Where’s the best place to play golf on the West Coast? We’ll give you hundreds of choices.
Golferswest.com continues its annual assessment today of the Top Five courses to play within 12 West Coast states and British Columbia. The 25-part series focuses today on: British Columbia/Vancouver area.
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.
OPENED: 1993 (Architect: Robert Muir Graves)
GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check web site: golfbc.com/courses/furrycreek
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 (pictured). 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.
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.
OPENED: 1996 (Architect: Jack Nicklaus)
GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: golfbc.com/courses/nicklausnorth
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.
OPENED: 1998 (Architect: Les Furber)
GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: golfnorthlands.com
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, 558yards. 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.
OPENED: 1989 (Architect: Les Furber)
GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: golfbc.com/courses/mayfairlakes
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: TOBIANO
DIRECTIONS FROM VANCOUVER: It’s a 3 1/2-hour drive from Vancouver. Take Hwy-5 north to Kamloops. Turn left onto Trans-Canadian Highway/Hwy 97 along Kamloops Lake and look for Holloway Dr. Turn right. Course is on the left.
OPENED: 2007 (Architect: Thomas McBroom)
GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: http://www.tobiano.ca/
LAYOUT: Par 72, 7110 yards (four tee positions)
LOWDOWN: Designed by famed Canadian architect Thomas McBroom, who has a long list of top 100 designs in the country. Tobiano is rated the 10th best course among the top 100 in Canada and the highest ranked B.C. public course.
It’s located in the Six Mile Ranch area near Kamloops, adjacent to Kamloops Lake. McBroom used the rugged terrain to weave the holes in and around the gentle mounds and rolling hills. Each hole is different, some target golf some wide-open ranges. It offers a challenge, variety and beauty to any golfer. The winds that sometimes whip through the Thompson River Valley can add another dimension to your game.
SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 8, par-5, 589 yards. Your tee shot needs to carry a canyon to a relative small landing area, and a large bunker offers a disincentive to the long bombers. Your second shots – and third need to be fairly straight – certainly not to the right as a cliff will make your ball disappear into Kamloops Lake. Your approach to the green has to be precise because the green is at the end of a plateau with trouble right and long and bunker left.
– Bob Sherwin
TOMORROW: British Columbia/Vancouver Island