Vancouver Island is famous for spectacular golf courses (more than 40 in total), but the pinnacle is a Golf Trail with the Top 12 Champion Courses packed into a span of 250 kilometres (155 miles), which takes you putting from Victoria, in the South of the Island to the Campbell River, in the North. With Oceans frequently on one side of you while you play and snowcapped mountains on the other, as background scenery, you can’t go wrong no matter which course, or courses, you choose to play.
I thought it might be fun to see what separates the Top 12* Courses that make up the Vancouver Island Golf Trail and learn a bit about their defining features.
*NEW – A 13th golf course has been announced since the original release of this article. See below for more details!
Southern Vancouver Island Golfing
Olympic View Golf Club
As we start out in the south, in Victoria with the Olympic View Golf Club, allow me to paint a picture for you; the 5th Hole has the Olympic Mountains in view, the 17th Hole has what is referred to as the Signature Waterfall – it is breathtaking and a not to be missed moment, and one that tells me this is no ordinary day of golfing. Olympic View also offers the Japanese Garden, the Deer Crossing, Forester’s Bistro & Bar, which serves some of the best food on Vancouver Island, but honestly, they had me at the Signature Waterfall at the 17th Hole.
Highland Pacific Golf
As we begin to head north we next visit Highland Pacific Golf with it’s amazing scenic view of the forest, the Mountains, Victoria and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Regarded as one of the gems of the Golf Trail Highland Pacific displays rich, wide, rolling fairways, lush greens, with significant changes in elevation to challenge you. Retire to the clubhouse’s patio after you play and try one of Vancouver Island’s microbrews.
Bear Mountain Resort Mountain Course & Bear Mountain Resort Valley Course
The next two Courses on Vancouver Island are actually a double-header: Bear Mountain Resort Mountain Course & Bear Mountain Resort Valley Course. Bear Mountain is the only Club to have both it’s classic Mountain and a new Valley Course, as well as the only 36 holes of ‘Nicklaus Design’ golf in Canada. Still challenging, the Valley Course will in all likelihood be considered a ‘kindlier’ version the Bear Mountain Courses. Panoramic ocean, city and mountain views abound.
Arbutus Ridge Golf Club
Following a scenic drive from either the Victoria or Nanaimo areas, we come upon Arbutus Ridge Golf Club in Cobble Hill, well-known for very fine wineries. Ten minutes from the cultural city of Duncan, this charming country setting will stay with you long after you leave. Utmost in your mind will be 3 of the most demanding finishing holes on Vancouver Island, but not to worry, you can relax afterwards with West Coast contemporary fare at The Satellite Bar & Grille. And for the Ecologically minded Arbutus Ridge has a Greening Committee to preserve and protect the environment.
Cowichan Golf and Country Club
The Cowichan Golf and Country Club is a dream course. Created in 1947 by a legendary architect A.V. Macan, the course sits half way between Victoria and Nanaimo overlooking both the mountains and Cowichan Bay. This lovely course is best-known for it’s extremely challenging eleventh hole, which some say “is the toughest par four on the entirety of Vancouver Island.” Between clearing a ravine avoiding the out-of-bounds zones, the big trees, an elevated green, a wide gully and water on 2 sides, this is a truly memorable golfing experience.
Meadows Golf & Country Club
Built on farmland at the foot of Mount Provost, Duncan Meadows Golf & Country Club is known to be one of Vancouver Island’s best kept secrets. A singular structure without houses impinging on the property, this has been designed solely for the golfer. I hear the greens are deliciously challenging and with recent upgrades Duncan Meadows is now even more irresistible.
Central Vancouver Island Golfing
Fairwinds Community & Resort
Fairwinds Community & Resort , the crown jewel of central Vancouver Island, is a Golf Course, Residential Community, Fitness & Recreation Centre, with Restaurant and Lounge, nestled into the Nanoose Peninsula. With spectacular views of the Georgia Strait, this complex was designed by the renown Golf Course Architect Les Furber to compliment the natural beauty of the land. Described as a “thinking golfer’s” course, you’ll enjoy the simple beauty of the immaculately cared for property.
Morningstar Golf Course
Morningstar Golf Course, cited as one of the most beautiful and challenging courses, is set in Parksville just north of Nanaimo in central Vancouver Island. Morningstar will create custom designed programs for all your golfing needs and attracts golfers of all levels of abilities. In this classic Les Furber design Cedar and Pine work together creating a warm and traditional environment. Morningstar has grass tees on their practice range, covered stalls for rainy days and 3 practice greens so you can play no matter what the weather has in store.
Pheasant Glen Golf Resort
The Pheasant Glen Golf Resort is home to spectacular views of Mount Arrowsmith. The course’s signature 17th hole ends with a layered green surrounded by water. Not surprisingly this course exists in Qualicum Beach, a small delightful beach community just a short drive from Nanaimo. Artisans, local restaurants and stores, beautiful beaches and kind weather, are just a few of the perks that entice golfers to visit Vancouver Island year after year.
Northern Vancouver Island Golfing
Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community
Travelling to Courtney we discover the Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community, a world-class destination golf resort, with a 48,000 square-foot clubhouse. Near Comox Glacier and the Beaufort Mountains, Crown Isle is also one of the Islands top Ski Resorts. The Crown Isle has been called ‘deceptively forgiving’ but don’t be fooled into thinking this Course won’t challenge a seasoned player. I understand the fourth hole will really test you, that the 5th has to be played very smartly and the signature 18th makes this a course you’ll want to play again. The 48,000-square foot Club House hosts a classic car museum (now that sounds like fun), and a cigar and cognac room in addition to a pub and steak house.
The Storey Creek Golf & Recreation Society
The 12th stop on the Trail is the Storey Creek Golf & Recreation Society. Just south of Campbell River in Northern Vancouver Island, this is truly unique in it’s particular cooperation with the local wildlife. Story Creek’s motto is ‘A Course In Nature’. And it’s easy to see why when you know the course was designed in the midst of a forest, each hole surrounded by it’s own grove of trees. Keeping with it’s roots, I hear that the players hold their shots while deer and bears cross the fairway. Also to be enjoyed are the eagles splashing in the freshwater pond and the spawning salmon passing through the Creeks en route to the sea. Golfer’s flock to this Club. It’s a great course and a special experience, one you won’t soon forget. By the way, the 2nd Hole has a Moat – you don’t hear that everyday do you?
NEW – Campbell River Golf & Country Club
This 13th and brand new stop on the Golf Trail is the Campbell River Golf & Country Club. It was originally known as the Glen Alder Golf Course back in 1959 when it first opened, with a name change to Sequoia Springs years later. The only thing about this course that has remained the same since the grand opening are the majestic trees of Sequoia and Western Red Cedar that line the 18 hole fairway. Big additions are in the works for this course including a hotel, spa, restaurant, event centre, and a brand new club house. The great thing about this course is you don’t need to register to be a member in order to come and play. There is also a Driving Range with state of the art radar technology and Toptracer technology. Not only can you still hit balls to warm up for the next round, but also the Toptracer tech allows you to play courses all over the world so you can analyze your swing. You can also sit back and watch the game, and hang out with friends and family from the comfort of the lounge chairs. There are a lot of cool things to expect from this golf course. The grand opening will take place in the summer of 2018, however its restaurant, the Sandtrap Restaurant & Lounge, is already open and available to the public. Feel free to check out the course’s progress over a tasty meal!
I think it might be fun to grab your favorite foursome and golf your way across the island, playing one or two rounds at each club and taking in the sights of each unique and exquisite destination.
I hope you enjoyed our tour of some of the finest Vancouver Island Golf Courses and Golf Holidays.
Lets us know of others that you would recommend.
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