Skip to content
< BACK to Blog
Championship Golf Course Design
Blog

Championship Golf Course Design

Stanley Thompson’s Courses Still Dazzle Nearly a Century Later

What are the makings of a championship golf course? All magazine and award rankings aside, is it the setting, the beauty, or the challenge? In essence, it all boils down to one thing: good golf course design. Each golf course architect – whether it’s Robert Trent Jones Jr., A.W. Tillinghast, Tom Fazio or Tom Doak – must make countless choices when building their signature framework. Decisions pertaining to the natural setting and unforeseen conditions will ultimately determine the golf experience.

For the late Canadian golf course architect Stanley Thompson, choices made nearly a century ago have resulted in some of the finest work of his career at the Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club and Banff Springs Golf Course. His vision for tee locations, green sizes, bunker depth, turf types, water hazards and existing site features add personality to his masterful courses. Learn why Stanley Thompson’s championship golf course design and experience still dazzles golfers nearly a century later.

A Fabled Course in the Wild Heart of Jasper

In 1924, Canadian Pacific first commissioned Stanley Thompson to design a golf course in Jasper National Park. He completed his masterpiece a year later—which is considered the Master architect’s finest work by many. Set in the heart of Jasper National Park, the ruggedness of The Rockies and abundant wildlife form the Jasper golf experience. Stanley Thompson’s choices to frame fairways with lush forest and arrange all 18 holes around breathtaking panoramas of the park’s glassy glacial lakes and hulking snow-capped peaks highlight Jasper’s natural beauty. The wide fairways that hug the natural contours of the land are the resulting work of 50 teams of horses and over 200 men to clearing boulders and debris. Golfers are fortunate to spot Jasper’s wild locals—wolves, bears, caribou, elk and Canada geese—enjoying the natural course layout.

Stanley Thompson’s artistic creativity and golf acumen are reflected in his course design choices integrated into the landscape. He did not let any of Jasper’s natural assets of the landscape go to waste. Thompson chose to elevate tees so that golfers could take advantage of breathtaking mountain views. Holes were aligned with distant mountain vistas. Decisions made for course design around natural water features, dramatic bunkering and turf types all came into play to make this course equally scenic and challenging.

The course became Audubon certified in 2001 to protect the environment and preserve the natural golf heritage. On July 17th, 2020 Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge celebrated the 95th Anniversary of Stanley’s design. The course continues to challenge and delight professional and amateur golfers to this day.

360 Golf Tour | Jasper

Take a 360° tour of the Stanley Thompson Course before you tee off in Jasper:

 9th hole 360 view

 14th hole 360 view

18th hole 360 view

The Final Word in Golf Built in Banff National Park

Following the rave reviews of the 18-hole course built in Jasper, Canadian Pacific chose Stanley Thompson to design the last word in golf in Banff, Alberta in 1927. Renowned for panoramic beauty, Banff’s natural mountain setting was the star in Stanley Thompson’s course design. Tucked under the peaks of Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle, Thompson used his expert talent to design the original 18 holes of the Banff Springs Golf course—the only golf club in Banff—which opened in 1929.

Stanley Thompson carefully positioned greens around natural water features, like the Bow River and the Witch’s Cauldron (also known as the Devil’s Cauldron). He designed holes with optical illusions created from surrounding mountains to tempt and challenge professional and novice golfers alike. He intended for each tee to offer a view of a vast mountain peaks, snow tops, and primeval forests. Thanks to Thompson’s masterful vision, golfers can enjoy views of Canada’s Castle in The Rockies from the greens—notably Hole 14.

The Banff Springs Golf Course has over 100 years of golf history. Step back in time and learn about Banff’s rich golf history from Director of Golf, Steven Young, before you tee off at the majestic Fairmont Banff Springs this summer.

360 Golf Tour | Banff

Generations of professional and novice golfers alike have sought out Stanley Thompson’s timeless courses. Take a 360° tour of the Audubon-certified Banff Springs Golf Course. Explore the stunning scenery of Mount Rundle, Tunnel Mountain, the Bow River, and Canada’s Castle in the Rockies.

Banff Springs Golf Course 360 view

Experience the Grandest Fairways

Picture yourself teeing off this summer in Western Canada amongst the peaceful, rugged mountains in Banff, Jasper, and Whistler. Perfect your swing, delight in new challenges, or experience championship golf course design with special offers and golf packages for the grandest of fairways.

Offers Call Book