Here’s a brief roundup of those courses:
Big Sky Golf & Country Club
Designed by Robert Cupp, Big Sky Golf & Country Club is just 25 minutes north of Whistler. Constructed at the base of massive, snow-capped Mount Currie in the fertile Pemberton Valley, Big Sky Golf & Country Club sets a peaceful and serene stage for an outstanding round of golf.
Measuring 7,0001 yards from the tips, Big Sky will challenge your stamina. This gently rolling links-style course offers serenity in an untamed mountain setting. There’s also the Big Sky Golf Academy and nine-hole Academy Course.
Whistler Golf Club
The Whistler Golf Club was designed by Arnold Palmer, and it’s his first Canadian design. This unique setting features 18 sprawling fairways virtually surrounded by mountains rising up all around them. Spectacular views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains greet golfers at every turn. Nine lakes fed by two winding creeks, towering stands of ancient cedar and the course’s forested borders offer a splendid backdrop. The course is also home to black bear, coyote, beaver and an abundance of fish and birds.
Chateau Whistler Golf Club
Opening in 1993, the Chateau Whistler Golf Club is class personified. Distinctively different from the other golfing properties found at Whistler, the Chateau Whistler Golf Club offers classic mountain golf at its finest. Carved from the side of Blackcomb Mountain, this Robert Trent Jones Jr. design features an elevation change of more than 400 feet, and dramatic views of the Whistler valley. Incredible nature features such as exposed rock faces, mountain ledges, wildlife, ravines and waterfalls are the highlights of this classic mountain gem. This par-72, 18-hole course stretches 6,635 yards. Also, David Leadbetter Academy, known for operating the world’s premier golf academies, has officially opened Canada’s first and only David Leadbetter Golf Academy at the Chateau Whistler Golf Club.
A unique offering at Chateau Whistler Golf Club is the golf and grill package available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, beginning this May for tee times booked after 2 p.m. The golf and grill package includes one round of golf, power cart, use of the practice facility, and a barbecue dinner.
Nicklaus North Golf Course
The Nicklaus North Golf Course was tabbed Canada’s best new course by Golf Digest in 1996. It still has appeal a decade later. This par-71, 18-hole course winds along a gentle valley floor, offering endless panoramic views the entire length of this 6,908-yard masterpiece, designed by the Bear, Jack Nicklaus. Though just minutes from cobblestone walkways and street-side cafes of the resort town of Whistler, Nicklaus North’s elegance includes an emerald-colored lake, majestic fir trees and fresh, invigorating mountain air.
Another positive attribute of Nicklaus North is its parent company: GolfBC. Since 1990, Burrard International, Inc., owner of GolfBC, has been creating or acquiring premium championship golf destinations in British Columbia, and since 2003, also in Hawaii. The objective was to establish a series of world-class facilities throughout the province and beyond where players could experience total golfing excellence. The courses—14 and counting—are consistently ranked among the highest throughout Canada and North America. Top golfers from around the world who have experienced GolfBC courses include Greg Norman, Michelle Wie, Fred Couples, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods, to name a few.
Having humbled myself on four of these courses, I can personally attest to their character. Other GolfBC courses in the Vancouver to Whistler area include Furry Creek and Mayfair Lakes. Olympic View and Arbutus Ridge are located on Vancouver Island. In the Okanagan Valley, you’ll find Gallagher’s Canyon, The Bear and The Quail courses at The Okanagan Golf Club, along with The Pinnacle. Additionally, a handful of quality courses can be found on the islands of Maui and Kauai in Hawaii. For complete details on the courses under the GolfBC umbrella, visit www.golfbc.com.
The 19th Hole (and a few chip shots)
And finally, despite Bode Miller’s recent flop in the Winter Olympics, you still have to be impressed with the lavish RV he rented during the 17-day affair in Torino. Impressive, too, is his 10 handicap as a golfer. What’s not impressive, however, is Miller’s insolent bad-boy attitude, which the media loves to promote. Many great Olympic athletes, Miller included, just don’t get it—they’re not just representing themselves at the games, they’re also representing the United States of America. I feel it was best said by former tennis great Boris Becker when describing his hotheaded archrival John McEnroe with the following, “I respect him as a player, but not as a person.” Bode Miller certainly is a gifted athlete, and no doubt respected by many for his skills on the slope. But as an individual, his attitude is filled with divots and bogeys.
Rick Stedman is an avid RVer, golfer and writer who lives in Yakima, Washington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org