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Victoria, British Columbia: Bear Mountain Impresses

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I must admit I wasn’t expecting much from Bear Mountain, the new golf course/resort/housing development outside of Victoria. It is a Steven Nicklaus design, with little input from Jack, and since I find the structure of the Nicklaus firm to be inpenatrable, I figured Bear Mountain would simply be another golf course built on the side of a mountain. I was pleased to find it was more than that.

I’m not going to go into a full review — I’ll do that at a later date — but needless to say the course did have the massive falls and rises one would expect from a course on an extreme piece of property. Buildings have crept close on a few holes now, but with the exception of the first hole, they tend not to hurt playability or detract from the course.

In many ways it reminded me of a less extreme Westwood Plateau, the Hurdzan/Fry design outside Vancouver. There were a number of blind shots — but nothing outrageous — and the Nicklaus flair for greens was there. In fact, it had some of the more extreme greens I’d seen in some time.

The biggest surprise was the 19th hole — which I had thought was a gimmick overlooking Victoria — is actually the most interesting hole on the course. It is hard to imagine it hasn’t been incorporated into the actual design. Overall I thought the design — while not a great golf course, was certainly a fun one. However, having played with a couple of 25+ handicappers, I did notice there were an awful lot of forced carries/lost balls along the way.

Next Stop: Victoria GC, Olympic View

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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