Vancouver's best golf courses

Vancouver's best golf courses
Among Vancouver's best golf courses is Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club (11th green above), host of the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Looking for the best in Vancouver golf?  Look no further than our list of Vancouver's top golf courses.

Golf: (n.) A game in which clubs with wooden or metal heads are used to hit a small, white ball.

Vancouver: (n.) A city of southwest British Columbia, Canada, on the Strait of Georgia, opposite Vancouver Island.

Prestige: (n.)Distinction or reputation attaching to a thing and thus possessing a cachet for others or for the public.

There are many beautiful and expensive places to play golf in the Vancouver. But which are the most prestigious? Dale Craniford lists them here, with expert commentary in italics from PGA of BC executive director Brian Butters.

Quilchena Golf and Country Club10. Quilchena Golf and Country Club
3551 Granville Avenue, Richmond, B.C. | 604-277-1101

Quilchena’s recent renovations will make the course very playable year-round. It’s a good test of golf that has hosted the PGA of BC Championship twice in the last five years. Good greens and a tight layout make for an interesting track. My ranking: 10th.

Membership: Initiation fee of $30,000 for gentlemen, $15,000 for ladies.

Waiting list: none.

Other: Quilchena is an 'original six' golf course, whose founders included the venerable doctor G. F. Strong. A recent $5.2 million renovation offers improved drainage and irrigation, plus elevated tee boxes.

Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club9. Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club
3251 Plateau Boulevard, Coquitlam, B.C. | 604-945-4007

Westwood Plateau’s vistas are among the most scenic in the Lower Mainland and the course is fun to play. Customer service has always been one of Westwood’s hallmarks. A striking clubhouse. My ranking: 9th.

Membership: Fully public: $169.00 for 18 holes

Waiting list: N/A.

Kudos: In 2002, ranked “Fifth Best in Customer Service – North America, Caribbean, and Hawaii,” by Golf Digest, and, in 2003, the Eighth Best Company to Work For in B.C., by BCBusiness.

Other: Westwood provides GPS on their golf carts, complimentary locker room service, golf-cart mini-bar service, two roaming beverage carts, and a helicopter pad.

8. Hazelmere Golf and Country Club
18150 8th Ave., Surrey, B.C. | 604-538-1818

Hazelmere’s food and beverage operation is among the best in the Lower Mainland. After extensive improvements, the golf course is very solid and regularly gets excellent marks from Canadian Tour competitors. My ranking: 8th.

Membership: $12,000 initiation fee

Waiting list: None; it’s a public/private club

Green fees: up to $65

Kudos: Ranked the best teaching facility in Surrey, according to a survey in Surrey Now. Other: Free rooms for corporate/charity events. Hazelmere hosts the only regular Vancouver stop on the Canadian tour, the City of Surrey Invitational.

Mayfair Lakes Golf & Country Club7. Mayfair Lakes Golf and Country Club
5460 No. 7 Rd., Richmond, B.C. | 604-276-4585

Mayfair is an honest test of golf and places a premium on accuracy off the tee. Its many lakes are in play on most holes; the course demand premium shot-making. A very serviceable clubhouse and excellent food and beverage operation make it a favorite for tournaments. My ranking: 7th.

Membership: $15,000 initiation fee

Waiting list:  None; it’s a public/private club

Green fees: up to $89

Other: Mayfair hosts weddings with amenities that include a heart-shaped island. Mayfair offers saleable memberships for members wanting to relocate, etc., and the course partners up with Golf BC to sponsor Kids Play Free programs.

Richmond Country Club6. Richmond Golf and Country Club
9100 Stevenson Highway, Richmond, B.C. | 604-241-3700

Richmond is the one true “country club” in the Lower Mainland, offering excellent golf, tennis, and swimming –  the full family experience. The course is very good, with its trademark inverted-bowl greens making it a real challenge to get the ball close to the hole. My ranking: 6th.

Membership: $32,000 for a single, couple or family.

Waiting list: Limited memberships are available.

Other: Richmond Country Club has exceptional experience in hosting tournaments, such as B.C. Open, BC Amateur (twice), Canadian Junior (2010). The pastoral course, open year round, was designed by A. V. Macan and calls for precise shot-making.

Northview Golf & Country Club 5.Northview Golf & Country Club
6857-168th Street, Surrey, B.C. | 604-574-0324

Northview’s two courses, the Canal and the Ridge, are extremely well conditioned and the practice facility and range are top notch. The Ridge course played host to the PGA event for seven years and earned strong praise for the quality of the layout and the condition of the greens. A spectacular clubhouse sets off an outstanding facility. My ranking: 5th.

Membership fees: Fully public

Green fees: up to $95

Waiting List: N/A

Kudos: Earned a PGA award for Best North America Food on the PGA Tour.

Other: A classic, 40,000 square-foot West Coast post-and-beam clubhouse. Golf legend Arnold Palmer designed the course. Northview hosted the PGA Air Canada Championship from 1996-2002, and is the Lower Mainland’s No.1 for charity events, including the annual Canucks tournament.

Vancouver Golf Club 4.Vancouver Golf Club
771 Austin Avenue, Coquitlam, B.C. | 604-936-3404

Vancouver GC is a fine course and an excellent club. The course offers an excellent challenge with some of the strongest finishing holes in the Lower Mainland. The members love their golf. My ranking: 4th.

Membership: $65,000 for men, $32,000 for ladies

Waiting list: Two years for full play

Other: A lavish $6-million renovation was completed in 2002, offering two par-three practice holes, a short-game practice area, a heated driving range, and a fitness center. Enjoy lush gardens and stately 300-year-old trees.

Marine Drive Golf Club 3. Marine Drive Golf Club
7425 Yew St., Vancouver, B.C. | 604-261-8111

Marine Drive presents a constant challenge to the golfer interested in pure shot values. The narrow fairways and lightning-fast greens demand accuracy and patience. While it’s not long, Marine can humble the strongest players. Marine’s members are among the most competitive in the Lower Mainland. My ranking: 3rd.

Membership: $65,000 initiation for men, $42,000 for ladies

Waiting list: Up to four years

Kudos: Marine Drive produced “Disco Dick” Zokol, an institution in Canadian golf.

Other: Perhaps the best maintained golf course in rain-weary Vancouver, Marine Drive offers serenity and beautiful river vistas. Designed by acclaimed A. V. Macan in 1922, tight Marine Drive still places a premium on executing shots.

Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club 2. Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club
4300 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, B.C. | 604-266-4141

Shaughnessy’s setting is spectacular and the course is one of the strongest in Western Canada. Its selection to host the Canadian Open twice is a testament to its quality. Feedback from touring professionals was outstanding during the 2005 Canadian Open. It’s a great test of golf. My ranking: 2nd.

Membership: $75,000

Waiting List: One year

Kudos: The clubhouse won a 1984 Architectural Institute of BC award for classic West Coast building design. Their staff chef was selected to cook for the IOC at the 2006 Torino Olympics. It was the site of the 1948, 1966, 2005 Canadian Open, and will be again in 2011.

Other: The A. V. Macan design is much esteemed by golf pros.

Capilano Golf and Country Club 1. Capilano Golf and Country Club
420 Southborough Drive
, West Vancouver, B.C. | 604-925-4653

Capilano is one of the finest golf facilities in all of Canada. With an awesome course designed by the legendary Stanley Thompson and a stately clubhouse providing spectacular views of the Lions Gate Bridge, the Coast Range Mountains and Burrard Inlet, Capilano is the shining jewel in B.C.’s golf crown. Word to the wise: get your birdies early because the course toughens up on the back nine. My ranking: 1st.

Membership fees: $80,000 for men; $48,000 (restricted) or $80,000 (unrestricted) for ladies

Waiting list: Eight years (men); 10 years (women)

Kudos: Ranked fifth-best in Canada by both Score Magazine and Golf Digest.

Other: Built in 1938 by the Guinness family, who also built the Lions Gate Bridge. Host to the recent World Juniors Qualifying Tournament.