Banff Springs Golf Club - 4th hole
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Banff Springs Golf Club - 4th hole
The par-3 fourth at Banff Springs Golf Club -- dubbed "The Devil's Cauldron" -- is one of Canada's most iconic holes. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Images
Heritage Point Golf Club
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Heritage Point Golf Club
Heritage Point Golf Club, located near Calgary, boasts 27 holes routed through pristine Pine Creek Valley. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Highland Pacific Golf Club
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Highland Pacific Golf Club
Highland Pacific Golf Club is a peaceful and pastoral trek on Vancouver Island. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Kananaskis Golf Club
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Kananaskis Golf Club
The beautiful Kananaskis Golf Club, currently closed due to the flood in 2013, is home to 36 holes of stunning mountain golf. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Quadra Island Golf Club
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Quadra Island Golf Club
The Quadra Island Golf Club is a charming nine-holer situated near Campbell River. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Radium Springs Golf Resort
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Radium Springs Golf Resort
Routed high above the Columbia Valley Wetlands, Radium Springs Golf Resort in the Kootenay Rockies boasts beautiful mountain backdrops on every hole. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Speargrass Golf Course
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Speargrass Golf Course
Speargrass Golf Course, located approximately 40 minutes east of Calgary, is a prairie links that finishes with a stellar run along the Bow River. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Stewart Creek Golf Club
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Stewart Creek Golf Club
Tumbling through a pine forest near Canmore, Stewart Creek Golf Club is a must-play in the Alberta Rockies. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Talking Rock Golf Club
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Talking Rock Golf Club
Routed near the shores of Little Shuswap Lake near Salmon Arm, Talking Rock Golf Club is one of the unsung gems in the interior of British Columbia. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Wildstone Golf Club
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Wildstone Golf Club
Wildstone Golf Club -- located in Cranbrook, B.C. -- features a rock-solid Gary Player design on a rugged swath of benchland. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Wolf Creek Golf Resort
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Wolf Creek Golf Resort
Designed by Rod Whitman (same architect as Cabot Links), the Wolf Creek Golf Resort is one of Alberta's best inland links. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Tower Ranch Golf Club
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Tower Ranch Golf Club
Soaring high above Kelowna, Tower Ranch Golf Club is one of the top courses in the Thompson Okanagan. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor

Canadian photographer Andrew Penner showcases the top golf courses in western Canada

Contrary to what some people believe, not every Canadian lives in an igloo. Nor do they eat maple-glazed donuts at Tim Horton's for every meal (but some try). And, news flash: They don't all commute to work with a canoe, or curl and play hockey either.

Some of them play golf. Actually, lots of them play golf. And Canucks living in the two westernmost provinces -- British Columbia and Alberta -- have, at their frost-bitten fingertips, many of the finest golf courses in Canada .

Make no mistake, there are outstanding courses in each of Canada's 10 provinces. For sheer natural beauty, however, it doesn't get any better than "the West." With jagged, ice-capped mountains, hot and dry deserts (igloos don't like those), stunning seaside stretches, remote rainforests, sparkling lakes, aspen-coated valleys, and beautiful, rolling foothills, British Columbia and Alberta are home to some of the prettiest terrain for golf you could ever imagine.

British Columbia golf

British Columbia, which is more mountainous and rugged than Alberta, is home to many of Canada's best tucked-away resorts and courses. The province is split into six regions with the Kootenay Rockies, the Thompson Okanagan, Whistler and Vancouver Island boasting the best collection of courses. Although all of the regions have outstanding golf courses, these four stand out as the most popular for golfers embarking on a junket.

The golf in British Columbia , especially in the smaller centers, tends to be relaxed, relatively inexpensive and often surprisingly good. Places such as Victoria and Campbell River (Vancouver Island), Invermere and Cranbrook (Kootenay Rockies), and Kamloops and Kelowna (Thompson Okanagan) immediately come to mind as places to explore -- with Big Berthas in hand.

Golf in Alberta

Alberta, which is considered one of the prairie provinces, has a bit of everything when it comes to golf. Certainly, the most famous courses are the historic Canadian Rockies layouts in the southwest section of the province. They include the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs , Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and the mountainous golf courses in Canmore . However, the province is also home to beautiful, gently rolling courses in and around Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer.

Alberta is also home to vast prairies peppered with some of the finest inland links-style courses in the country. The southern, central and eastern regions of the province -- this would include courses in Lethbridge , Drumheller and Medicine Hat -- are flavored with a down-home, rural brand of golf that certainly captures Canada's "Western" ways.

Not surprisingly, many of these courses are highly photogenic. Based in Calgary, I've had an opportunity to photograph many of the top courses in western Canada. Here is just a small sampling of some of the "best of the West!

Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta. His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout North America and Europe. You can see more of his work at www.andrewpenner.com.
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