Buffalo Bill once said “I could never resist the call of the trail.” A man after our own hearts. Because while we don’t know if Buffalo Bill ever tried his hand at golf (probably not – he was no doubt too busy hunting bison and all), we do know he had the right attitude for the game: as golfers, we too can never resist the call of a good trail. Especially when it comes linked by fairways and dotted with greens!
Here in British Columbia we are quite spoiled for choice when it comes to golf trails. Three golf trails; 27 golf courses; over 450 kilometres / 280 miles of golf-course-riddled, breathtaking scenery… all of which add up to just one thing: hours of absolutely fantastic golf.
So lace up your golf shoes, grab your clubs and your A-game, and add ‘Trailblazer’ to your golfing resume.
Vancouver Island Golf Trail
Did you know that Vancouver Island has been ranked as the Top North American Island by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine for eight years? More to the point, though, did you know that there are 250 kilometres/155 miles, covering 12 golf courses, of golf trail to be conquered? Pacific golfing paradise, here we come!
Start at mile zero in the historic city of Victoria – home to BC’s capital and five nearby golf courses. Once you’ve played a round – or five – take some time to explore all the fine food, culture and hospitality Victoria has to offer. Now head north, next stop the Cowichan Valley, where golf and grapes make quite the playing partners. You’ve heard of food and wine pairings, now’s your chance to pair golf and wine!
Keep moving up the coast towards Parksville and Qualicum Beach, where sweeping coastal views will inspire you to slow down, exhale and golf on island time. Rev things up again for the final stretch to Campbell River and the very top of the Vancouver Island Golf Trail – 250 kilometres from where you started. Here, you will find golfing in its wildest form – prepare to commune with nature, both on and off the course!
With all the golf and après golf activities available on this trail, you will need a minimum of six nights and six rounds to truly experience this coastal treasure of a trail! It’s a tough life, but somebody’s gotta golf it!
Insider tip Plan for a few extra hours in Victoria to hit up a trail of a different kind: The Victoria Ale Trail is not to be missed!
Columbia Valley Golf Trail
If you prefer mountains to beaches, leave sea level and head for the heights of British Columbia’s Rocky Mountains, where you will find the Columbia Valley Golf Trail. This trail gives you the most golf in the shortest amount of time: explore eight golf courses on a route just 35 minutes and 39 kilometres or 24 miles from end to end. Much like the Columbia River that winds its way through the region, you can expect twists and turns aplenty on the trail courses, providing you with many wonderful hours of golfing.
Each of the eight courses on the Columbia Valley Golf Trail offers a unique golfing experience, from rugged mountain play to open pastoral settings with the challenge of roughly hewn bunkers, wildlife, hills and ravines. All capped with snowy mountaintop views. Speaking of which, you’re also in a unique position to live the mountain lifestyle: come golfing season, ski chalets turn mountainside golf escapes. Soak your surroundings up in your condo’s private hot tub, or, better yet, take advantage of another of the region’s unique offerings: the Columbia Valley Golf Trail is hot springs central! While us golfers may not know the aches and pains that Buffalo Bill experienced from riding horse all day long, all that golfing can mean sore muscles. You’re in the perfect place to alleviate that! Play golf all day then soak away the day’s exertions at the historic hot springs at the Fairmont or Radium Resorts. Can we get an ‘Aaaaaahhhh’?
Insider tip Be prepared to club down… This is mountain golf, and the ball is going to fly! (If you’ve ever played here or in the Colorado Rockies you’ll know what we mean.)
Kootenay Golf Trail
Trail blazing doesn’t need to see you going down in a blaze of glory – or manic round after round after round. If your style of life – and golfing – is more laid back, then we’ve got the perfect destination for you. Welcome to the Kootenay Golf Trail – a 166-kilometre/100-mile string of BC’s “Hidden Gems”.
Nestled in the Selkirk Mountains in the West Kootenays, running parallel to the southernmost border of British Columbia, the region is home to nearly two dozen golf courses, seven of which form the Kootenay Golf Trail.
You’ll find the pace here a little more relaxed, a little less stressed, a lot more friendly. Take the time to enjoy every moment of each round; meander along the trail letting the splendid views seep into your soul; stop to rummage the fruit, farm and antique markets along the way; chat with the friendliest locals you ever met over between-rounds coffee. There are treasures along this trail – golfing and otherwise. Give yourself the time to unearth them.
Insider tip For all the laid back atmosphere of the West Kootenays, don’t be fooled into completely letting your guard down on the course. Use the serenity to channel up your A-game: the seven courses of the Kootenay Golf Trail have collectively hosted more than 20 provincial championships. Challenging golf is a given.
The playwright Harold Segall once said, “Golf is not just an exercise; it’s an adventure, a romance…” Never has that been more true than when blazing a trail on one of British Columbia’s golf trails. Adventure is calling. Pick up the phone.