Wide World Of Golf: North of the border

Wide World Of Golf: North of the border

 

Due north from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho lies the Columbia Valley in Eastern British Columbia, Canada, and some of the most spectacular scenery you'll find in golf.

A quartet of courses are at the center of the Columbia valley golf trail, and the first stop is Eagle Ranch, in Invermere.

"It's kind of three different sections," says Eagle Ranch head professional Steve Haggard. "Resort style to start off with the first six holes, then a little bit of canyons, a little bit of tree-lined, and then you get up in the last few holes, and it's wide open. Very playable for most players."

At Eagle Ranch, the Kootenay Rockies are to the East, and the Purcell Mountains are to West, leaving you with snow capped views almost anywhere you look.

A few miles North in Radium, the Radium Springs course sits on the high bluffs that make up the banks of the Columbia.

It's not uncommon to see bighorn sheep sunning themselves, or even a bald eagle or two.

"Here is the wetlands, which is the second largest wetlands in North America, so its obviously a protected area, which is something we cherish here as well," says Springs head pro Brent Taylor. "It also provides great opportunities for hiking, and some of the different areas in that respect. So there are some different things to do here besides golf."

Back in Invermere, Copper Point golf club is a journey through forested areas, out into sprawling meadows, and over gentle ravines, offering up a stiff challenge.

"the land how you see it is how it was when we got here," says the head pro at Copper Point, Darren Ottenbreit. "Pretty natural type course, where you see a lot of trees, a lot of brush. The par-fives are very challenging, there are a lot of long par-fives, and just the ability to drive the ball straight helps you out here."

A 12 and a half mile drive into the Purcells brings you to Greywolf Golf Course in Panorama, and one of the most distinctive layouts in golf.

A ski-area during the winter, Greywolf is akin to golfing in the alps, with stunning views on every hole.

"You get a really different view of the valley from up here in the mountains, and the playability is just as good as the other courses, so people really enjoy the neat views and vistas," according to Greywolf head professional Gavin Moran. "You get a bit more elevation change than the other courses. It's a really neat treat for people to come up and see it."

When it comes to the experience of playing all the courses in the Valley, Ottenbreit summed it up.

"We've got a gold mine up here for courses. I feel the courses up here are as good as any I've played anywhere, so we're definitely lucky up here."