Things are heating up in Canada, and we’re not just talking about the weather. For some time now, the strong United States dollar has been worth around $1.30 Canadian, giving American travelers a tempting discount on everything from car rentals to accommodations to dining to, oh yes, greens fees.
That’s great news for fans of Whistler, British Columbia, which in addition to sporting North America’s top-rated ski mountain—lauded host of the 2010 Winter Olympics—is also a major destination for golfers. In fact, there are five amazing golf clubs in and around Whistler, all of which are open to public play including:
1. Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club: Ranked Canada’s 41st best course by national magazine Score, this Robert Trent Jones Jr. design helped forge a once-sleepy community into a burgeoning, four-season destination. The 6,635-yard, 145-slope back tee routing is a rollicking, par-punishing beast, enticing golfers with wide fairways, Douglas fir- and granite-squeezed shotlines and breathtaking views of Whistler Village. Headquarter your vacation at the luxurious Fairmont Chateau Whistler, which offers unlimited golf privileges for resort guests.
Above: Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club
2. Nicklaus North Golf Club: In 1998 this 6,961-yard Jack Nicklaus Signature earned early celebrity as a Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf host. Set on the valley floor with sumptuous views of Blackcomb Mountain, golfers are treated to a surprisingly playable challenge that has earned a No. 40 ranking on Golfweek magazine’s Best Modern Courses in Canada list. Overnight at the Four Season Resort and Residences for premium resort accommodations, dining, spa, easy access to the incomparable Whistler Mountain Bike Park and more.
Above: Nicklaus North Golf Club
3. Whistler Golf Club: It was in the early 1980s when Whistler debuted this 6,722-yard Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay creation (pictured at top). Lengthened and renovated in 2010, the tradition-laced, bear-conduit environs offer premium conditioning, golf academy, club fitting and the Village’s lowest-priced greens fees ($109-$149 CAD), plus a juniors-play-free option.
4. Big Sky Golf Club: In nearby Pemberton, golfing almost takes a back seat to the stunning views of 8,300-foot-high Mount Curry and a surrounding mountain landscape. Designer Bob Cupp did a masterful job, however, keeping players thoroughly engaged with a 7,001-yard routing that earns No. 33 on Score magazine’s top 100 national rankings. Player tip: Canada’s longer days allow plenty of outdoor recreation, so go ski or snowboard Blackcomb Mountain’s Horstman Glacier, open throughout the summer.
Above: Big Sky Golf Club
5. Furry Creek Golf & Country Club: Located on the Sea to Sky Highway about halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, this 6,025-yard Robert Muir Graves semi-private design is maddeningly tight and unforgiving. Regardless, the experience pays off handsomely with soul-immersing scenics like the 211-yard 14th, a dogleg-left par-3 sited on a fetchingly narrow peninsula on Howe Sound.
Above: Furry Creek Golf & Country Club
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.