The Takeaway: Jasper Park features incredible design variety, engaging elevation changes, and boasts some of Stanley Thompson’s best work. The mountains aren’t as close as at Banff, but the undulated terrain lends itself to superior architecture. Grade A
Designer: Stanley Thompson 1925
Cost: $140 - $255 Click for current rates
Phone Number: 780-852-6090
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 1 Old Lodge Rd, Jasper, Alberta T0E 1E0 – CANADA
What to Expect: Always going head to head with Banff Springs as the king of Alberta, Jasper Park Lodge is one of Stanley Thompson's "Big Five", and rightfully so. The layout features an exceptional routing with holes constantly changing directions and lengths so that players never grow weary of what Thompson has in store for them. The par fives are scoring holes with three of the four measuring under 500 yards whereas the collection of par threes are simply among the best in the world with a sensational variety. The mountains in the area aren't on top of you like they are at Banff, and instead the Canadian Rockies are in the distance while still providing an impressive backdrop throughout the round. From a difficulty perspective, the course isn't overly challenging as the fairways are generous, the tips are less than 6700 yards, and the greens aren't terribly difficult to manage. Instead, the course is almost magical in its approach with a great setting and highly engaging hole designs that players will never grow tired of. In fact, the top shelf routing found at Jasper Park with the constant changes in direction, variety of hole shapes and lengths, and constant engagement should stand as a model for architects to study. On any given year the conditioning in the Great White North can have its challenges due to the harshness of the winters, but in prime shape, Jasper Park Lodge is as much of a treat as Canada offers.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 14th Hole – 361 Yard Par 4 – By far the most photographed and recognizable hole at Jasper Park is the short par four 14th. Set on the banks of Beauvert Lake with a uniquely configured semi-blind tee shot defended by towering pines, tee shots on #14 need to stay safely to the right of the evergreens, or players can attempt to take their ball over the lake with a power fade that starts left of the pines and bends to the fairway; assuming you can carry it 275 yards. Regardless of how the tee shot is played, players will then be faced with an uphill wedge shot to a green that tilts left towards the water. Finishing left is a common miss given the right to left tilt in the fairway that promotes a tug when executing a wedge shot.
Best Par 3: 9th Hole – 231 Yards – Named Cleopatra, and well earned due to its stunning beauty, the 9th at Jasper Park is an all-world one-shotter that descends nearly 100 feet in elevation from the back tee and plays directly towards Pyramid Mountain. The closest bunker isn't a factor, but the remaining half dozen bunkers are all in play for shots that aren't executed properly. The primary bunker to consider is the 'Y' shaped bunker sitting 20 yards short of the front edge of the green. A ball that just carries it will be rewarded with finding the back slope which will skip balls onto the putting surface that slopes from front to back. The remaining bunkers create a horseshoe around the back which effectively creates a precarious sand save situation since each pit is at least 10 yards away and sits well below the raised putting surface. It truly is a spectacular offering and a brilliant use of the natural terrain.
Best Par 4: 8th Hole – 427 Yards – I can't help but think that Mike Strantz drew inspiration for this hole when designing the iconic opener at Tobacco Road where the fairway threads between two large hills that dominate the landscape. Stanley Thompson decided to go bunkerless on this two-shotter while letting Mother Nature's features shine through on both the tee shot and the approach. The only way to get a clean look at the flag on your second shot is to play up the left side of the fairway where the view opens up between the hills and delivers the ideal angle for attacking the green that slopes to the front left. Tee shots that don't land in the ideal place will have an obstructed view, if not blind, while also contending with a green that falls to the left and will be difficult to hold. The setting for the green tucked into the hillside among an amphitheater of trees is certainly one of the most serene locations on the golf course.
Best Par 5: 13th Hole – 603 Yards – The 13th is an exciting use of the terrain that Stanley Thompson employed with some heroic golf shot opportunities along the way. The tee shot plays slightly uphill to a rise in the fairway that can block the view of long hitter's tee shots that can crest the hill and start working their way downhill. The second shot is a stunner that plays from a rolling-wave fairway to a green that is tucked behind the fairway's final hill. With enough juice, balls can trundle down to the putting surface to yield an eagle putt while players electing to layup will need to get their ball as far down the fairway as possible for any chance of seeing the green on their third shot. This hole is flat out fun and I love the mystery along the way of seeing where your ball ends up on certain shots where your visuals are temporarily blocked.
Birdie Time: 2nd Hole – 488 Yard Par 5 – The par fives at Jasper Park Lodge are nothing short of a gift as they each present excellent scoring opportunities, but none quite so generous as the 2nd hole. Measuring under 500 yards, getting to this green in two should be no problem for many players; even with an iron in hand. The wide open tee shot with a stunning mountain background encourages players to swing for the fences with little to worry about other than pumping your drive down the fairway as far as possible. The approach shot ideally comes in from the right side where the most generous opening to the green is, while an approach shot from the left needs to clear the 40 yard long bunker flanking that side of the green. With a beautiful setting and an excellent chance to card an early birdie in the round, players can't help but walk off this green with a smile on their face.
Bogey Beware: 3rd Hole – 454 Yard Par 4 – Named Signal Dip, the dogleg right 3rd is a fantastic hole but also a brute after a pair of relatively easy offerings. Long hitters can challenge the inside of the dogleg and put themselves in prime position to attack the green, but tugging the ball left will send the ball through the fairway and into the trees on the far side while slicing a drive will likely result in a lost ball in the native grass. The greensite is one of the best at Jasper Park with the putting surface raised from the fairway but benched perfectly into the hillside to the rear. The false front paired with the penalizing bunkers around the green stand as one of the most challenging approach shots to conquer on the course, so walking away with a five here is no shame.