Day 2 of our golf trip we awoke to a windless day but the sun was also taking the day off as it was a cool and rather dreary morning that greeted us. A light drizzly rain was in the air and it would persist off and on until dinner time. We had the appropriate attire for such a day and it certainly wasn’t reason enough to pull the pin and bale.
In golfing terms if day 1 playing Prospector was Goliath then day 2 at the Rope Rider course was certainly David. Upon completion of play at Prospector we shared our thoughts and views of our round with Brad and Blake extending an appreciative thank you for the round of golf which we are sure they passed on to Brady Hatfield who was in a meeting at the time. One of the unique aspects of playing Rope Rider is the practice area. There is no driving range but golfers playing there may go to the range at Prospector and hit balls there, neatly stacked in pyramids. What it does have is a great putting green and then a short course with 3 holes with tee boxes designed for kids and families to play or in our case it’s where we warmed up our swings with wedges for me and 6 iron – PW for Myra.We both agreed it was a far more effective way to warm up focusing on getting the short game tuned up all the while getting in some full swings and feeling completely warned up and stretched out.
With its close proximity to our part of Canada the course looked very similar to more than a few courses you could play north of the border and it was as if we were in any forested part of BC or Alberta golfing. Brad and Blake both said we could expect a far different feel golfing at Rope Rider.
That was evident from the very first hole. Described on the scorecard as “Challenging golf for all, fun for the whole family” was as succinct as you could get. Condition wise the course was every bit as well-groomed as our day 1 host course with nice flat level tee boxes, wide smooth greens and fairways easily negotiable. For me, not a particularly strong bunker player, the sand was a consistent fluffy texture and I played 3 or 4 green side bunker shots very well, making sand saves twice. The landing areas off the tee were very generous and a few times I thought of statements that Jack Nicklaus had made recently about the state of golf today. He said that golfers needed to have access to golf courses that are easier to play and less penal making them far more gratifying. I thought back to our game at the Johnny Miller designed Maderas in Southern Cal last year, the most difficult course I had ever set foot on and definitely the least rewarding Myra had ever attempted to play. It catered to a very select few. Single digit, competitive players need only apply.
The greens on Rope Rider were basically at the same elevation as the fairways on the majority of the holes with the entrance to them void of any bunkering, approach shots need not come in high and soft to be successful. This was particularly helpful to Myra who often has that 100-yard approach shot that she one or two hops on with a 7 iron or hybrid. She performed a number of these and it allowed her to enjoy this experience to the fullest.
Although she succumbed to some heavier rainfall on the back nine and stayed huddled up on the cart for the last 5 holes I pressed on playing through one two-some and by the 17th catching up to another threesome. In most circumstances parring the same hole as we did on the par 3 number 7 would be the highlight of our day and an excuse for a high-five and better yet a big kiss.
Today what occurred while we watched the guys tee off on the 17th a par 3 playing 158 yds from the white tees easily trumped my great birdie back on 12.
The second player to tee off hit a great shot that landed on the front of the green, took a nice hop forward and then ran like a well hit putt towards the flag. It was easy to see it had a chance to go in and as if it was scripted and to all 5 of our surprise as I yelled “ Get in” from our cart the ball disappeared for an ace. Now if you have ever had one, which I haven’t, or witnessed one which I have 6 or 7 times now, when it comes to golf total strangers will dance around high fiving, even hugging the marksman who performs this sporting marvel as we did.
With a moderate amount of giddiness still filling the air Jim Privat modestly told the five of us that this was his second hole in one in the last 2 weeks and his 4th of his golfing career.
Flanked by his playing partners Ryan and Chris he posed proudly between the two for the photo shown below.
My 60 foot two putt par was so pale in comparison Myra didn’t even get off the cart to watch me putt and in all honestly I gave myself a long gimme for par.
While waiting to play the 18th which was one of the few holes that had any elevation we watched the guys ahead putt out before I made my last full swing upward towards the rising green, only to miss a 3 foot par putt to secure my third 46 in 2 days and finish 40-46 for an 86, 9 pars 1 birdie and too many others.
Authors note: Although we “officially” conducted the review process with photographs on Friday September 23rd for Day 2, we were invited to play another round on Saturday September 24th under bright sunny skies as can be seen in the photograph at the top of the page.We were paired with a lovely couple from Ephrata, Washington, Jeff and Becky Fletcher.We really enjoyed meeting and playing with them.
The entire golf services team headed up by manager Todd Harris and included the very friendly Asst. Professional Anthony Fruend from Wenatchee who was our first point of contact in the pro shop both rounds as well as a starters Robert and Doug, numerous outside staff members, bubbly and fresh-faced beverage cart girls were all consistently excellent in their roles at Rope Rider.
Both courses that we reviewed were a joy to play with Rope Rider being the better for us as a golfing couple. As well it must be noted that the Suncadia Resort staff at The Lodge, where we spent four fabulous nights, treated us like family. Tip of the golf hat to Kinsey in the lounge, Cailey, Creighton and Chelsea (pronounced Kel-C-Ah) at reception, Devon cool valet dude and the kitchen for preparing 2 great bar meals while we sipped chilled non alcoholic Becks beer and watch sports on the big screen TV.
Suncadia stand up and take a bow, you deserve it.
Bill and Myra, Parksville, BC Canada