Van­cou­ver Is­land Golf Trail has some­thing for ev­ery­one

Golf Today Northwest - - News - By HAL QUINN

It is one of the most dra­matic, and beau­ti­ful, view­points in golf. From a moun­tain ledge the panorama en­com­passes the sparkling deep blue of the Juan de Fuca Strait as the en­tire in­ner har­bor comes into fo­cus; then the rolling green hills be­yond give way to the tips of the San Juan Is­lands and the dis­tant peaks of the Olympic Penin­sula on the hori­zon. It is a spec­tac­u­lar sight wor­thy of a few cold bev­er­ages at the finest of 19th holes. But this perch over­look­ing Vic­to­ria, Bri­tish Columbia, is a 19th hole you play. The dra­matic vista un­folds above the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal from the green of an ex­tra hole on the ex­tra­or­di­nary Bear Moun­tain Re­sort Com­mu­nity Moun­tain Course, just one of more than 50 golf cour­ses – from pitch and putts to cham­pi­onship lay­outs – that grace Van­cou­ver Is­land. This mas­sive 12,355-sq. mile isle tucked off the coast of south­west­ern Bri­tish Columbia and north­west­ern Wash­ing­ton State has some­thing for ev­ery vis­i­tor, es­pe­cially golfers. What Van­cou­ver Is­land also has – aside from

easy ac­cess from the rest of the Pa­cific North West via wa­ter or air – is an in­cred­i­ble va­ri­ety of off course ac­tiv­i­ties and dis­trac­tions that make it ideal for guys only, gals only, and guys and gals golf get­aways. From the in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned Grotto Spa at Tigh-na-mara, the un­for­get­table Butchart Gar­dens to winer­ies and craft brew­eries, hik­ing and bik­ing trails, tro­phy fish­ing, whale watch­ing, race car driv­ing, ocean swim­ming and beach blan­ket re­lax­ing, they all roll out en­tic­ingly along the Van­cou­ver Is­land Golf Trail. Although the Trail con­nects a baker’s dozen of ter­rific cour­ses and any spot along the way is a fine start­ing point, Vic­to­ria is very con­ve­nient for most vis­it­ing play­ers. Its ex­cel­lent restau­rants and brew pubs (there are 25 craft brew­eries on the Is­land), mu­se­ums, gal­leries, and the his­toric par­lia­ment build­ings alone make it a place where vis­i­tors love to linger. If you are lucky enough to be in Vic­to­ria Au­gust 6th you and about 10,000 new friends can en­joy the 28th an­nual Sym­phony Splash con­cert by the Vic­to­ria Sym­phony Or­ches­tra per­form­ing on a float­ing stage in the nat­u­ral am­phithe­ater of the city’s in­ner har­bor. (If you’re ar­riv­ing by your own boat, make a reservation at http://www.gvha.ca/mari­nas-fa­cil­i­ties/ mari­nas/reser­va­tions/splash) When golf first ar­rived on the Is­land, Vic­to­ria was hardly the bustling port city of more than 80,000 it is now. (The pop­u­la­tion of Greater Vic­to­ria ex­ceeds 340,000.) In fact, Canada was in its in­fancy when the Vic­to­ria Golf Club opened in 1893, the old­est golf club in Canada still on its orig­i­nal site. Just a few min­utes away is the ven­er­a­ble Royal Col­wood GC, de­signed by the le­gendary A. V. Ma­can that opened in 1913. This re­mark­able course, gen­tly wan­der­ing through stands of 500-year-old Dou­glas Firs, re­ceived its Royal des­ig­na­tion from King Ge­orge V in 1931. A year ear­lier another great Ma­can de­sign, Gorge Vale GC, had joined the solid foun­da­tion for the game on the Is­land. The 19th or ‘ex­tra’ hole de­buted at the Moun­tain Course in 2003. Steve Nick­laus was rout­ing the course for Nick­laus De­sign but the 1,250-acre

Olympic View, #3

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