By Steve Young, Two Fairways Over
This past week I attended the National Golf Course Owners Association conference in Whistler, B.C. More than 230 golf course owners, directors of golf, general managers and operation personnel got together to listen, interact and be inspired.
I was fortunate to also attend a Fairmont golf meeting and spend 10 hours each way driving with Gregg Lown, director of golf from Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. As with most conferences, my goal was to leave with three solid nuggets of information I could bring back and implement into our operation to make us better the following season.
Before the conference began, we took the opportunity to tour the Fairmont Chateau Whistler golf course with Nick Droulis, the director of golf. I have never played the course nor seen all 18 holes. It was great to hear from Nick on the recent changes and ongoing improvements to the course and operation.
Located on the bench of Blackcomb Mountain, the course provides spectacular views and unique operational considerations with the elevation levels and shape of the terrain. The course climbs up 400 feet between the first tee and fourth green then traverses across the bench before returning back to the valley at the 18th green. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., although small in footprint, the course provides a challenge to any level of golfer with elevation changes and forced carries and greens influenced by the mountain more than their individual characteristics. I left knowing I have to return next year and play. The course is full of risk and reward and always distracting.