An Okanagan odyssey
Join Kali Love as she tours the best golf courses around Kelowna
Everyone goes to the Okanagan for different reasons. Some go for the recreational opportunities that the region offers. Others go for the plethora of wineries. Yet, the most common response I hear is that people go to the Okanagan for the climate and the golf.
Living the high life
I recently had the opportunity to visit Kelowna and tour some of the finest golf courses in the area: the Harvest Golf Club, Tower Ranch Golf Course and the Quail Course at the Okanagan Golf Club. I went with a group of other golf travel writers and had a blast.
In true Kelowna style
The first morning, the crew of golf writers met at the Harvest Golf Club for 18 holes of golf and lunch with Giles Dufort, the club’s general manager. This course, at 7,109 yards, is the classiest and best kept course I have had the privilege of playing. The course was designed by Graham Cooke, a renowned golf course architect, and it boasts manicured bent-grass fairways, fantastic views and strategically placed tee boxes and holes.
The Harvest Golf Club is also hailed as one of the most beautiful courses in the region, and 54 acres of the Harvest is used as a working orchard that produces Spartan, McIntosh, Royal Gala, Granny Smith and Fuji apples. An additional five acres is devoted to ehrenfelser, chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, which are used by Calona Wines to make delicious Okanagan wines.
A tough yet satisfying course
The next morning, we were taken to Tower Ranch to play another 18 holes and meet the general manager, Brian Reilly. One of the more laid-back yet difficult courses that the Kelowna area offers, Tower Ranch is a Thomas McBroom-designed golf course that features dramatic, undulating land and is surrounded by jagged hills.
Don’t let this scare you off though. I actually had the best game of my life at Tower Ranch and had a lot of fun aiming my golf ball over the various hazards strategically placed along the course. Located 15 minutes from downtown Kelowna, Tower Ranch affords amazing views of Okanagan Lake and the whole city, inlcuding West Kelowna.
Our last day in Kelowna started bright and early with 18 holes at the Okanagan Golf Club. Here, the Quail Course and the Bear Course combine to make up 36 holes of golf. My group played the Quail, a par 72, 18-hole championship golf course. Les Furber designed the Quail Course; it features dogleg left and right turns, waste bunkers and 6,891 yards of multi-tiered fairways that twist around luxury homes and lovely tree-lined fairways.
One particular aspect of the Quail Course that I enjoyed was that every hole has four tee boxes; this provides challenge for the lowest handicapper while still being enjoyable for the recreational golfer—in other words, me.
The whole package
All and all, this trip was amazing and Kelowna truly is a premier destination for golfing, wining and dining. Those wanting to book a holiday, including golf packages to the best courses in the region, can simply go to the Golf Kelowna website. Catherine Frechette, the media relations manager for Tourism Kelowna, summed up the whole Okanagan experience best.
"As a tourism destination, Kelowna has an enormous amount going for it," said Frechette. "The city has one of the highest concentrations of golf courses of any single city in Canada—18 courses tucked all around Kelowna. On top of that, there are five distinct wine trails in Kelowna, so you can follow up your golf rounds with a bit of tasting and touring to over 20 wineries. Add to this the dining, which can only be described as superb. Whether people look to dine at golf courses, wineries, downtown restaurants, even on houseboats, the dining scene is amazing and chefs are proud to feature locally grown produce and farmers."