Its an annual pilgrimage that I make every Fathers Day weekend heading up to Kelowna, BC to take my dad Bill Sr. out for lunch and a days golfing. My attempts to impress him with an outstanding, challenging golf course ended 3 years ago at the ridiculously difficult and totally unrewarding Tower Ranch. When Jack Nicklaus stated that golf courses need to be shorter, easier, with less sand, wider landing areas and flatter greens, the powers that be at Tower Ranch definitely missed that directive.
Just down the hill and in a very forgiving flat parcel of land close to Kelowna airport lays a course I have played countless times and never tire of, Kelowna Springs GC. Again another in the impressive stable of Les Furber designed golf courses Kelowna Springs has matured over the years and small-planted trees that lined the fairways in its early years are now towering obstacles that frame a number of the holes.
Again it must be an unwritten edict from the aforementioned Mr. Furber that the courses he designs must hire award winning staff as the pro shop team headed up by Rich Chlopan and the rest of the operation under the guise of General Manager Ian Roberston has it down to a science.
On a very busy Saturday in mid June with tournament groups lining up to play on a packed, busy golf course Rich was as cool as an Okanagan peach in maintaining a smooth running course and an extremely efficient on time teeing order.
I cringed a little to be honest, while enjoying the panoramic view of the course and a delicious lunch from the deck of the The Legends Classic Grill, when I saw a group of 40 on power carts teeing off right in front of our tee time.
“6 hour round I muttered” under my breath but lo and behold with a very capable and poised pro shopper Andrew Mortensen acting like an air traffic controller, the groups teed off right on time and when I checked my watch at the end of the round, there we were all finished in 4 hours and 10 minutes. Very impressive and much appreciated.
The highlight for me wasn’t so much my 5 consecutive par finish for a solid 80 but Bill seniors par, par finish on two really great finishing holes. Way to go Dad, 84 years old and still showing us how it’s done.
For the first time in many years my brother in law Wayne, who is no slouch either made it a family threesome to be remembered.
There are many advantages of playing Kelowna Springs, affordability, easy to walk, challenging but not intimidating and most of all always in good shape and as you have heard me many times profess, friendliness rules and I have never yet met an unhappy worker or been treated anything less than exemplary. From the hostesses in the Legends Grill through to Rich and his crew in the pro shop, really efficient and friendly marshals as well as a smile and a great hot dog at the half way point, all deserve my 5 Diamond rating.
No one hole really sticks out for me, I like them all and that’s a rare claim on golf courses nowadays but 18 keeps bringing me back. An awesome par 5 with a very well protected green situated right below the deck which often houses many a patron quaffing a cold one. For just a moment you can fantasize as I do that you are putting to win a PGA event and they are part of the gallery cheering you on.
When you are in the Okanagan always give Kelowna Springs a go, if you are planning numerous rounds and are going to take on the likes of Predator Ridge in Vernon or the Bear or The Quail just across the highway from The Springs it can be a great warm up but it can be also an even greater reward finishing there with a satisfying “best” of the week score perhaps.