World class golf courses around the province garner rave reviews from pros and weekend players alike.

When Fairmont Hotels built the Chateau Whistler in 1989 and opened the famed Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course four years later, it was a sure sign that British Columbia had truly arrived as a world-class destination. Since then, the golfing boom has spread to all parts of the province, including prestigious Predator Ridge in the North Okanagan and the South Okanagan Golf Trail, a unique experience that encompasses four different courses in the Oliver/Osoyoos area.

Carved out of the Coast Mountains, the par-72, 18-hole Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club garners rave reviews from pros and weekend players alike. Director of Golf Nick Droulis says, “It’s a fun and challenging course for players of all levels. As you play, you’ll notice how nature dictates the path; traversing creeks, ponds, stands of ancient Douglas fir and ancient granite. The course gains and loses more than 400 feet of elevation, creating a naturally spectacular golf experience.”

Guests staying at Fairmont Chateau Whistler resort are entitled to complimentary, unlimited rounds of play on the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course on the same day of play following their initial paid round of golf, and unlimited complimentary access to the Chateau Whistler’s double-ended 350-yard practice and learning facility. Kids under 18 can golf for free after 1 p.m. on days when accompanied by a paying adult.     

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club offers fully licensed premises, menu packaging, patio seating with BBQ, beverage cart and a stop at the Bear House (accessed twice during your round) for refreshments.

Combining classic elegance in a modern alpine setting, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler defines mountain luxury. With 539 guestrooms and 32,000 square feet of meeting space, this mountain resort is the ideal location for a leisure stay as well as meetings and incentive programs. Located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, this award-winning hotel features on-site shopping at trendy luxury boutiques like Keir Jewellers, Mountain Galleries, Roots and Snowflake. Guests have access to the Health Club with its fitness centre, weight room, three pools, hot tubs, sauna and eucalyptus steam rooms.

Predator Ridge
Credit: Courtesy of Predator Ridge

Predator Ridge

World renowned for its sparkling blue lakes, dry desert climate and bountiful vineyards and orchards, the Okanagan Valley stretches 120 kilometres from north to south. Perhaps the most spectacular location is Predator Ridge, a height of land that separates Okanagan Lake from Kalamalka Lake southeast of Vernon (population: 30,000).

Predator Ridge boasts two of Canada’s finest 18-hole golf courses; the Predator course which once hosted Canada’s Skins Game, and the Ridge course, where holes are literally carved between granite bluffs. Both courses offer multiple distance options to enhance ease of playability without compromising on challenge.

There’s much more to Predator Ridge than playing golf, however. Ingrid Dilschneider, Director of Business Development for Predator Ridge Resort and Real Estate, says “the Predator experience starts with our staff who are incredibly approachable and friendly and who will look after your every need. Our lodge suites and cottages are luxurious but comfortable and designed to make you feel right at home from the minute you step in the door.” The resort’s extensive amenities include 25 kilometers of hiking and biking trails, a state-of-the-art fitness centre with 25-metre lap pool, and the only two outdoor yoga platforms in the region where classes are conducted overlooking Lake Okanagan.

Living the “golf plus” life at Predator Ridge is about to become easier, especially if you’re in the market for a vacation home. Dilschneider says, “We are about to launch The Commonage neighbourhood which will feature 27 acres of dedicated parkland, including a lavender meadow, tennis and pickle ball courts, dog park, children’s play area and more.”

Outside of Predator Ridge, a whole world awaits that includes multi-hued Kalamalka Lake, winery tours to Mission Hill Family Estate and the nearby Scenic Sip Tour, and biking the many backroads that weave between lakes, ranches, orchards and vineyards in the region.

Grassy golden hills and dramatic volcanic cliffs are geographic landmarks of the Sonoran Desert, which pokes past the USA/Canada border near the southern Okanagan towns of Oliver and Osoyoos. Conveniently located less than fifteen minutes from each other, four championship courses comprise the South Okanagan Golf Trail.

Ranked as one of Canada’s Top 100 courses, Fairview Mountain is known for its generous fairways and challenging greens. Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course unfolds through neighbouring vineyards and is always in superb condition. Osoyoos Golf Club boasts 36 holes of championship golf. The Park Meadows and Desert courses each dish out challenges in two distinct landscapes.

The South Okanagan Golf Trail is also in close proximity to Oliver, the self-proclaimed wine capital of Canada. Fairview Mountain backs onto Tinhorn Creek, Hester Creek and Fairview Cellars. Nk’Mip boasts its own award-winning Spirit Ridge winery.

There’s so much more to the South Okanagan than just golf and wine tours. There’s boating, swimming stand up paddle boarding and parasailing on Osoyoos Lake. By foot, on a bicycle or even in a car, the best viewpoint of the entire valley is atop distinctive Giant’s Head Mountain, located near Summerland. Culinary tourists will be wowed by Miradora restaurant at Tinhorn Creek and Terrafina at Hester Creek or the sunset dinner at SunRock Vineyards. Families can enjoy a tour of Covert Farms, while the Nk’Mip Desert Centre lets you get up close and (not too) personal with live rattlesnakes.

PGA Champions return to Bear Mountain on Vancouver Island

The world’s best over-50 golfers will be competing for US$2.5 million in prize money this fall at the second annual Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship, an official event on the PGA TOUR Champions circuit. Tournament play will be held on the Jack and Steve Nicklaus Co- Design Mountain Course at Bear Mountain Golf Resort, Victoria, British Columbia, from September 11-17, 2017.

The largest sporting event held on Vancouver Island will let golf fans from across Canada watch PGA TOUR Champions legends, including 2016 Defending Champion Colin Montgomerie, compete in this year’s tournament. And there is no shortage of interest from other PGA TOUR Champions players:

“It was a great experience. It’s a beautiful place. I think it’s a great golf course. We enjoyed our time in Victoria very much, and I’m looking forward to going back,” said Miguel Angel Jimenez, who finished tied for third at the 2016 Pacific Links Championship and who has already bagged a victory on the 2017 tour.

Scott McCarron—runner-up at the 2016 Pacific Links Championship—commented: “I love being up in Victoria. My mom is from near there, up in Kaslo, Canada, so we had some relatives come over and watch us play. Bear Mountain is a beautiful resort and a great golf course.”

Other big names that played in the 2016 event include Bernhard Langer, Larry Mize, Mark O’Meara, Vijay Singh, and Ian Woosnam.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.pacificlinkschampionship.com by clicking on the ‘Buy Tickets’ tab.