Arrowsmith Golf and CC
“GOLF AS ITS MEANT TO BE”
Situated about 10 minutes north of Qualicum Beach, BC on Vancouver Island is an 18 hole golf course that covers all the bases. In this day and age of 7,000 yard long golf courses and greens with 5 or 6 tiers, Arrowsmith Golf and CC fits into the mold of fun and fair. There are not many “executive” length golf courses that possess the features that Arrowsmith has and it’s probably why this 18 hole layout is as attractive to the single digit handicappers as it is to the weekend or social player.
With a large percentage of the population in the mid island falling into the senior citizen category a golf course of this quality with a blend of par 3’s, a few Par 4’s and a couple of Par 5’s is deservedly successful.
What makes the 13 Par 3’s so much fun and interesting to play is the many design features starting with the rolling configuration of the greens and the surrounding aprons. Not only does this require a little more precision in positioning the ball for a makeable birdie putt but also allows a shot to be played using the aprons to effectively kick the ball towards to hole.
The Par 4’s range from 275 – 350 yards and the Par 5’s don’t freak you out by being too long to handle. For instance the 490 yard Par 5 8th has a sneaky little pond at about the 225 yard mark on the right which when properly avoided sets up a chance to go for the green in two. That shot is a blind one to a large green sloping from back to front. Single digit handicappers, this ones for you.
The course derives its name from Mount Arrowsmith which is visible not only from every hole but is the back drop for the driving range and also your view from the deck of the clubhouse. The course would still provide a wonderful golfing experience but its stunning view of the mountain, the valley below it and the scores of enormous trees on the course makes one marvel.
Built by the Jiggins family back in the mid-nineties and opening 22 years ago this popular local gem has a healthy membership, a legion of loyal green fee golfers and is a regular attraction for the thousands of tourists that migrate to this sensational part of Vancouver Island.
Non golfers frequent the facility at a regular rate also to sample the many specialty food nights and excellent meals served on the deck and inside Micky J’s Bar and Grill.A fireplace warms diners on cooler days, with flat screen TV’s positioned in the corners showing a variety of live sporting events. On one of the many warm summer days the outdoor deck overlooking the golf course is teaming with diners or just thirsty golfers conversing and replaying that shot that went in or went away.
Arrowsmith is particular adept at hosting a wide array of corporate, charity and social tournaments which are very popular with the local golf community but not limited to it. They welcome visitors and guest quite regularly to sign up too.Where Arrowsmith really comes to life is during one of three special event nights, Mens, Ladies and Couples Nights with all 3 of them regularly selling out due to the fun 9 hole format, fantastic buffets meals and great prizes provided by the many companies that sponsor. The organization and presentation is excellent. Clubhouse Manager and Events Coordinator Cindy Jo Darbyshire and a team of very talented, friendly and very approachable staff members are all integral components.
One aspect of Men’s night that really gets the entrants pumped is the Par 3 Shootout which occurs after everyone has finished their nine and before dinner is served. Each golfer gets one shot over the pond beside the 18th green from the adjacent 10th tee, a shot of about 80 yards. The closest to the hole is the winner with Flat Screen TV’s, drivers, putters, beer coolers and other enticements usually displayed next to the green going to the winner. It’s very exciting and for some obviously nerve racking, with up to a hundred onlookers, many a shot ends up in watery grave a scant 20 yards in front of the tee box.
The success of Arrowsmith is due to many critical aspects coming together, a great ownership, friendly knowledgeable staff and quality surroundings. Not to be left out is the quality of the course and once the wet weather has passed into spring the course blossoms with the greens, tees and fairways very lush and maintained by a very capable head greens keeper Mr. Larry Charbonneau and is hardworking crew.
The great practice area includes a large two tiered practice putting green on one side of the clubhouse next to the first tee and a practice chipping green with bunker over behind the 10th tee box. The grass driving range is a joy to hit balls on as it points directly towards Mount Arrowsmith with a completely unobscured view. If you want to take a golf lesson with their teaching professional Lee Crompton you are immediately put at ease just by the serenity of the range itself and Lee’s easy going manner.
A couple of years ago during a televised golf telecast the incomparable Jack Nicklaus was asked about the state of golf and the direction it was heading. His most profound suggestion and statement was that golf designers need to simplify golf courses, make them shorter and more fun to play. It seems some 25 years ago the Jiggins family knew that already.