"Any ball striking an elk may be replayed with no penalty. " This unusual local rule is a good indication that you're playing golf somewhere special — when you visit the Stanley...

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BANFF, Alberta — “Any ball striking an elk may be replayed with no penalty.”


This unusual local rule is a good indication that you’re playing golf somewhere special — when you visit the Stanley Thompson 18 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, in Banff, Alberta.


Elk are abundant, and since the 27-hole course is located in a national park in the Canadian Rockies, they — not you — have the right of way. You may also see bears or wolves off in the distance.














Information


Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course: 403-762-6801 or www.fairmont.com/banffsprings (click on recreation)


“Our maintenance staff’s hardest job is to repair damage caused by the elk,” said Miles Mortensen, the head professional at Banff Springs. “But the course is in very good shape, considering the number of rounds played on it.”


Because of the drop-dead gorgeous scenery — the course is in a valley surrounded by three mountains and the Bow and Spray rivers — the number of requests to play Banff Springs is heavy. Even single players need a tee time at the course, which is open from mid-May until mid-October, or the first snow.


This is the signature course of designer Stanley Thompson who laid out the original 18 holes — now named the Stanley Thompson 18 — in 1928. Bill Robinson designed the Tunnel 9 in 1989.


The course averages 33,000 to 35,000 rounds over the 27 holes in a six-month period. The course opens in mid-May and closes in mid-October, or at the first snow.


Banff Springs is internationally renowned for its beauty and aesthetic qualities.


“Because you’re playing golf in a mountain atmosphere, the common rule is that you will hit your clubs 10 percent longer,” Mortensen said. “With the vistas, trees and mountains in the background, tee shots seem to hang forever.”