Features

Golfing around... Vancouver

1 Apr 2006 by business traveller

WHISTLER GOLF CLUB

Where is it? 120km north of Vancouver.
What's it like? If you only have time to play one of Whistler's three courses, it would be a close call between this and the Chateau. The Whistler is the resort's original course, expertly fashioned out of the municipal dump by Arnold Palmer, but nowadays the fairways run between exclusive residential developments, so no trace of garbage remains. Although it is only 23 years old, the course has a nice old-fashioned feel with stands of mature red cedar and magnificent views of the ski slopes on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Buggies are included in the price, as they always seem to be in Canada, but Whistler is very walkable — flat with short distances from green to tee. Pause a moment at the 10th to check out the beaver dam in the creek beside the fairway.
Address 4001 Whistler Way, Whistler, BC.
Contact tel +1 604 932 3280, [email protected], whistlergolf.com
Price $99-159 (£48-78) depending on season, sunset $59-79 (£29-39), golf and dine (with buggy and three-course dinner) $89-129 (£43-63).
Can I rent clubs? Yes, $50 (£24).
Club hours Sunrise-sunset. Open May-September.
Minimum handicap None.
Facilities 18-hole course, par 72, 6105m, driving range and practice area, golf academy.
After golf Small clubhouse and terrace with a genuine golf club feel; the Palmers' Gallery restaurant offers simple fare (0600-2300).

BIG SKY GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB

Where is it? 40km north of Whistler, 150km north of Vancouver.
What's it like? Don't miss this remote club tucked away in the hills, a 45-minute drive from Whistler. Set in a huge bowl ringed with mountains and dominated by snow-capped Mount Currie, it's 500 metres lower — and noticeably warmer — than the resort, with no developments in sight. The course has a winding creek linking seven lakes, so don't get too fond of your ball. Even if you hang onto it on the stroke index one par 5 fourth (which requires four creek crossings) you might lose it in the long hairy rough surrounding many of the fairways. Buggies are provided, but this is a "must walk" for the wide-open spaces.
Address 1690 Airport Road, Pemberton, BC.
Contact tel +1 604 894 6106, [email protected], bigskygolf.com
Price Off-season weekdays $79 (£39), off-season weekend $99 (£48), high season all day $129-159 (£64-78), twilight (1500) $49-97 (£24-48), golf and dine $69-109 (£34-54).
Can I rent clubs? Yes, Ping, $45 (£22).
Club hours 0700-2130, April-October.
Minimum handicap None.
Facilities 18-hole course, par 72, 6402m, double-ended driving range and practice area, academy and 9-hole executive course.
After golf The Fescue terrace bar and restaurant, covered in flowers is hard to leave.

CHATEAU WHISTLER GOLF CLUB

Where is it? 110km north of Vancouver.
What's it like?
Robert Trent Jones Jr has designed a spectacularly beautiful layout using the wonderful terrain on the lower slopes of Blackcomb Mountain. The course, laid out in a large dogleg on two sides of Lost Lake, is hilly enough to be buggy friendly, especially as there is no requirement to keep to the cart path. It is also bear-friendly so take a camera and be prepared for some white-knuckle photo opportunities. As Whistler seems to double in size every five years, it is a treat to see nature untouched by real estate within five minutes' drive of the ski-in, ski-out Fairmont Hotel. The course is immaculately presented and a true test of foothills golf, with all the ravines, water hazards and rock faces that implies.
Address 4612 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC.
Contact tel +1 604 938 2092, fairmont.com/whistler
Price $59-195 (£29-96), depending on season.
Can I rent clubs? Yes, Taylor Made, $50/75.
Club hours 0700-sunset. Open May-October.
Minimum handicap None.
Facilities 18-hole course, par 72, 6067m, driving range and extensive practice area, David Leadbetter academy.
After golf A luxurious clubhouse with restaurant and a large tented terrace serving top-end food (0700-2300).

WESTWOOD PLATEAU GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB

Where is it? 45km east of Vancouver.
What's it like? A grown-up golf course, well designed by Michael Hurdzen and professionally presented. Unfortunately, Vancouver — a buoyant city, due to host the Winter Olympics in 2010 — can only expand to the east so the surrounding area is clogged with gruesomely aspirational suburban villas, some of them crowding the fairways.
The course is composed of segments, with one group of holes linked to the next by long drives through housing estates, a game plan that maximises real estate potential but minimises flow and cohesion. The welcome is exceptionally warm, although meeters and greeters dressed as jockeys can only increase the feeling of unreality.
Address 3251 Plateau Boulevard, Coquitlam, BC.
Contact tel +1 604 945 4007, [email protected], westwoodplateaugolf.com
Price 18 holes, buggy (mandatory) with GPS, breakfast and tee gift $160 (£79); twilight golf and dinner $80 (£39).
Can I rent clubs? Yes, Nike, $40 (£20).
Club hours 0700-1830, April-October. Closed November-March.
Minimum handicap None.
Facilities 18-hole course, par 72, 6190m, driving range and practice area.
After golf A large clubhouse with an extensive terrace overlooking the course (0800-2200).

FURRY CREEK GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB

Where is it? 50km north of Vancouver.
What's it like? As Shakespeare had it, Furry Creek is "a terrible idea beautifully executed", which begs the question whether it was worth doing in the first place. The course is awkwardly carved out of imposing rock faces on the shores of Howe Fjord, the most southerly of British Columbia's Norwegian-style inlets. The first hole is promising, with a spectacular drop over a raging torrent and a waterfall onto a fairway far below, but many of those that follow are frustratingly located between cliffs and drops, with an intrusive cart path bouncing perfectly respectable tee shots into oblivion. Furry Creek's unique selling point is a package that includes a trip in a high-speed Zodiac from Horseshoe Bay (shuttle or taxi from Vancouver) to its signature 14th hole, where buggies gather to take guests up to the clubhouse. The boat ride, which guarantees sightings of wildlife including bears, seals, bald eagles and cormorants, is a must, even if you give the course a miss.
Address 150 Country Club Road, Furry Creek, BC.
Contact tel +1 604 896 2224, [email protected], golfbc.com
Price Weekdays with lunch $69-109 (£34-54), twilight golf and dinner $65-95 (£32-47), all prices including buggy (mandatory) with GPS. Golf plus Zodiac trip from Horseshoe Bay and minibus return $149 (£73) (minimum eight people).
Can I rent clubs? Yes, $45 (£22).
Club hours 0600 to dusk, every day.
Minimum handicap None.
Facilities 18-hole course, par 72/71, 5509m, practice area.
After golf Treetops has great seafood (0630-2230).

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