We all have a favourite golf course, inspired by our best round yet, a once-in-a-lifetime hole-in-one, the gorgeous scenery or a perfect round of sundowners that softened the blow of an imperfect round.
Whatever our reasons for playing favourites, they shouldn’t limit us to playing it safe.
There are so many incredible golf courses in British Columbia to choose from, including a handful of lesser known, lesser played, but no less challenging, hidden gems. Head off the beaten track – although hopefully not too much into the rough – to find your new favourite amongst these five BC golf courses.
Golden Golf Club
Who are we to argue with the selections of PGA Professionals when it comes to picking the top golf courses in British Columbia? So when they voted Golden Golf Club as BC’s #1 Hidden Gem in 2012 & 2014, Gold Medallist Kootenay Rockies Region, and #23 Top Tracks in BC, we believed them.
“Top Tracks in BC” Inside Golf
With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, the Golden Golf Club offers incomparable views. Some might even call it golden.
Views aside, the course offers two distinct designs, which somehow meld perfectly: Bill Newis designed the front nine, which opened in May 1986. Ten years later, Les Furber created the back nine – many say his finest 9-hole layout. The best part? The course has no out of bounds: if you can find your ball, it’s in play.
Did you know that the Guinness World Record for ‘The longest golf hole’ was played to raise funds for the Golden Golf Club to materialize? The four-ball of Roger Ross, Mike Ross, Lil Dewar and Muzzy Grecco played the 20.25-mile hole, stretching from Parson to Golden, in 271 strokes.
Salmon Arm Golf Club
The Salmon Arm Golf Club first opened for business in 1928 as a modest 6-hole course. Today, choose from two courses: the 9 Hole Heritage Course, and the 18 Hole Champions Course, both designed by Les Furber.
The Heritage Course is a unique challenge of Par 3 and Par 4 holes, great for golfers with varying levels of golf experience, making it perfect for business and community group events. The Champions Course has earned a place on the “must play” list of golf courses in British Columbia. Deadly bunkers and waterholes skulk beneath BC’s finest forest offerings – an impressive test of the very finest golfing skills.
Did you know that the Salmon Arm Golf Club is one of more than 2,300 courses worldwide that, as part of The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, are committed to upholding key environmental elements including wildlife and habitat management, chemical use reduction and water conservation?
Tower Ranch Golf Course
Thomas McBroom is renowned for designing courses that “play the land as it lies”, which in this case means an unbelievable 18-hole journey that takes you through daunting fissured valleys, orchard lands, and rugged outcrops. This is a “golfer’s golf course”, which many will tell you is one of the most beautiful and exciting courses you can play anywhere in North America.
Did you know that Thomas McBroom was the first golf architect to use bedrock as an element in course design, leading to a whole new architectural style in rugged and otherwise difficult terrain?
Squamish Valley Golf Club
Squamish… that adventure mecca you drive past on the way to Whistler from Vancouver. Do yourself a favour and stop next time for a fun-to-play round on a walkable 6467-yard, par 72 course in a setting straight out of a postcard.
Squamish Valley Golf, host to a Canadian Open Qualifier in June 2015, has five lakes and massive stumps from original first growth timber incorporated into the design. While nature does its best to best you, and calls for accurate shot-making, it does offer a sliver of hope to even those off their game: the legendary “Squamish Valley Bounce” has saved the best of golfers from crashing and burning.
Did you know that The New York Times listed Squamish “as one of 52 places in the world to visit in 2015”?
Storey Creek Golf Club
“Ideal. Flawless. Textbook. Impeccable. Unspoiled. Phenomenal. Sensational. Amazing. Stunning. Superb.” So says Diamond Bill Flower, a writer for www.CanadianGolfer.com. To inspire that level of hyperbolic approval, Storey Creek Golf Club must be quite something.
He’s not the only one to approve: Storey Creek was voted 2014 #1 Public Golf Course In The Province by the PGA of BC, and it’s been given 4.5 stars on Golf Digest’s list of Places to Play in North America.
Another Les Furber-designed course, Storey Creek has become widely known as “a course in nature”: set amidst old and second growth forest, players mingle with deer, hawks and eagles, while avoiding water hazards like beaver ponds and streams filled with salmon, trout and waterfowl. Black bears and cougars can even occasionally be seen on the course!
Did you know that those who’ve played this exceptionally challenging course insist you can expect to use every club in your bag?
Have you played any of these courses? Or do you have a hidden gem BC golf course of your own you’d care to share with fellow golfers? We’d love to hear about your experiences at BC’s lesser-known golf courses.