The ancient Greeks believed everything was made up of earth, water, fire, and air. Today, if golf means everything to you, you’ll be right in your element on golf courses amid spectacular, dramatic scenery in the Thompson Okanagan. From forested greens to links surrounded by lakes, let’s discover how to get in the swing of things, using the four elements as our guide.
Golf course designers have carved many masterpieces from the natural element of earth. A prime example is Predator Ridge. The 36-hole golf resort community near Vernon was recently voted BC’s best public course by a Vancouver Sun expert panel. Undulating greens and rolling Okanagan Valley hills mark the par-71, Les Furber-designed Predator Course, which hosted superstars like Greg Norman and Fred Couples at two Skins Games.
If you crave dramatic elevation changes and sweeping fairways amid granite rock outcroppings, the neighbouring Ridge Course beckons irresistibly. Kris Jonasson, executive director of British Columbia Golf, told the Vancouver Sun: “It combines the best of meadows, woodlands and mountain terrains with outstanding lake views to create a memorable day. The weather is generally exceptional, and in my mind it is the must-play course in BC.”
Golfers average 10,000 steps while completing a round of golf – and every step on BC ground is spectacular. Yet this province also boasts some supernatural water features.
For a fantastic lake view, head to Talking Rock Golf Resort. Nestled on First Nations territory near Salmon Arm in BC’s Interior, it’s a source of pride for the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band. The forested par-72 course, closely based on the natural landscape, culminates with an amazingly scenic 18th hole on the lake’s north shore.
The element of fire brings to mind warm temperatures, and those are certainly in evidence at Predator Ridge in Vernon, where the sun’s rays turn the tall, windswept fescue grass a golden hue in September.
If you want to heat things up a little more, you can explore the northern tip of the Sonoran Desert near Kamloops. The lush greens and fairways at The Dunes at Kamloops Golf Club lie atop the sandy former bed of the North Thompson River. The 7,131-yard course was designed by award-winning architect Graham Cooke.
Another hot Kamloops alternative is the 2007-launched Tobiano, which was hailed by SCOREGolf writer Bob Weeks as possibly “the best new course I’ve seen in Canada. Ever. Period.” At this par-72, Thomas McBroom-designed course on the historic site of Six Mile Ranch, bluffs, ravines, and sentinel hoodoos adorn the back nine. Don’t miss the 10,000-square-foot clubhouse and well-stocked golf shop.
Want to take your game to new heights? The element of air is at play at Sun Peaks Resort, just outside Kamloops. The golf course is British Columbia’s highest. The par-four Hole 16 offers a special airy thrill, as the tee sits at 4,353 feet, with a jaw-dropping view of the Sun Peaks village and Mount Morrisey in the background.
Earth, water, fire, and air. Perhaps that combination of words previously evoked images of ancient Greek philosophers – or 1970’s disco. But in the future, you can take it as inspiration to keep exploring great golfing in British Columbia.