By Andrew Mitchell
With sweeping views of the mountains, unusual terrain that includes rocky outcrops, and a course design that is challenging and natural, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course recently made the top 10 of Condé Nast Traveler’s 2007 reader’s poll.
The course ranked seventh overall out of 100 courses with an overall rating of 92.3, including a 97.7 for course design, a 95.3 for pro staff, 100 for accommodations, 92.7 for service and a 92.9 for facilities. The only two scores below 90 were for food and dining, at 88.1, and for speed of play at 79.1. The latter probably has a lot to do with the overall difficulty of the course and frequent hold-ups caused by bear and wildlife sightings.
At seventh in the rankings, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler course is the top-ranked course in Canada. The Fairmont Banff Springs resort and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge courses made the list, in 54 th and 55 th respectively. Westin Bear Mountain Victoria Golf Resort and Spa was 60 th and Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka, Ontario was 78 th .
According to Lynn Gervais, Public Relations Manager for the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, the rating boosts Whistler’s growing reputation as a summer resort.
“Whistler is so well known as a ski destination, and there is so much room to grow and opportunity for capturing the summer market as well,” said Gervais. “Being (in Condé Nast) says so much about the quality of what we have to offer.”
The medium is also a compelling part of the message that Gervais wants to get out.
“Condé Nast is one of the most elite travel publications out there, and the people who read it are the people who do travel and come to destinations like Whistler. Their monthly circulation is just under 800,000, so it also reaches a large audience.”
The Fairmont Chateau Whistler has received other accolades recently. In June, USA Today picked it as one of its top-10 family golf destinations, citing the accommodation, shopping and other recreational offerings, as well as free golfing for kids. The Globe and Mail Report on Business also recently recognized the course as one of the best in Canada.
Gervais says those rankings are starting to influence travelers, although it’s hard to know exactly what impact they have had — especially given the generally poor weather that the resort has experienced through the spring and early summer.
“I’d say the exposure is having some effect and that people are trickling in, but it’s hard to say one article was the difference,” she said.
“We’re just putting a greater focus on our golf product and really trying to elevate the service we have and get more exposure,” she said. “We’re so lucky to have the products we do in Whistler with three great courses in town, not to mention courses like Big Sky and Furry Creek. It’s a lot for such a small area, and goes to show that there’s a lot out here.”
Family golf will continue to be a big focus for the Fairmont, and the course is catering more to families by offering free golf to kids accompanied by paying adults. They have also added new sets of tees for junior golfers to make the course more accessible.