We sat down with Gregg Lown, Director of Golf at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, for our latest Canadian Rockies Golf ‘Know a Pro’ segment. With the recent accolades collected by the course, we thought now would be the perfect time to catch up.
Gregg returned to Canada in January of 2014 after several successful years in the same position at The Fairmont Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Prior to that he also worked at marquee Fairmont properties in Whistler, BC, Acapulco, Mexico and St. Andrews, Scotland. With such a wealth of golf knowledge, Gregg provides great insight into the resort as well as his tips on how to make the most of your next visit to The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
1) The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has been named the No. 1 golf resort in Canada for 18 straight years. What makes the property so special?
We feel very fortunate to be at the top of such a list; one that accounts for not only the Stanley Thompson gem, but also the unique Rocky Mountain Lodge. Together they create a setting that people from all over the world enjoy and keep coming back year after year. The feel of playing a round here, no matter your skill level, is a unique experience. This is a course you can play for years and never get tired of – in fact we have folks who have been members since the late 50s. What makes this place so special? I invite everyone to come and find that out for themselves.
2) What’s your favorite hole at Jasper Park Lodge and why?
In only my first year here, I’m still learning the course and its subtleties. I know which holes intimidate me the most, but choosing one favorite is still to be determined. I appreciate the 11th, a par 4 playing directly towards Pyramid Mountain. It’s a straightforward hole with a generous fairway to make up for my errant drives, but even though it isn’t long, the green, with a false front and subtle breaks in all directions, makes it a challenge for all golfers.
3) Aside from the golf, what else would you recommend visitors see or do while at the resort?
In summer, there is no limit to the number of activities. Taking a walk around the property or hiking a mountain, for those more adventurous, are certainly great options. I’ve been lucky enough to go white water rafting on the Frasier River, which was a great experience. If you are looking for something more laid back, there is no better place than on the slope overlooking Lac Beauvert, relaxing in an Adirondack Chair and reading a book to help recharge the batteries.
4) What’s one golf tip you’d like to share that’s so simple it’s brilliant?
I have to remind myself of this almost every time I practice, but taking each putt as a straight putt helps you keep from guiding the club head and “steering” your shot with your hands. I like to pick a point to aim at, taking the slope and natural break into account, and putt towards that. You can pick a spot short of the hole for downhill putts and past the hole for uphill putts to accommodate for the differences in speed.
5) Who would join you in a “Dream Foursome”?
After only a few months here, I would have to include Stanley Thompson in this group. I gain a new appreciation for his work each time I play here and look forward to adding more of his designs to my list of courses played. On that same theme, I think both Stanley and I would enjoy playing with Old Tom Morris and getting his perspective on the game. Lastly, I ask Ben Hogan to join us. His determination and drive, his natural talent and even his business acumen in club design in his career are all areas I would love to discuss with him.
6) Who is your favorite golfer of all time and why?
The feats that Jack Nicklaus accomplished in his lengthy career and the period of time he played in was a turning point for professional golf. His record of wins, among the list of rivals he competed against rank, in my mind, at the top of the list of professional accomplishments. I remember watching him win the Masters in 1986 against all odds at the age of 46. I’m not one for stats, but that will forever stand out in my mind.