By now most of you know my review style, less of the boring descriptive bunk of each individual hole and more of what the experience is all about. Storey Creek Golf Club is a magical place to play. Not for the awe inspiring reasons of some courses, like incredible views of azure blue seas off the Caribbean, gazing skyward while feeling the cool breeze off the majestic snow capped mountains of the Canadian Rockies or staring back along the magnificent North Sea coast while golfing in The Kingdom of Fife in Scotland.
Often listed in the Top 10 places to live Vancouver Island, the home of Storey Creek Golf Club, in itself is a magical place to live and for golfers this bodes very well.
If you looked at an aerial shot of Storey Creek GC or were flying over it yourself you would see it is typical of many golf courses in BC, a province with an abundance of trees and forests, in that it is literally carved out of a forest of trees. Other than the few buildings that are intrinsic to an 18-hole golf course, its 18 strips of fairways, loads of bunkers and 18 greens and the rest is still pure nature. Streams and ponds, deer, eagles, woodpeckers and the like. Things we often take for granted living here but to our out of province guests and tourists sights to behold in awe.
I have played Storey Creek twice and have seriously considered moving closer to it just to avoid the 75-minute drive it is from my home in Parksville. It would be my first choice of many of the gems on Vancouver Island we get to play to be a member at.
It offers the most rewarding experience that easily justifies the investment in time and fuel to make the round trip. I could play it daily and never tire of it. It also has a very attractive make up of holes to get to Par 72 – 10 Par 4’s, 5 Par 5’s and 5 Par 3’s. 36 in and 36 out, just as it should be, Par 72 always.
The staff is amazingly friendly and in my many years working in the golf business that is only possible when the “senior” staff, managers, supervisors, heads of departments are good people to work for and with.
Or they put something in the staff coffee that makes them all really happy!
On my second visit, with my partner in golf in tow, Cubic Cliff, I was greeted warmly by a very hospitable and likeable young pro, Kyle Stoudt, who oozes friendliness which trickles down to his pro shop assistant Brian Wise, equally as cheery and also very service orientated.
General Manager, John Swanson enters the mix and he with handshake extended is just as welcoming, likeable and warm hearted.
I haven’t even teed off and again I am overwhelmed and thrilled to have come up here to play.
After hitting a few warm up shots on the range I say hello to Assistant Superintendent, Scott Webster, who all the while smiling, thanks me for coming out to play and wishes me well. I take notice that his work area is very organized, tidy and makes me feel good about the “grounds crew” already. Men like him soon drop the “Assistant” tag and become Superintendents too.
As we prepare to tee off Superintendent Rob Watson jumps off his Gator and walks over to warmly say hello, hand extended and he thanks me for coming up. He apologizes that there is some necessary maintenance going on as its still early in the spring and I hopefully put him at ease in letting him know its 16 degrees Celsius, the course looks fantastic and he never needs to justify any work or maintenance performed on this incredible course. On the course other busy workers make the effort to raise a hand and wave as we stroll by.
Away we go and it is I who needs a little maintenance, I have definitely hit better first shots but still manage a respectable bogey.
Only a couple of holes in we catch up to a foursome of ladies who promptly wave us up on the Par 3 third hole, then stand aside to lets us chip on and putt out, a more efficient “playing through” you could not have.
We share a few pleasantries and they are there to see us tee off on number 4 and we are not held up one iota.
The day is an array of the usual for the two of us, many pars, many laughs, the odd expletive but its tough to get upset when playing this Les Furber designed treasure. But for the odd gap in the trees and a few holes where you see your fellow golfers playing, each hole is isolated from the next, tranquil and serene. Huge majestic trees are prevalent; you know the kind that makes that incredible sound when you nail them dead on.
Ahhhh, no planes, no trains, no automobiles.
I love this course for that reason alone, it helps me focus on each shot and play better and with the quality of the greens, awesome fluffy bunker sand and fairway turf you could be body slammed on and feel cushioned, it has no weaknesses.
Making the turn Cubic and I follow our usual ritual and play the back nine with a little Hot Dog power although 2 or 3 of them would have been even better. The kids, (anyone under 30 gets that title from me) working the kitchen and concession are also very capable and friendliness exudes from their cheery faces too.
We finish in a comfortable 3 hours and 55 minutes, where does that happen nowadays?
The clubhouse has a great patio area with a view to both the 1st and 10th tee and inside the open air eating area has a nice big flat screen TV on with the remote right there, so of course being men we grabbed it and flipped it to what we wanted to watch.
Not to be overlooked is the usual you would expect at this quality of course and facility. A great practice area with driving range, chipping and putting greens all close by. One thing that drives me nuts is having to go 200 – 300 yards from the clubhouse to hit balls, not here you can see the starting holes from both nines right from the adjacent driving range.
In my local golf column after playing it last October I described it the following way: Ideal, Flawless, Textbook, Impeccable, Unspoiled, Phenomenal, Sensational, Amazing, Stunning and Superb.
That hasn’t changed, just go play it………often.
Until next time, good golfing.