Park in Canmore, Alberta. Plenty of fine restaurants and quaint shops are spread across Canmore, which has a friendly and non-touristy aura. Several lakes, thousand of acres of forest and snow-capped mountains provide year-round recreation. Skiing, golfing, hiking and mountain biking are just the beginning of a long list of possibilities.

Sheep River Valley
The Bighorn lookout over the Sheep River Valley

The Falcon Crest Lodge

The Falcon Crest Lodge is located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, less than two kilometers from downtown Canmore, Alberta. The Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park is less than four kilometers from the property, while Silvertip Golf Resort and the Stewart Creek Golf Club are five kilometers away. The town ff Banff and the Banff Gondola at Sulphur Mountain are 25 kilometers from the hotel.

The Fire Mountain Lodge

The Fire Mountain Lodge is located a half-mile from the Silvertip Golf Course and three-and-a-half miles from Banff National Park. Alberta’s “Big Three” ski mountains of Banff, Lake Louise and Sunshine are within easy access of the Fire Mountain Lodge, as well as restaurants, spas, shops and entertainment in Canmore.

A Quick Glance at Kananaskis Country

Transportation to and from Kananaskis, Alberta

Kananaskis comprises 2,665 miles and is located 56 miles west of Calgary, bordering on the southeastern edge of Banff National Park. Kananaskis Country encompasses Bow Valley, Bragg Creek, Peter Lougheed, and the Elbow/Sheep Wildland. Easily accessible from Highway 1 (the Trans Canada Highway) its an easy drive when continuing south on Highway 40.  During the summer, Highway 40 is open from the town of Longview to Highway 1.  In autumn to late spring however, a segment of Highway 40 closes. 

Driving to Kananaskis Country in Alberta.
Car driving through Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Kananaskis Country Alberta

If not traveling by car, charter bus services are available. Once in Kananaskis, transportation takes on a pleasurable guise in the form of skiing, hiking, rafting, or horseback riding.  Find all that you need at the Visitor Information Centers where a knowledgeable staff will answer all questions. Maps, guides, and information on trail conditions are also available.  Note:  it is important to check on trail conditions at all times of the year, as weather conditions can be tricky in winter.  In summer, trails often close due to bear activity.

Climate in Kananaskis, Alberta

Weather in the Canadian Rockies is notorious for changing on a dime.  Within a ten minute span, you can experience wild extremes in temperature, depending on which way the Chinook winds are blowing.  These warm winds that blow in from the coast can turn a freezing day into a temperate one within minutes.  The best way to dress for Kananaskis is to layer your clothing, adding or subtracting as the climate changes.  Keep an extra layer along with you, even in summer, and in winter, be prepared to peel off that extra layer every now and then.  Average temperatures in summer run from the mid-60s to 70’s F with lows in the 30’s at night.  In winter, expect temperatures that run in the 20’s by day and minus degrees at night.

History of Kananaskis, Alberta

Since way back in time when glaciers created the peaks and valleys of Kananaskis Country, the region has carried a magic that corresponds to the spiritual connections emanating from its former residents.  The history of Kananaskis dates back to Neolithic times.  Archeologists have discovered a myriad of artifacts that date back to 4500 BC, reinforcing the knowledge that this region has been the pathway from the mountains to the valleys throughout many an age. 

In the 18th century, Kananaskis was dominated by the Blackfoot, Sarcee, and Peigan tribes and in the mid 19th century, the Stoney arrived.  Today the Stoney people are still gathering herbs and berries, hunting, fishing, trapping, and camping in the area.  Named by the explorer John Palliser after a man named Kananaskis who was struck by an axe in the head and survived, Kananaskis County contains a story unique to the Canadian Rockies.

Canmore, Alberta is actually a bit bigger than Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise, which might make you wonder why we’re saying it’s off the beaten path. I guess it’s the feel of Canmore that makes it that way. The town just has less of a tourist town feel and more of a working town feel. Not that it’s not great for tourism and vacations. Here you’ll find great restaurants, hotels, and everything else you’ll want on your vacation. If you want a quieter golf weekend, you may try visiting Canmore and Kananaskis Country.

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