In advance of traveling to warmer climes this winter, we recently ventured up to Quadra Island on a “test run” so to speak. Firstly, to see how good I was at backing in a motorhome and secondly to decide if the two of us could sleep with a comparable amount of comfort as we do in our cozy queen size at home. Well, no animals were injured in the backing up process and sleep came quite easily.
Located just a 10 minute ferry ride from the beautiful city of Campbell River, BC on Vancouver Island this lush treed island is home to the real reason we picked it out of the many beautiful islands in the Discovery Island chain – it has a golf course.
We chose to take advantage of the free shuttle service the golf course offered and positioned ourselves in the Tsa Kwa Luten RV Park right on the water looking across the Johnstone Strait at Campbell River. With only 10 sites available, it was the ideal location especially with only 5 of them taken. Clean bathrooms, hot showers and quiet beyond belief. It was ideal and charming. It’s our go to spot for any return RV visits. From our check in with Jo, glowing with her lovely English west country accent at the Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge, to seeing her when we said farewell two days later we knew we had found a very attractive accommodations provider.
After the initial confirmation to review the course came via email from GM/Head Professional Jason Tchir, Sara became my point of contact. Initially on the phone and then upon our arrival where Sara was awaiting us as if we were pulling up to a country club. She had arranged for the shuttle van to pick us up and a few minutes early than booked Terry, a local “Quadran”, was there with a warm handshake and an equally hospitable nature. Sara who has had many seasons working part time here was more than friendly and helpful in every way
Now it is not the norm for us to review 9 holers, but we had heard many good things about the course and felt it would be fun to play. It’s also a bit of a bonus really as we can take all the photos and notes on the first lap around and then play 9 holes focusing solely on a few good shots without any distractions other than nature. One common theme we heard was it was a challenging walk as it is very hilly so a cart might be fitting and it was. Other than the two Par 3’s every hole was either straight downhill or straight uphill to the green, not unfairly so, it’s just the lay of the land.
Unlike 9 hole gems like the stunning Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course situated close to our home, courses like Quadra Island GC do not have the luxury of huge budgets and an abundant labor force. There is no pro shop, just a very small little trailer really where you check in which is totally suitable. Don’t expect to dine there either, just do what we did and bring a sandwich and a drink, chocolate too perhaps. The work of the few on the payroll and the many energetic volunteers is evident immediately from the moment you turn into the entrance road; the welcome sign has been positioned with a groomed area of decorative rock and shrubbery around it. The road in is short and smooth and the parking area looks very inviting, as extensive landscaping utilizing large boulders, trees and shrubs with groundcover is very impressive. It immediately sets you up to be in the right frame of mind to play the course as you can see that a great deal pride combined with hard work has gone into this lovely setting.
After a jovial send off from Sara and Terry, Myra and I headed towards the 1st hole, but not before hitting a bucket of balls on a more than adequate driving range. I liked trying to hit the stationary target on the range, a fake man standing up in a little boat.
I chatted with a local guy who was having a few putts on the practice green and told him how amazing the green looked, it was beautiful. It was not an isolated observation as the greens at Quadra Island GC are mint, with very healthy grass; they ran smooth and true on every putt. I would recommend a few warm up putts though just to get used to the speed, as after a recent deluge of rain, even on this warm sunny day they were just a little bit slower than they looked.
Our official nine, the second time around couldn’t have got off to a better start as I birdied the Par 4 1st hole.
What struck the both of us was that there isn’t one weak hole on the course. Typically many 9 hole courses have that one hole that looks like an after thought or one that was kind of squeezed in. Not here, this a true Par 36 test of your game, both the par 5’s climb uphill the entire length of the hole, the 2 par 3’s are really well designed, the 4th a nice moderate length straight away shot and the 9th from the back tees where I was a full 180 over water to a raised green, bunker right. The pond on 9 comes into play from every tee box.
All 5 of the par 4’s were either straightaway or a slight dogleg right requiring a well-positioned drive and accurate approach shot.
The layout was well thought out and keeping it as a nine holer in my opinion is totally fine. I could play it twice each time and not feel bored at the process of repeating the same 9 – it’s that good a design.
Out on the course we stopped to say hi to Darren who was busy in every sense of the word. First we saw him aerating fairways, and then we saw him dragging a mat over the cores to break them up. He pointed out an area to the right of the daunting Par 5 3rd that they had cleaned up extensively. We talked about the importance in order of priority, the greens, then tees, and then fairways followed by bunkers, paths then the rough.
Sure there are few rough patches as the fairways are big areas to get the grass to fill in completely. For Myra and me, we just bumped the ball a foot or two to get a good lie and with the new relaxed rules of golf coming out for 2019 perhaps a good local rule here would be to allow improving your lie a little, no closer to the hole in order to nail that fairway shot cleanly.
Our round complete, there was Terry waiting to drive us back. Sara was now replaced by Haley. We met a few local men, Dan, Duffy and Bill, all residents, volunteers, all proud and smiling as we were. We shared a few pleasantries and stories about its short history, my gosh it’s only an 8 year old course. They accepted a few suggestions I had, simple but effective ones and off we went back to the oceans edge sharing with Terry all the way our delight at not only our game of golf, but everything that is Quadra, kind, clean and friendly.