A group of 15 recently undertook Charlie’s 2019 Canadian Rockies Golf Tour.
After a day to recover from the direct flight from Auckland to Vancouver, and the chance to discover Vancouver a little, we were all ready for our first game of golf at Northview. This is an Arnold Palmer designed course and proved an excellent introduction to golf in Canada. Whilst the fairways were generous, the undulating greens kept the scoring modest.
We then travelled along the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler. On this journey we were lucky to see our first black bear on the side of the road. On our trip, bear sightings were few, and unlike the previous Charlie’s tour group, we had no encounters with bears on any of the courses we played – plenty of signs of bears, but no sightings. We weren’t sure if we were pleased about this or not!
Whistler is now a year round resort, with mountain bikers flocking in huge numbers to the resorts when snow sports end their season. The two courses we played here – Whistler and Chateau Whistler – were both challenging but rewarding.
Travelling the Peak to Peak Gondola was another highlight while we were in Whistler, as was being in Canada when the Toronto Raptors won the American Basketball title for the first time. All thoughts of any divide between east and west Canada were forgotten, at least for a few days!
It was then on to the Okanagan Valley and the town of Kelowna. While some of the scenery we saw on this journey was impressive, it was merely a small taste of what we would experience later in the tour.
The weather around Kelowna was in the mid 30 degrees – a bit of a shock for Kiwis in June.
Our first afternoon was spent wine tasting before the serious business of golf restarted at the Ridge Course at Predator Ridge the next day. This was a spectacular design as the fairways wound their way through the many valleys and canyons in the area.
The next day we played the Harvest Golf Course which was a lot more open but still challenging and beautiful.
After Kelowna it was on to the Jasper National Park, which is just over the British Colombia border in Alberta. Here we were accommodated in a large log-cabin style lodge in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, and it was the perfect size for our group.
Next day the weather cleared enough for us to complete our game without being rained on, which all appreciated. The Stanley Thompson designed golf course is considered a Canadian Classic and was another wonderful venue.
The next day – a free day – was very wet, but it culminated in a shared meal arranged by some of our ladies in our lodge. The aromas disseminating from the kitchen over the course of the day foretold of great things, and we were not disappointed! Carol Lobb had also organised a quiz for the group and this added to the overall hilarity of the evening. This was definitely another tour highlight!
The next morning a quiet group headed off towards Banff. The previous days inclement weather had resulted in 30 centimetres of fresh snow along our route so we had a spectacular journey and the Rockies looked huge, white, imposing and magnificent!
On our way we had stops at the Columbia Icefield and Lake Louise – both stunning venues in their own right.
Banff produced two more outstanding golf courses – Stewart Creek and Banff Springs. Both had a multitude of incredible views from the fairways that made concentrating on the game at hand difficult.
At the end of our golf, our winners were Raewyn Marshall and Bryan Grafas – a Whangamata – Titoki benefit! Well played to the both of you. A huge thanks to all who took part in this tour. We hope you enjoyed your experiences as much as we enjoyed your company. Mike & Sue Ryan. Details of our 2020 Canadian Rockies Golf Tour will be finalised very soon.