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Monday, August 18, 2014

Strategic Play Rules at Canmore Golf & Curling

Constant improvement is the dream not only of every golfer but the mantra of the Canmore Golf & Curling Club, a must-play course in the Canadian Rockies.  The member-owned course opened in 1926 and has continually tweaked its golfer-friendly layout to keep itself relevant to the modern game.  It’s a pleasure to walk, the scenery is excellent, and the amenities belie the price.

Canmore Golf & Curling Club’s course lies in a flat valley near the Bow River with great views of the Rundle Range.  It’s surrounded by the mountains, but doesn’t play up and down them, so lies are level and there aren’t any drastic elevation changes to deal with. The difficulty on the course comes from tree-lined fairways and careful shaping of the green and bunker complexes. Water is in play on several holes, too, so a little thought should go into nearly every shot. Four sets of tees measure 5,172 to 6,470 yards.

You first encounter the Bow River on the 410-yard fifth hole, where it lines the right side from tee to green. It’s there again on the approach to number six, the 454-yard par-four number one handicap hole. All of the par fives are reachable in two in the crisp, thin mountain air and none of the par threes plays with the same club, measuring 150, 173, 182, 190, and 217 yards. The course also features five par fours where the driver is best left in the bag. They all require super accuracy and shape off the tee, distance control, and a deft hand with the wedge.

The finishing holes at Canmore Golf & Curling can flip a match on its ear in a split second.  The sixteenth is a 444-yard par four with a gentle dog leg to navigate off the tee and water to carry on your approach. The seventeenth is a 217-yard par three guarded by several bunkers not to be trifled with and the eighteenth is a 528-yard double dogleg par five that screams “birdie!” for the accurate ball striker.

Canmore Golf & Curling Club has an excellent range, short game practice area, and two full practice holes (the result of recent course improvements). The Sand Traps Restaurant goes far beyond the usual burgers and wraps to offer seasonal and regional treats like tourtieres, which are French Canadian meat pies made with venison and wild boar, and fresh greens picked daily from local community gardens. It all adds up to a relaxed, first-class golf experience.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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