By Jordan Fuller
Special to the Pioneer
Three of the Columbia Valley’s top golf courses were recognized in 2019 by SCOREGolf, which compiles a ranking of the Top 59 Public Golf Courses In Canada each year. Started in 1980 as the program for the Canadian Open, SCOREGolf has grown into Canada’s top golf magazine, billing itself as The Voice of Canadian Golf. It’s well-known for its ranking of Canada’s Top 100 courses, and, perhaps more importantly to the average golfer, the Top 59 Public Courses.
With Brooke Henderson dominating the LPGA Tour and Adam Hadwin shooting a 59 on the PGA Tour, as well as promising young players like Roger Sloan, Nick Taylor and Corey Connors making waves on leaderboards every week, golf in Canada is growing every year.
Exciting tournaments like the RBC Canadian Open and the CP Women’s Open help by putting the spotlight on some of Canada’s finest courses, but designation as a Top 59 Public Course by SCOREGolf is one of the highest honours a public facility can receive. It requires the course to be a fun, challenging experience, with interesting architecture and beautifully manicured conditions.
Greywolf Golf Course in Panorama enjoys the distinction of being named a top 5 public course. Located in the valley of the Purcell Mountains, it makes wonderful use of the dramatic elevation changes with par 3s that span massive canyons and hugely downhill tee shots with majestic mountains looming in the background. The signature 6th hole, a par 3 that requires a well-struck shot over a canyon to avoid disaster, gets all the photo ops. But the course is a gem overall, and with a peak rate greens fee under $150, it represents a great bargain. A bright pair with your game-improvement iron.
The Point Course at Copper Point in Windermere sits at #30 on the list. The flagship course of the 36 hole Copper Point facility, the Point Course is a beautiful oasis in the Kootenay Rockies, close to the popular Invermere resort that attracts thousands of tourists each year. Its wide fairways navigate up and down mountainsides through densely forested terrain. With each passing year, Copper Point is coming into focus as a tourist destination unto itself, rather than simply an addendum to the hot springs nearby.
Just around the corner from Copper Point is Eagle Ranch Golf Course in Invermere, which made a big jump up the list this year and occupies the #35 spot. With a ranking of 4.5 out of 5 stars from Golf Digest Magazine, the course is primed to make another leap next year as its reputation continues to spread. Eagle Ranch is a perfectly manicured, expertly designed course that’s nestled in the bluffs that overlook the Columbia River. The beautiful naturalistic design gives the impression that the course has always been nestled into the valley and just needed a few good mowers to find it.
With a climate that’s surprisingly conducive to an early start and late end to the golf season, the Columbia Valley is a wonderful oasis for golf in Canada. With these three courses making waves on SCOREGolf’s top 59 list, it’s attracting more and more international attention each year.
Mr. Fuller is a golf coach who loves to teach aspirants and give tips to help golf enthusiasts improve their game. He is running his online publication https://www.golfinfluence.com and has numerous pieces of advice published on known sports newspapers.