Columbia Valley Golfing
The Columbia River Valley supports many golf courses and is marketed around western Canada as a golfing destination. Aside from the excellent resort-style courses and stunning Canadian Rockies scenery, golfers here enjoy the area’s mild climate. Warm temperatures allow golfing as early as late March and as late as October—a longer season than is typical at other Canadian Rockies courses.
The 36-hole Radium Resort is a highlight of golfing the Canadian Rockies, comprising two very different courses. One of them, the 6,767-yard, par 72 Springs Course (250/347-6200 or 800/667-6444), is generally regarded as one of British Columbia’s top 10 resort courses. It lies between the town and steep cliffs that descend to the Columbia River far below. Immaculately groomed fairways following the land’s natural contours, near-perfect greens, and more than 70 bunkers filled with imported sand do little to take away from the surrounding mountainscape. Greens fees are $115 for 18 holes (discounted to $85 Mon. to Thurs.). The resort’s second course, the Resort Course (250/347-6266 or 800/667-6444), is much shorter (5,306 yards from the tips) but tighter and still challenging. It is nestled in the shadow of the Rockies to the south of Radium, circling the resort’s other facilities, which include accommodations, tennis courts, and many other exercise facilities. Greens fees are $65. Both courses have club and cart rentals, with the Springs Course also home to a driving range and teaching academy.
My favourite of the Invermere golf courses is Greywolf (250/341-4100). It is located at Panorama Mountain Village, a year-round self-contained resort in the Purcell Mountains immediately west of Invermere. Greywolf is a challenging 7,140 yards from the back tees, with water coming into play on 14 of the 18 holes, including the signature sixth hole, the Cliffhanger, which requires an accurate tee shot across a narrow canyon to a green backed by towering cliffs. Greens fees are $149, dropping to $99 for twilight rates booked seven days out.
Kimberley is home to Trickle Creek Golf Resort (250/427-5171 or 877/282-1200, greens feee $92 to 129), along the lower slopes of North Star Mountain. The layout features huge elevation changes (such as the par-3 11th hole, which drops over 20 meters/66 feet from tee to green) and rolling mountain scenery.