(C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

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! 

Jacob Sjoman

After an unexpected snowfall up at Jasper that left us without any golf or photos we quickly decided to head down south to Banff and Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course.

Before doing this trip we had read some great reviews on Leadingcourses.com and several of my friends recommended me to visit Banff so this surely felt like an upcoming bucket-list experience.

A scene captured during our way down to Banff. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

On our roadtrip down to Banff from Jasper we were watching some spectacular nature and discovering incredible places. We had to stop several times just to soak it all in, it surely felt a bit better in our hearts afterwards. No bears spotted but several Bull Elks and Coyotes.

(C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Around 5-6 hours later, which included a lot of quick detour-stops, we finally reached Banff and the Banff Springs golf course in late afternoon . The impressive clubhouse got some breathtaking panorama views of the course and while we were sitting by that big fireplace in the middle of the clubhouse it was just cosy as it can get. People were still out playing on the course this late afternoon and there was luckily no snow here (I didn’t believe I would write such a sentence before our trip in early September..) so we really started to get our level of excitement up for our upcoming tee times that we had booked the following day. 

After the dinner at the club we got back to our hotel and decided to set our clockalarms on early for the next morning well before sunrise in order to try to capture some nice photos of the Banff Springs Course before tee times

As soon as we opened up our eyes that following morning we directly saw a white layer of snow outside our windows and we had to remove a lot of snow from the car. Not a good sign, definitely not good at all.. Both Johan (my assistant) and I didn’t need to say a single word to eachother when we removed that snow from the car, we already knew there was a potential big risk that we wouldn’t be able to play at all here in our short trip to Alberta and knew we had our flights waiting from Calgary to Halifax leaving early next morning in order to start our booked assignment at Cabot Links.

We still decided to drive to the golf course and still try to capture some photos and get a status-update. It was quite foggy when we arrived so we didn’t even see the surrounding mountains that we had seen the day before, the temperature was around 0 degrees Celsius and there were snow flakes constantly twirling around in the air. 

4th Hole, Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

We asked the staff in the pro shop about their predictions and thoughts of playing golf that day. I guess we almost knew the answer, the course was closed at that moment and they didn’t know when or if they could open again.

The majestic views at Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

But only judging by the look of their faces when telling this wasn’t looking promising.

3 hours and 5 hot chocolates later the staff announced to everyone that it will be a shotgun-start for everyone booked that day at 12:10. Wow, finally some great news but at the same time dropping they dropped the hard fact that if the degree drops below zero Celsius and the grass gets frozen or snow stays on the greens they need to close the course again since play would damage the course.

We started at hole 5 paired up with a great guy called Mark coming all the way from Niagara Falls, he was out on a 6-week one-man-roadtrip with his Old Chevrolet van where he also slept in and he tolds us this was his highlight, Banff Springs Golf Course. I just love the passion he had for the game and he was later enjoying every minute of our golf round.

Mark Giganti who was out for a long journey playing some of the very best golf courses in Canada. Banff Springs Golf Course was his highlight (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Somehow the special atmosphere and the unique location created a good effect on my game and I was 1 under par after hole 13. It was totally unbelieveble to be hones, however the reality did catch-up in the end and we had to stop our play on the green of the 4th, our final hole.. Just before we were about to complete our full round the siren went off. For those who don’t know, the fourth hole is a brilliant looking par 3, even in Snow, but when that big horn sounded we had to pick up our balls and head back into the club house. The snow had unfortunately started to stay on the greens and we never picked up the game after that. 

Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

So with mixed emotions, I still feel I have unfinished business at Banff and I can’t wait until I get there again (in better conditions). But still, it was one of the most fun and magic golf experiences I’ve ever had. In some of the worst conditions possible. If you’ve ever get the opportunity – go to Banff Springs Golf Course. You are in for a big adventure, I hope we meet there.. on a sunny day!

Click here to read part 1 of The Sjöman Diaries


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