By Carolyn Ali, Destination BC
With over 300 golf courses in British Columbia, it’s easy to find a place to tee up. The hard part is narrowing down where to go. To help you decide which region is best for you, here are seven must-visit BC golf destinations, and what makes each special.
Top Resort Destination: Whistler
Just a two-hour scenic drive from Vancouver, Whistler is Canada’s number-one golf resort for a reason – many reasons, actually. Along with playing four golf courses by marquee designers, you’ll find fine dining, shopping, and spa opportunities in Whistler Village, which is just as hopping in the summer as it is in winter.
Don’t miss: Big Sky Golf Club just north of Whistler, where drop-dead-gorgeous Mount Currie towers over the fairways.
Most Iconic Destination: Vancouver Island
Located just 15 minutes west of Victoria, Bear Mountain Resort is the only place in Canada that offers 36 holes of Nicklaus-designed golf. There’s both the Valley and the Mountain course; the latter is particularly challenging and has attracted prestigious events such as the PGA TOUR Champions.
While you golf, you can drink in mountain and ocean views and stay cool on the course. Vancouver Island’s temperate climate makes this a great base for other outdoor activities such as tennis, biking, and hiking.
Don’t miss: A few rounds elsewhere on the Vancouver Island Golf Trail, which consists of 13 championship courses along a 250-kilometre (155-mile) corridor between Victoria and Campbell River.
Most Popular Destination: Vernon
Located in the Okanagan Valley about 45 minutes north of Kelowna, Predator Ridge Golf Resort keeps golfers coming back. One reason? The fabulously dry climate: the golf season at Predator Ridge kicks off in March and runs to October.
Boasting 36 holes of championship golf, the links-style course is set amid rolling hills with views of Okanagan Lake. The area offers a broad variety of accommodation, including the Resort’s cottages, lodges, and pet-friendly suites.
Don’t miss: Health and wellness activities in the area, including yoga retreats and the nearby KurSpa at Sparkling Hill Resort, with its -110°C cold sauna.
Most Bountiful Destination: Kelowna
The Okanagan Valley is famous for its abundance, from orchards ripe with cherries, peaches, and apples to vineyards heavy with grapes. It’s also abundant in golf courses: there are 19 to choose from within an hour of your base in Kelowna. When you’re done golfing, you can go winetasting in the “Napa of the North” and tuck into locally sourced produce at winery restaurants.
Don’t miss: Harvest Golf Club, which winds through working orchards and provides hillside views of Okanagan Lake while you complete 18 holes of championship golf.
Most Laidback Destination: Kootenay Rockies
With lakes, waterfalls, and hot springs throughout the region, the Kootenay Rockies is no place to be in a rush. Not only does the Rocky Mountain scenery encourage you to gear down and relax, you’ll also need to club down on the golf course due to the high altitude, which makes golf balls fly further.
Don’t miss: St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino, one of the region’s 14 golf courses, where you can swing a club near the Columbia River, rejuvenate at their Silver Water Spa, or take in one of their indigenous activities to learn more about the region and its history.
Best Value Destination: Kamloops
Looking to make your vacation dollar go further? Green fees and accommodation in Kamloops tend to be less expensive than in other major golf areas, yet the city is easily accessible via a four-hour drive or quick flight from Vancouver. Located on the northern tip of the Sonoran Desert, Kamloops has an eight-month-long golf season.
Don’t miss: Tobiano Golf Course, which features a dramatic design amid the desert and scrub that challenges golfers with elevation changes and a tee shot over a canyon on the sixth hole.
Best-Kept Secret: Shuswap
Better known for water activities than land, the Shuswap is a popular houseboating and swimming destination. Venture onshore and you’ll get a different perspective of the area, its history, and culture.
Don’t miss: Talking Rock Golf Resort, which is located on the shores of Little Shuswap Lake. This relatively new course was developed by the Little Shuswap First Nations Band and carved from rugged terrain; look for panoramic lake views and local wildlife sightings. The Quaaout Lodge and Spa incorporates Aboriginal elements in its architecture and design.
Written by Carolyn Ali
Raised in Vancouver, Carolyn Ali seeks out the offbeat. She is always up for a new experience, from climbing an ice tower near Kelowna to tracking down the latest on BC’s craft beer scene. Previously the travel and food editor at Vancouver’s Georgia Straight, Carolyn is a Destination BC staffer and an award-winning freelance writer.