Happy 125th Birthday, Stanley Thompson!
Premier Alberta Resorts Mark the Anniversary With Discounts, Events
By Chris Duthie
In the mid 1920s, Stanley Thompson —regarded among the world’s most iconic golf course architects — was at the top of his game. Born in Scotland in 1893, the World War 1 veteran and champion amateur golfer carved out a 40-year career with the building or remodeling of 178 courses on three continents.
Thompson died in 1952 of an aneurysm at the age of 58, but his storied accomplishments live on — like the American Society of Golf Course Architects, which he co-founded with Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones in 1948, and a posthumous induction into the Canadian Hall of Fame in 1980.
In fact, this golf season marks a special anniversary for “The Toronto Terror,” so nicknamed for being one of the more flamboyant yet brilliant figures in the history of golf course architecture. September 18 is Thompson’s 125th birthday, a detail not lost on a legion of golf fans that venerate his celebrated works.
In fact, if you’re not familiar with Thompson’s classic layouts, here’s your chance. Two of Alberta and Canada’s highest ranked layouts — the Fairmont Jasper Park Golf Club and the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, respectively rated by Golf Digest the 89th and 99th best courses in the world — will be celebrating Thompson’s birthday with special events and extra-special discounts, including:
Fairmont Banff Springs
During the week of a player’s own birthday, greens fee will be $125 to play the Stanley Thompson Course or $52 to tee up the equally scenic Tunnel 9 Course.
Additionally, on Aug. 25 the Thompson 18 will be converted to a par 3 layout and will host the Canadian Par 3 Championship, with the winner qualifying for the 2019 Grey Goose World Par 3 Championship at the Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda. The registration fee is $149 and includes a succulent barbecue at Stanley’s Smokehouse.
And on Thompson’s Sept. 18 birthday, golfers are invited to play the course’s original rotation. Play will begin from the current 15th tee located adjacent to the Waldhaus Pub & Patio and overlooking the Spray River. Groups will be accompanied by a forecaddie, and each player will receive a commemorative gift. Rates start at $299 per person.
The 764-room Fairmont Banff Springs is a Golf Magazine Gold Medal resort property. Its historic Stanley Thompson Course is scheduled to open May 11. For additional information call (403) 762-6801 or go online to fairmont.com/banff-springs.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Weather permitting, Thompson’s superlative Jasper Park Golf Club will open May 5 with a month-long special greens fee of $149. (Beginning June 1 the rate jumps to $209.)
Similar to Banff Springs, Jasper Park is planning a special party to celebrate Thompson’s Sept. 18 birthday. On that day, greens fees are just $125 per player.
The 339-room Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a Golf Magazine Gold Medal resort property that overlooks majestic La Beauvert. For additional information call (708) 852-6090 or go online to fairmont.com/jasper.
Need another huge incentive to visit Canada? Americans continue to benefit from a strong dollar-to-loonie monetary conversion. At press time, one U.S. dollar equaled CAN$1.26, effectively offering a huge discount on everything from rental cars to accommodations to dining to tee times.
Banff Springs and Jasper are located less than four hours apart in the heart of Alberta’s super-scenic Rocky Mountains via the world-famous Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). For more about this extraordinary region, go online to travelalberta.com.