A place where nature creates the adventure, and the architect just lets the surroundings take center stage.
There are times when a golf course architect needs to reach into a bag of tricks and get creative. Then there are times when nature creates the adventure, and the architect just lets the surroundings take center stage.
Like in British Columbia.
Natives of Colorado know something about beautiful golf courses, so they will appreciate the splendor of places like Greywolf in the tiny resort town of Panorama, Tobiano in Kamloops, and Big Sky in Pemberton. These, and their close neighbors, are among the most beautiful tracks in the world; courses where the quality of your ball-striking and the score you post probably won’t be what you remember most— unless, of course, you shoot 64.
The one exception to the “less is more” approach is Furry Creek on the Sea to Sky Highway midway between Vancouver and Whistler. Working for a Canadian subsidiary of a development company based in Japan (where it’s not unusual to find railways and pulley systems transporting golfers around courses built on severely-graded slopes), Robert Muir Graves created an extraordinary mix of holes overlooking magnificent Howe Sound that might not get the architecture aficionado’s blessing but which you’ll never forget, and which every golfer should experience at least once.
Furry Creek is owned and operated by GolfBC, the largest firm of its type in western Canada. Also included on its 12-strong roster are Nicklaus North in Whistler, Mayfair Lakes in Richmond, two courses on Vancouver Island and four in the Okanagan Valley. This year the company will be offering a number tempting stay-and-play and multi-round packages, and rolling out a number of initiatives aimed at attracting more beginners, juniors, and families—plans that include Quik Tees, which shorten each layout to roughly 3,000 yards, and from which kids can play for free with a paying adult.
I encourage anything that gets more people playing this great game. But beginners who get their first taste of the game in British Columbia—be it in the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan, the Kootenay Rockies or further north in the Caribou—may be disappointed when they play anywhere else.
For more info, go to bcgolfguide.com and golfbc.com