ONE LAST SWING

Three Cal­gary-area golf cour­ses pro­vide chal­leng­ing holes amid breath­tak­ing fall beauty

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - AN­DREW PENNER

Ahh, fall golf. The lit­tle golf­ing grom­mets are back in school.

The cour­ses are still prime. And the colours are pop­ping. Ask any diehard golfer — it’s the best time of the year to play.

Sure, a quick nine af­ter work or a bucket of balls at lunch can quench the thirst. But you may as well get all your birdies in a row, do some plan­ning, and play 18 heav­enly holes at one of the top tracks in the area. Or bet­ter yet, stay overnight and do it twice! Here are three of your best bets for a quick fall golf get­away.

KANANASKIS COUN­TRY GOLF COURSE

Kananaskis 2.0 (the course was wiped out in the 2013 flood and was closed for five long years) is an even sweeter rein­car­na­tion of this iconic Al­berta golf fa­cil­ity. Thanks to the de­sign work of Gary Brown­ing, the cour­ses are wider, more for­giv­ing, and more fun than the orig­i­nals. Both Mount Kidd and Mount Lorette, which orig­i­nally were de­signed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in the early 1980s, are in stun­ning con­di­tion. And when the as­pens go gold there re­ally isn’t a pret­tier place on the planet to play golf. Where to Stay: The neigh­bour­ing Pomeroy Kananaskis Moun­tain Lodge has also been re-en­vi­sioned and has a mod­ern and lux­u­ri­ous at­mos­phere. Af­ter golf, an hour or two in the in­cred­i­ble Nordic Spa ( ba­si­cally, it’s a sprawl­ing col­lec­tion of hot pools, steam rooms, saunas, and cold plunge pools) will hit the spot. Where to Eat: The Cedar Room at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Moun­tain Lodge, a Cana­dian chop­house that spe­cial­izes in lo­cal fare pre­pared to per­fec­tion, al­ways gets top marks. The ba­con-wrapped, maple-glazed car­rots will to­tally change your per­spec­tive on root veg­eta­bles.

WINTERGREE­N GOLF COURSE

Tucked in the pines just a few kilo­me­tres north of Bragg Creek, Wintergree­n Golf Course is the clos­est place for Cal­gar­i­ans to play moun­tain golf. With dar­ing down­hill holes, beau­ti­ful lake­side par-5s, and an away-fromit-all am­bi­ence, Wintergree­n is an un­der­rated lay­out that serves up plenty of drama. True, some up­hill holes add to the dif­fi­culty, but these tough holes are tem­pered when you play the cor­rect tees. And, thanks to the mois­ture this sum­mer, the turf con­di­tions are out­stand­ing and the fall colour show at Wintergree­n is al­ways im­pres­sive.

Where to Stay: Although Bragg Creek is just 45 min­utes from down­town Cal­gary, it’s still an awe­some place to spend the week­end. (Less time on the road equals more time on the fair­ways and ex­plor­ing the bou­tique shop­ping in town.) Although there are no large re­sorts in Bragg Creek (one of its virtues), there are a hand­ful of charm­ing B&Bs in the area that af­ford a highly mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence. Try River­side Chateau, M & M Ranch, or Ev­er­green Coun­try B&B.

Where to Eat: The eclec­tic restau­rant scene in Bragg Creek has, for decades, been lur­ing vis­i­tors to town. Although the leg­endary Steak Pit is no more (it was de­stroyed in the 2013 flood that rav­aged Bragg Creek), there are a dozen or so other res­tau­rants that will leave a last­ing im­pres­sion. Try Creek­ers Bistro (for mouth-wa­ter­ing bi­son burg­ers) or The Ital­ian Farm­house (for pizza and pasta).

STEWART CREEK GOLF & COUN­TRY CLUB

Routed on rocky bench­land just south of Can­more, Stewart Creek Golf & Coun­try Club is Cana­dian Rock­ies golf at its finest. Pine-lined holes dip and dive through the rugged ter­rain and the mas­sive green com­plexes, sub­tle shap­ing, and wide cor­ri­dors make this course a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the aver­age recre­ational player. Im­mac­u­late course con­di­tions and ser­vice that goes above and be­yond are trade­marks. And in fall, the golden hues and snow-capped moun­tains just add to the al­lure of a round at Stewart Creek. Where to Stay: Base­camp Re­sorts Can­more is an ideal place to hun­ker down for your week­end. The re­sort, in the heart of Can­more, fea­tures mod­ern suites with full kitchens, pri­vate pa­tios, com­mu­nal spa­ces, a rooftop hot tub, and epic moun­tain views.

Where to Eat: Din­ing op­tions in Can­more are seem­ingly end­less. There is al­ways some­thing new to try. For ex­am­ple, The Sen­sory, which opened in April, is one of the new kids on the block that is turn­ing plenty of heads. Fea­tur­ing lo­cally for­aged fare and in­cred­i­ble moun­tain views from the floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows, The Sen­sory is fine din­ing with a Cana­dian Rock­ies twist. The Hike, seven cour­ses for $85, is your ticket to a fall feast for the ages.

Wher­ever your fall golf ex­pe­di­tions take you, you can be sure that qui­eter cour­ses, warm after­noons, and a kalei­do­scope of colour will ac­com­pany you.

But time is a tickin’. You may as well get your ea­gles in a row and plan a fall golf jun­ket be­fore the leaves are gone and fair­ways turn, ahem, white. Sorry to bring that up.

The iconic par-3 4th on the Mount Kidd course at Kananaskis Coun­try Golf Course.

The lake­side par-5 11th at Wintergree­n in Bragg Creek.

The par-5 6th at Stewart Creek Golf & Coun­try Club, where golfers are re­warded with im­mac­u­late course con­di­tions and moun­tain vis­tas. PHO­TOS: AN­DREW PENNER

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