The Travelling Golfer hosted tour of Canada- Stage 1
The Travelling Golfer hosted tour of Canada- stage 1- starts in Nova Scotia. There are not many places in this world further away from home in Melbourne, I have to say!
We have got the good weather organised ( ?? ), and the crew have arrived into Halifax airport from all over the globe- Toronto ( us ), Boston, Cancun, Melbourne, Montreal...
We are off to explore a beautiful part of the world and play some special golf courses along the way- Highland Links, Cabot Links & Cabot Cliffs..
We had a relaxed start on day one , as some had arrived late into the night. The Travelling Golfer bus hit the road, and we headed out of Halifax north toward Cape Breton Island. Along the way we stopped off at the Alexander Graham Bell museum where we learned that Bell not only invented the telephone, but also made huge advancements in teaching the deaf, the early airplanes, hydrofoils, and tetrahedron kites...
Then it was on to our destination for the night at Keltic Lodge, located right on the famous Highland Links course.
Day two was also pretty relaxed with the girls challenging the boys in pairs matchplay.
Of course the girls won, so everyone was happy!
Highland Links is a Stanley Thompson course set right inside the scenic Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It is a beautiful place to be, and an amazing setting for a golf course which has always been rated in the top courses in Canada
On day 3 we boarded the Travelling Golfer bus for the road north through the Cape Breton Highlands, and the Cabot Trail. Along the way we stopped off at a fishing village, a walking trail, and the Rusty Anchor for lobster lunch.
Our destination was the Cabot Links Resort at Inverness. Our villas were very acceptable- right on the golf course with sea views!
On day 4 we played the now famous Cabot Links course. The course was hard and fast- the ball was rolling, and with a gentle zephyr affecting the ball in flight scores were not all that impressive. But again the girls came to the fore!
After golf we headed out to the Glenora Whisky distillery where we heard all about how they make the magic elixir, and then sampled their wares. Dinner at the distillery was lovely..
What a brilliant day!
Today we played the amazing Cabot Cliffs which goes straight into my top ten favourite courses on the planet.
Cabot Cliffs is a Travelling Golfer 'must play'.
It is very spectacular, but because it is so well designed each of us with different handicaps were able to cope with the various hazards, carries etc that we confronted.
The ocean holes were dramatic, but the inland holes were also excellent.
Annette & Dave made 3 & 4 pointers all the way around and submitted a 4BBB score of 49 points!!
The whole crew were excited about their day.
Day 6 we boarded the TTG bus to Halifax airport, and flew to Toronto where we set up home for 4 nights...
Days 7-9: Toronto
Our itinerary in Toronto is jam packed. Day 7 we played golf at the wonderfully named 'Devils Paintbrush'.
Then we battled the traffic to get back to the city and straight into the Blue Jays baseball game at Rogers Centre. It was a spectacular night and I think the Blue Jays now have a number of Aussie fans...
Day 8 saw the group split with most opting for a day trip to Niagara Falls, going out on the maid of the mist, behind the falls, on top of the falls, below the falls...
Apparently Hank was the fall guy!
Three hardy golfers braved the heat and humidity to play St Georges Golf & Country Club which has until recently been regarded as the no 1 course in Canada.
Day 9 at Toronto Golf Club was a delight. Toronto is regarded as one of the top 5 courses in Canada, and is a private club. Our contact was a former Captain of the club, and they put on a show for us. The Aussie flag was flying on their flagpole, we had drinks on the lawn, a 3 course lunch- 18 holes of golf, and more drinks.
It was another wonderful, exhausting day. Dinner at the Keg was the ideal finish.And so ended Stage One of our hosted tour of Canada.
When we rose early on Saturday morning to head to the airport, rain was threatening- but it did not worry us as we headed west to Vancouver arriving mid afternoon- giving us down time to shop, experience Stanley Park, or just wind down. Our little troupe of Travelling Golfers swelled this day as Gibsons & Hazeltines had made the short flight from Melbourne to Vancouver to join us for Stage 2. It covers Vancouver, Whistler & The Rocky Mountains.
Stage 2, Day 2 started with a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The bridge itself, and the cliff walk were brilliant!
Then it was back in the bus for the short drive to the very private Capilano G & CC, which rates in the best 6 or 7 courses in the country. We had arranged a match with members so our 7 couples played a variation on 4BBB matcchplay against 7 host couples. We did the polite thing and let our hosts win- but demanded a rematch! They put on a lovely lunch, and then we joined them for dinner as well. Capilano is a gorgeous course, our hosts were very accommodating, the weather was perfect- what's not too like?
After dinner we boarded the Travelling Golfer bus, and made a late night drive to our accommodation in Whistler.
On day 3 we had a sleep in before heading up the mountains on the Peak to Peak Gondola rides. Then we forgot how old we all are and headed out on the zip lines. Some headed up into the ether on chopper rides..
What a hoot!
Day 4, Whistler
Sunny, no wind, 34 degrees
Chateau Whistler Golf Course
One of the prettiest courses anywhere, but testing.
A black bear make a quick visit to our fairway, and whilst he commanded our attention he was gone in the blink of an eye.
Apparently he moves much quicker than any golf cart can...
Peter Gibson & Hank Den Elzen brought home the bacon with 46 pts..
Leaving Whistler early we boarded The Travelling Golfer bus for a very scenic 4 hr trip to Tobiano Golf Club. Relatively new, Tobiano has been voted the best course in British Columbia, and is carved out of barren hills overlooking a vast lake. The course is absolutely spectacular, and was an instant favourite with the Travelling Golfers. It was boys v girls again today and the boys prevailed this time. The victory dance was one of relief for having finally chalked up a boys win.
Tobiano Golf Course is a Travelling Golfer 'must play'.
Dinner at Tobiano was a treat, and then off in the bus again to our accommodation at Sun Peaks
All agreed it was a special day...
On Day 6 we left our accommodation at Sun Peaks Resort and headed toward Jasper. We stopped for lunch and took the Blue River Bear Cruise. We spotted 3 black bears- swimming, eating berries, and ambling along the shoreline.
Then it was back in the bus to head deep into the Rockies to Jasper. We stopped for a brief photo stop at the Mt Robson park sign. Our destination was the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge- one of the beautiful places to stay in the world...
On day 7 we got active playing Jasper Park golf course- designed by Stanley Thompson- and rated as one of the 10 best courses in Canada. It is not overly long, and not really a course that would challenge the professionals- but it is cleverly designed using surrounding mountains as a focus, and just a lovely place to play in a majestic setting. Holes 14-16 are set on a peninsula by the lake and are the highlight...
We headed out to Maligne Lake and boarded the lake cruise which is rated one of the best in the world. The destination was Spirit Island- a most picturesque part of the lake where we all took the mandatory pics.
In doing so we launched into an impromptu Travelling Golfer promo: "We take you places!"
Then we boarded the bus for Maligne Canyon where the more active viewed the torrent below from 4 bridges.
We got back to Jasper Park mid afternoon and the group split to undertake some of the different activities available in the resort. Some played evening golf, some rode bikes, or went for a swim, some walked, some went horse riding- all had a great day!
Sadly we departed Jasper as our Travelling Golfer bus headed down the Icefields Parkway- one of the most famous roads in the world. Our first stop was the Athabasca Falls- where the raging torrent has carved it's way through the rock...
Then a very special activity as we boarded the unique glacier buses and drove up on to Athabasca Glacier. A very cool experience!
Our next stop was Lake Louise where we agreed the Chateau Lake Louise was an ugly building, but the lake and glacier were anything but...
We took lots of photos.
Our last stop for the day was the picturesque Moraine Lake- then off to Banff!
Banff Springs GC
After a morning off we headed to the famous Banff Springs GC for the final showdown in the golf tournament. The Pulls McNulty trophy has been been played all over the world over nearly 3 decades, so who was going to stand up in the final round?
We had been conditioned to fine sunny weather over a number of weeks with temperatures ranging from mid 20’s to 30’s- but this day the weather gods played a different card- the actual temperature while we were playing was 9 degrees but with drizzling rain, and a significant wind chill factor it felt like 3 degrees…
The course is surrounded by mountains , and by the end of the day they were painted in white with snowfall.
The golf course has ever been rated one of the top 8 in Canada, and is a good test of golf, and very pretty. The club claims that the par 3 fourth hole named ‘Devil’s Cauldron is one of the top 18 holes in the world! It is certainly an impressive hole.
But it is not the only great hole with holes 8, 9, 10, 12 & 15 super holes along the Bow River.
Another highlight was seeing the elk grazing around the course.
Banff Springs Golf Club is a Travelling Golfer 'must play'
In the end of the day Hank Den Elzen stood up in the wintry conditions to record an emphatic win for the day and for the tournament. Daylight was second. Well done Hank!!!
After golf we dined in the clubhouse and celebrated a special birthday with a special lady
Up early we headed to Johnson Canyon, and headed along the catwalk in the canyon to the lower falls. Then we checked out the iconic Banff Springs hotel, and Lake Minnewanka ( which we all had our own way of pronouncing. The Canadian pronunciation sounded a little like Willy Wonka, but our way of saying it was a little different…
Then the big finish to the trip, as we made our way to Kananaskis for the white water rafting. More than a few of our crew were a little jumpy about the prospect, but to their credit they all donned the fashionable wetsuits, booties etc and strapped in for a very wet and adventurous couple of hours on the river. There was lots of splashing, laughter, and some rated it as a highlight of the trip.
All agreed it was just great fun
And that was that. The golfing trip across Canada was behind us.
At dinner the highlights of the trip were discussed, and it was interesting to note that the choices ranged from golf courses, sightseeing activities, and the camaraderie of the group.
It was certainly a memorable trip!
Peter & Heather Wood
The Travelling Golfers
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