As a golf course photographer I’m fortunate to travel all around the globe. On my travels I experience many crazy, mind-blowing and beautiful things. In “The Sjöman Diaries” I will take you on a trip to see the world through my lens and also show some behind-the-scenes. I hope you will enjoy it!
A while ago I was hired to do an assignment at Cabot Links in Canada. I was very excited about this project since I had heard so many great things about Cabot Links & Cabot Cliffs, but also about Canada as an incredible golf country. Knowing that, I was also interested in seeing what else there was to experience in Canada when it comes to golf. So me and Johan (my assistant) squeezed in 2 days of golf before our assignment started in Cabot.
I was convinced that if I was in Canada I need to visit two very interesting courses in the state of Alberta. The perfect choice, or so it at seemed to us at that time, were Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course and Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course.
So, on the 11th of September we had pre-booked our tee times at Jasper Lodge Park and for the 12th September we had booked our tee time at Banff Springs Golf Course. I can’t describe how excited I was for this extra golf trip since I enjoy playing golf as much as I enjoy photography, and even if I wasn’t hired for doing any assignments at Jasper or Banff, I was excited to capture some photos and videos from these golf courses as well for upcoming projects and articles in the future.
We didn’t find the perfect flights to Calgary from Stockholm (go figure…) but what we did find was a 2 flight connection-alternative via Frankfurt & Montreal with an effective flight time (let me just point out: this extra route was far from effective ) of 17 hours in order to get to Calgary Airport. Once we arrived in Calgary we hired a big Land Rover and off we went. Driving 5 hours in the middle of the night straight up to Jasper Park Lodge. Johan drove the first part, after 25 minutes we saw a big flash and we instantly understood we were caught on a speed camera.. We found out later that the incident set us back 174 Canadian Dollars, thank you very much.
As we drove the last 3,5 hours we didn’t see a single car on the road up to Jasper. While we made a short stop, we had the feeling that the elks and bears were hiding in the woods were watching us while we peed. Scary and very stressful!
Winter is coming
At last we arrived at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge around 5:30 am in the morning, it was still dark outside. Then it looked like it started to rain a bit there. No wait, said Johan quickly: “It can’t be snowing, right?”
But yes indeed, it started to snow this septemberday in Jasper. In fact, just minutes after this it was snowing like crazy. The weather forecast had said possible rain, but they didn’t mention anything about a snow storm. After one hour it was around 10cm of snow covering the whole golf course. The employee at the Proshop gently informed us that we ‘probably’ couldn’t play this day. He sure was right, the course was closed for several days after that.
1st Hole at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge , so close, yet so far away..
As we couldn’t change anything about the weather, we did try out the steam-sauna and the lovely outdoor pool at Fairmont Jasper Lodge Park Hotel. It was one of the best saunas I’ve ever had, however I will need to get back at some point in order to try Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge golf course.
We decided to have a quick tour and look at the surroundings and here’s a few samples of what we saw (yes, it was a bit foggy as well).
In the afternoon we drove another 3 hours down to Banff and started to believe in a possible golf round there. Does the story get any better at Banff? I will tell you in the next part of this story!