Golfing north of the border

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olfing clients in pursuit of a greater challenge next season should not neglect the best courses north of the border. In addition to stunning landscapes, these Canadian properties generally feature comprehensive packages and a long history of service to the resort golfer.

Agents should note that the Canadian golf season is roughly the same length as that of the northern U.S. states. In general, golf play at most resorts runs from May to early October, with longer seasons at properties that usually do not offer skiing. The following resorts are notable for their golf facilities:

• Gray Rocks, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.

Possibly the best sports instruction resort in North America, Gray Rocks has pioneered a lot of firsts. Located in the Laurentian Mountains northwest of Montreal, it opened the region's first ski trails (in 1910), first ski instruction team (1938), first golf course (1920s) and first tennis instruction program (1973).

A family-friendly resort, Gray Rocks also made a name for itself in the packaged travel trade. This property is credited for pioneering the inclusive ski-week concept and also coordinating on-slope lessons with apres-ski festivities to enhance group camaraderie.

Golf instruction and play are available on two distinct 18-hole golf courses named La Belle & La Bete (The Beauty and the Beast). The property's Eagle Golf Academy offers products that include a five-day adult school, a two-day adult weekend school and a junior clinic featuring a golf camp (one- or two-week sessions). All golf instruction is at La Belle.

For the 3-year-old La Bete course, packages include hotel lodgings, buffet breakfast, 18 holes of golf per day, use of the fitness center, two hours of tennis per day (in the value season), use of the marina and social programs.

Nightly prices started at $143 per person, double, on bookings from Sundays through Thursdays during last season. An updated price schedule will be available in February.

For more information, call (800) 567-6767. For group packages and bookings, call (800) 567-6762.

The par-65 Deerhurst Lakeside is one of two courses at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. • Deerhurst Resort, Hunts-ville, Ontario.

This resort and conference center, established in 1869, spurred the recreation industry within the province's Muskoka Lake Region. Originally accessible only via steamboat, it is located about a two-hour drive north of Toronto and features golfing through October. Professional instruction is offered at both the par-72 Deerhurst Highlands and par-65 Deerhurst Lakeside courses.

Besides golf, this property offers tennis, waterskiing, canoeing, sailing, kayaking fishing, horseback riding and mountain biking. Deerhurst features a wide range of accommodations, with five room and suite categories.

The property also has a spa, supervised children's programs and evening entertainment. The Tee for Two package, including accommodations, with a round of golf at both courses, is priced from $139 to $319 per person with a minimum two-night stay.

For more information, agents can call (800) 461-6522 or visit the Web site, at www.deerhurstresort.com.

The Fairmont Banff Springs in Alberta offers an Ultimate Golf Retreat. • Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff Springs, Alberta.

This well-known, 770-room resort in Banff National Park was first developed as a tourism lure for travelers taking the nation's transcontinental railroad. Completed in 1888, the property's style is reminiscent of a stately 19th century Scottish baronial castle. The fairways of its golf courses are especially notable, featuring an impressive mountain backdrop. This course was designed by renowned golf architect Stanley Thompson, who laid out the original 18 holes in 1928.

These days, Banff Springs represents Fairmont Hotels & Resorts' western Canadian flagship property and also contains a spa and conference center. It is located about a two-and-a-half hour drive west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada highway. The property features an Ultimate Golf Retreat package, offering deluxe accommodations, daily use of the spa and fitness center, three meals per day, golf academy sessions and 18 holes of golf per day.

Available from June 1 through Oct. 5, 2002, rates start at $724.00 per night, double. This package is restricted to adults only and includes gratuities. Banff Springs also features tennis courts, a bowling center, shops and various family services.

For more information, call (800) 441-1414 or visit www.fairmont.com.

• The Algonquin in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

Located in Canada's first seaside resort town, this Fairmont property is a 20-minute drive from the Maine border. In addition to golf, the Algonquin features tennis and squash courts, children's and adult recreation programs and fresh and saltwater swimming.

The property offers a Tee by the Sea package that covers two nights' accommodations, one dinner for two at the Clubhouse Grill, breakfast for two each day and one round of golf for two at its 18-hole signature course. Prices for the program, available year-round, start at $134 per person, double.

To book, call (800) 441-1414.

• Keltic Lodge in Inverness, Nova Scotia.

Keltic Lodge's Highlands Links course is usually ranked within the top 60 in the world and is perennially listed as a favored destination in Canada by most golf magazines. Located within Cape Breton Highlands National Park, this course is framed by a rugged Atlantic Ocean coastline and features rocky headlands, wooded glens, deep gullies and ocean vistas.

The resort, which dates from 1939, still offers some of the best accommodations in the province. Several golf and family packages are available.

For more information, call (877) 375-6343 or visit the Web site at www.signatureresorts.com.

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