British Columbia

A spectacular setting for the 14th hole at Furry Creek

NO. 1 COURSE: FURRY CREEK

LOCATION: Furry Creek, B.C.

DIRECTIONS FROM VANCOUVER: Take Route 99 over the Lions Gate Bridge and follow the ‘Sea-to-Sky’ Highway north. Pass through Lions Bay and Porteau until you reach Furry Creek. The drive is about 40 minutes.

PHONE: 888-922-9462 (web site: golfbc.com/courses/furry_creek)

OPENED: 1993 (Architect: Robert Muir Graves)

GREEN FEES: Range is from $59 to $89

LAYOUT: Par 72, 6,025 yards (three tee positions)

LOWDOWN: This may be a little shorter but that doesn’t make it easier. It’s a challenge because of precise tee shots and fast greens.

What you come away with is the spectacular scenery, mountains, lakes, firs and fauna. The course is closed in the winter, opening generally in May.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 14, par-3, 211 yards. There may not be a more scenic yet vexing hole in the country than this delicate par-3. The green is on the tip of a spit of land, water on three sides, rocky edges. Bunker on left, bunker in back. Breathtaking. You can bail out to the right but take the chance. Go for it. Take a picture and frame it in your man cave.

Nicklaus North in Whistler

NO. 2 COURSE: WHISTLER – NICKLAUS NORTH

LOCATION: Whistler, B.C.

DIRECTIONS FROM VANCOUVER: Take Route 99 north across the Lions Gate Bridge. It’s the ‘Sea-to-Sky’ Hwy to Whistler. Once you reach the city, take six traffic lights and as you travel over an overpass you’ll see the course on the right. Right on Nicklaus North Blvd.

PHONE: 800-386-9898 (web site: golfbc.com/courses/nicklaus_north)

OPENED: 1996 (Architect: Jack Nicklaus)

GREEN FEES: Range from $99 to $149

LAYOUT: Par 71, 6,961 yards (three tee positions).

LOWDOWN: It’s a breath-taking mountain course, with tall pines, snow-capped peaks and large bodies of cold water. It’s closed in the winter, opening in May.

The course has played host to events such as the Skins Game and the Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf.

SIGNATURE: No. 17, par-3, 226 yards. Looking into a mountain range with water on the left and behind the golf. Bunkers on right and left. Few holes in the world are as spectacular. It should be in a frame.

NO. 3 COURSE: NORTHLANDS

LOCATION: North Vancouver, B.C.

DIRECTIONS FROM VANCOUVER: From Hastings St., get to Hwy 1 junction. Turn left and drive north over the Second Narrows Bridge. Take exit 22 onto Mt. Seymour Pkwy. And drive east. Look for the course signs.

PHONE: 604-924-2950 (web site: golfnorthlands.com)

OPENED: 1998 (Architect: Les Furber)

GREEN FEES: Depending on the season, the range is $40 to more than $100

LAYOUT: Par 71, 6,502 yards (four tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Was voted the second best new Canadian course by Golf Digest when it opened in 1998. It was cut through and around a 100-year-old mountainside forest.

Water comes into play most often on the back nine. There are mountain views throughout the layout, in almost any direction you turn.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 4, par-5, 558 yards. Spectacular waterfalls on the left-hand side as you approach the green. Virgin forests on left. Fairways narrows near the green.

NO. 4 COURSE: MAYFAIR LAKES

LOCATION: Richmond, B.C.

DIRECTIONS FROM VANCOUVER: Take Hwy 99 south to exit Shell Rd., south to Westminster Hwy. Then head east to No. 7 Rd. Turn left and head north toward the mountains. The course is on the right. It’s 10 minutes from Vancouver Airport.

PHONE: 800-446-5322 (web site: golfbc.com/courses/mayfair_lakes)

OPENED: 1989 (Architect: Les Furber)

GREEN FEES: Depending on the season, range is from $55 to $89

LAYOUT: Par 72, 6,641 yards (five tee positions)

LOWDOWN: You can be distracted here by the views of North Shore Mountains. It’s a lush layout, rolling fairways, stately trees and fast greens.

Open year round, Mayfair Lakes has an abundance of lakes and waterways that come into play on 13 of the 18 holes. It has hosted many national tour events and ranks as a favorite among tour professionals.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 15, par-3, 203. You might get the feeling you are on an island. There is water almost around you. You have to hit far enough to clear the water on the left but too far and you’re in the series of bunkers behind the hole. The green is ample. Pin placement is key.

NO. 5 COURSE: SEMIAMOO

LOCATION: Blaine, Wa.

DIRECTIONS FROM VANCOUVER: Once you cross the border, take I-5 south to exit 270, Lynden/Birch Bay. Turn left onto Birch Bay-Lynden Rd. Turn right onto Harborview Rd. then left onto Lincoln Rd. Follow signs to the course.

PHONE: 800-770-7992 (web site: semiahoo.com)

OPENED: 1986 (Architect: Arnold Palmer)

GREEN FEES: Depending on the season, range is $35 to $90

LAYOUT: Par 72, 7005 yards (four tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Semiamoo is a semi-private club but is open to the public on odds days of the month. Nearby Loomis Trails is available for public play when Semiamoo is not.

Semiahoo is rated the third best course you can play in Washington, according to Golf Digest. It’s a tree-lined course with 67 bunkers and water in play for five holes. One of the Northwest’s most acclaimed teachers, Jeff Coston, has his academy here.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 12, par-3, 173 yards. You tee shot needs to be long enough to avoid the water in front and straight enough to avoid the water and a bunker along the right side of the green. Too far and the bunker in back will get you.

- Bob Sherwin