Crafted by some of the finest designers in the game, Fairmont golf courses offer layouts that intrigue the senses and challenge both body and mind. While many of the holes are memorable, the brand’s golf experts have identified the 18 must-play signature holes at Fairmont that are certain to make a day out on the links a little more interesting. These include:
No. 1, Fairmont St Andrews, Kittocks Course, 17th Hole, 502 Yards, Par 4
Commonly referred to as the “Home of Golf,” St Andrews is home to some of the world’s most memorable golf challenges. Though new (by Scottish standards) the 17th Hole on Fairmont St Andrews’ Torrance Course has earned its place among them. Designed by the late Gene Sarazen and winning Ryder Cup Captain, Sam Torrance, the course’s 17th Hole serves up rugged precipices and a topographic backdrop reminiscent of a medieval skyline. With the North Sea out-of-bounds on the right, and a menacing bunker on the left, it dares players to let a driver rip off the tee. Doing so leaves a second shot that typically plays 200-plus yards straight into the prevailing wind. Adding to the drama, there’s a 70-foot-deep gorge running along the front of the green, penalizing players who come up short. After that, it’s just two good putts on a rolling green for par. Easier said than done.
No. 2, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, 17th Hole, 332 Yards, Par 4
The only par 4 in PGA TOUR history to serve up a hole-in-one, this short par 4 is more difficult than that statistic would have one believe. Big hitters will be tempted to use a driver off the tee, but firm, fast playing conditions and a landing area that slopes towards the water along the left-hand side are cause for second thoughts. If the pin is back left, the approach to the green can be extremely precarious with the bunker on the right, and water to the left and rear of the green likely to take their toll.
No. 3, The Fairmont Banff Springs, Stanley Thompson Golf Course, 4th Hole, 192 Yards, Par 3
The picturesque 4th Hole on this Stanley Thompson-designed golf course is nice to look at, but don’t get too distracted. As one of the world’s most challenging par 3’s, Devil’s Cauldron, as it is known, best exemplifies Thompson’s love for the game and his mastery of design. Emerging onto elevated tees from hillsides of spruce and fir, players are faced with a boulder-filled glacial lake 65 feet below. Beyond the green, 190 yards away, 3,000 feet of cliff reach into the cloudless skies.
No. 4, Fairmont Mayakoba, El Camaleón Golf Course, 1st Hole, 554 Yards, Par 5
Home of the PGA TOUR’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, El Camaleón gives players a uniquely Mayan look right from the start where players encounter a gaping cenote, or sinkhole, in the middle of the first fairway. With white sand in front and mossy grass dripping over the limestone edges, this unique cave-like passage that comes out behind the second green is a natural feature indigenous to the Yucatan. It is the first of many such delights to be found on El Camaleón. Players must be careful to avoid the cenote with their tee shots as it can be in play. From there the approach to the slightly elevated green is well guarded and winds blowing above the tree tops can wreak havoc on shots.
No. 5, The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Stanley Thompson Golf Course, 9th Hole, 231 Yards, Par 3
Famed golf course architect, Stanley Thompson, married a taste of the past and his wicked sense of humor to render this unforgettable par 3, known as Cleopatra, as beautiful and as dangerous as its namesake Egyptian Queen. The ideal shot for this hole is to land short of the green and allow the ball to roll on. Missing the green right, left or long is sure disaster into deep bunkers.
No. 6, Fairmont Zimbali Lodge/Resort, Zimbali Country Club, 18th Hole, 442 Yards, Par 4
Wind direction dictates the best strategy for playing this lengthy par 4 and it varies with the day. The hole is a dogleg left that is well guarded with a series of bunkers. Long-hitters can be tempted to cut the corner but this is best done only with the prevailing wind from behind. Otherwise, it generally is best to play a draw from the tee. Doing so gives the player a number of risk/reward options for the approach to the green. However, players not able to dial up a draw on demand, will find plenty of room down the right side of the fairway. The approach to the green usually calls for a short iron. However if a stiff breeze is blowing from the Southeast, it may require a full 3 wood. The green is large and must be carefully negotiated as the slope on the right-hand side could very easily result in a three putt.
No. 7, Fairmont Mayakoba, El Camaleón Golf Course, 15th Hole, 153 Yards, Par 3
With unpredictable ocean winds and a strategically placed deep bunker, even PGA sharp shooters, who compete during the PGA TOUR’s Mayakoba Golf Classic find the 15th hole daunting. Designed by famed golfer Greg Norman, this par 3’s personality changes with the weather and rarely requires the same club from one day to the next. Despite its challenges, the hole is a charmer with a green set on a white-sand beach with the turquoise Caribbean Sea on one side and the mystical Mayan rainforest on the other.
No. 8, The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Sonoma Golf Club, 7th Hole, 192 Yards, Par 3
At its heart, the Sonoma Golf Club is a treasured core-golf experience set on 177 acres of rolling terrain highlighted by massive oaks, lakes and sweeping vistas of the Mayacamas Mountains and neighboring vineyards. The course’s signature 7th Hole is among the finest anywhere. The green is well protected with a stand of oaks crowding in from the left and bunkers both on the left and right. This lengthy par 3 requires a well-executed long-iron or hybrid for any real chance at birdie.
No. 9, The Fairmont Banff Springs, Stanley Thompson Course, 15th Hole, 475 Yards, Par 4
This was the original 1st Hole when Mr. Thompson created the golf course. Today golfers begin on an elevated tee adjacent to the hotel that is fully one mile above sea level. As such, players typically get great carry to the waiting fairway below. The shot is framed by picturesque Mount Rundle and must traverse the rushing Spray River. Though the landing area is generous, the beauty of the setting gives the shot a sense of drama that few holes can match.
No. 10, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, TPC Scottsdale Champions Course, 18th Hole, 460 Yards, Par 4
The sister course to the much-heralded TPC Stadium Course (home of the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management PHX Open), the Champions Course is one of Scottsdale’s true hidden gems, offering both exceptional playing conditions and a tremendous value. Indicative of its thrills, the Par 4 18th Hole plays due west with water all along the left side of the fairway. Any tee shot left of center will tend to run towards the water, leaving players with a difficult shot into the green from a sloping stance. The approach to the peninsula green is even more intimidating. Water comes in from the left, wraps across the front of the green and around the right side. With the match on the line, this hole is more than capable of making or breaking a player’s day.
No. 11, The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Chateau Whistler Golf Course, 8th Hole, 212 Yards, Par 3
The signature par-3 8th Hole at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course is known as much for its challenge as its scenic qualities. In typical Robert Trent Jones Jr. style, the landscape dictates the flow of the course with a large granite rock face to the right and a pond to the left of the picturesque green. With unimpeded views of both Whistler Mountain and the valley to the south, the background is just as beautiful as the green setting, making this hole an ideal stop to take a photo before carrying on.
No. 12, Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, 4th Hole, 535 Yards, Par 5
The tee box on this breathtaking par-5, 522-yard hole is elevated approximately 100 feet above the fairway, offering sweeping views of Chateau Montebello and the Ottawa River. It plays as a slight dogleg from right to left, and the green can be reached in two. However, players attempting to do so must contend with a small water hazard approximately 100 yards from the green. Adding to the challenge, the green is severely sloped from left to right, requiring a careful approach shot to the proper portion of the green.
No. 13, The Fairmont Kea Lani, Wailea Golf Club, 8th Hole, 216 Yards, Par 3
Every player discovers his or her own favorite golf hole at Wailea Golf Club; however, one of the top contenders for most memorable is the gorgeous 216-yard, par-3 8th Hole on the club’s acclaimed Gold Course. The view from the tee box is stunning with the ocean in the immediate background and the islands of Kahoolawe and Molokini in the distance. The large green is framed by coconut trees and white-sand bunkers. A remnant of an ancient lava-rock wall, called papohaku, separates the tee from the fairway. The tee shot is downhill with a prevailing crosswind from right to left. Players are cautioned to use enough club to carry the front bunkers and compensate for the upward slope of the green. If players manage all these elements successfully…they will enjoy a good opportunity for birdie.
No. 14, Fairmont Le Manior Richelieu, St. Laurent Course, 1st Hole, 482 Yards, Par 5
This beautiful, short par 5 holds more challenge than initially apparent. The landing area from the tee is generous, which puts players at ease and allows them the luxury of taking in the beautiful views of La Malbaie in the background. Despite its forgiveness, wise players will place their tee shots along the left side of the fairway as it gives the best look to the green for the deceptively difficult approach. No less than 14 bunkers lie between players and the green leaving little room for error if one should attempt to reach it in two. The green itself slopes towards the St. Lawrence River accentuating the break on putts in that direction.
No. 15, The Fairmont Southampton, Fairmont Golf Course, 5th Hole, 178 Yards, Par 3
The Fairmont Course, designed by Ted Robinson, at The Fairmont Southampton is home to the prestigious Bacardi National Par 3 Championship and is renowned as one of the best 18-hole par-3 golf courses in the world. Certainly its 5th Hole, a downhill, 175-yarder known as South Shore, is among the most beautiful and demanding par 3’s in Bermuda. Stiff ocean breezes and a sloping green make this hole seem almost magical with its panoramic views and unique ability to tempt and challenge players at the same moment. Club selection will depend entirely upon the wind speed and direction on the day of play.
No. 16, The Fairmont Southampton, Riddell’s Bay Golf & Country Club, 8th Hole, 330 Yards, Par 4
Riddell’s Bay Golf & Country Club, which opened in 1922, is the most historic golf course in Bermuda. It is a classic private club that has evolved over time and now provides one of the most thrilling and beautiful golf experiences on the island. Riddell’s Bay is just minutes from The Fairmont Southampton and welcomes play from Fairmont guests. The 8th Hole is characteristic of its charms. This beautiful 330-yard, par 4 is a dogleg right and the green is surrounded by water. With a prevailing left-to-right wind, this short par 4 is more than capable of challenging the game’s best players. Solace can be taken in the beautiful view it offers of historic Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.
No. 17, Fairmont St Andrews, Torrance Course, 17th Hole, 214 Yards, Par 3
The 17th Hole on the Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews is one of the prettiest par 3’s in Scotland. The ruggedly beautiful Fife Coastal Path (a hiking trail along the North Sea shoreline) as well as an ancient stone wall runs the length of the hole on the left with the North Sea stretching to the horizon behind the green. Players are wise to take an extra club off the tee as the middle of the green is the only safe target. Regardless of the outcome, the picturesque nature of the hole is sure to please.
No. 18, The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Stanley Thompson Course, 16th Hole, 380 Yards, Par 4
This is one of the prettiest holes on a golf course world renowned for its beauty. It’s a short par 4 that plays along the shores of Jasper’s picturesque glacier-fed lake, and it holds more challenge than is readily apparent from the tee. Even from the very back tee, the hole measures just 380 yards, but driver is not the play here. The landing area is narrow and gets considerably narrower the closer one gets to the green. Rather, smart players will use 3-wood off the tee and keep the ball as close to the center of the fairway as possible, avoiding the slopes and pine trees along the edges. From there, it’s a solid 9-iron into the shallow green and hopefully a chance at birdie. Contours left, right and rear of the green make for interesting chips should approach shots miss their marks.
For every level of golfer, Fairmont features energetic and enjoyable Golf Getaways that are sure to provide an experience to remember, both on and off the course.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, 800-441-1414, www.fairmont.com