Banff Springs Golf Club: Telus Skins

By: E.J. (Ted) Hart

1st edition

ISBN: 978-1-926983-02-8

192 pages
12 x 10 inches
July 2011



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The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course hosted the Telus World Skins Game in 2006 and again in 2011.

Competitors in 2006 were representative of five decades: Sergio Garcia, John Daly, Stephen Ames, Greg Norman, and Jack Nicklaus. Golf writer Ian Cruickshank‘s fondest memory of the Banff Springs Golf Course is of the Skins event and the tee shots on Thompson’s famous 1st hole. “As the legends peered out over the cliff,” he recalls, “they began to grin like little kids on a Christmas morning. Mesmerized by the spectacular site, the fabulous fivesome launched their drives into the horizon and the golf balls seemed to rise as if they were helium balloons, eventually tumbling like shooting stars more than 300 yards down the fairway, as the gallery whooped and hollered in appreciation. As the group wound its way down from the cliff top to the fairway, it was easy to see why the Banff Springs is Stanley Thompson’s most famous work.”

Jack Nicklaus on the 6th hole in 2006. Banff Springs Golf Club
Jack Nicklaus on the 6th hole in 2006.

As a tribute to the earliest days of golfing in Banff, the five players used hickory clubs at the Devil’s Cauldron. Jack Nicklaus, who was most comfortable with the old clubs, hit a shot that settled under three metres (nine feet) from the hole. A spectator on the tee box commented that it sounded like it was miss-hit. Nicklaus calmly looked to the crowd and said he was between clubs and that he was going to “hit the extra club a little off centre to deaden the shot into the hole”—and no one was going to argue with that! A few moments later, Sergio Garcia, the youngest of the fivesome, fired his ball to the back of the green, from where it spun back and lipped out for a hole-in-one.

Paul Casey on the 7th green. Banff Springs Golf Club
Paul Casey on the 7th green, 2011.

In the first edition of the Skins, Calgary resident Ames won $95,000 on the first day of competition, and on the following afternoon, the crowd roared with wild abandon when larger-than-life John Daly sunk a birdie putt on the 15th hole to win $135,000 and then sealed his place as overall winner by claiming a $25,000 skin on the 18th hole. But the sentimental favourite was Jack Nicklaus, whose presence alone proved a memorable experience for all in attendance.

The Telus World Skins Games returned to the Banff Springs Golf Course on the 25th and 26th of July, 2011, coinciding with the release of our limited edition Banff Springs Golf Club book, which was presented to each of the five players. The 2011 Telus World Skins Game featured five Nike Tour pros: Anthony Kim, Paul Casey, Stephen Ames, Lucas Glover, and Jhonattan Vegas. Although Glover won five skins worth $125,000 on the 18th hole with an eagle, the event’s winner was Vegas, who won seven skins and took home $140,000. In addition to the prize money, Telus announced a donation of $375,000 to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

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