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The Meadows at Pemberton

Restrictions to travel due to the Covid 19 pandemic meant that Myra and I had to rethink our golf review plans for 2020. We had originally planned on a cross Canada journey to the Maritimes before heading due south to Florida.

That gargantuan excursion then became a more localized venture. Wanting to limit how far “off island” we would need to travel, a few days in the Whistler area of southwestern BC was a convenient and short 5-hour trip in the car and on the ferry.

We provide a valuable and insightful benefit to golf courses and promoting the courses outside of the world class destination that Whistler is, was our goal on this little getaway.

A short 30-minute drive north of Whistler and a 5-minute drive from the suite we rented in the quaint town of Pemberton is The Meadows at Pemberton, a great, fun and laid back 18-hole beauty. With views of Mount Currie adjacent to the course and very fertile conditions on the valley floor below The Meadows as it is known to local “Pemby” residence is a no brainer. The conditions in mid-September were amazing and the lay out very playable and fair. The course does not have a driving range but with Big Sky Golf and CC situated next door many golfers stop to hit balls at Big Sky and 2 minutes later are in the parking lot at The Meadows. It is not an inconvenient at all so do not let that have any impact on your decision to play The Meadows. The typical golf trip to Pemby includes playing both The Meadows and Big Sky on consecutive days or as some of the die-hards do, playing both on the same day.

Of course, The Meadows has the other necessary and vital practice features, a putting green and chipping area.

Messi comes over to say hi.

On our drive in towards the clubhouse I stopped the car to take a picture of a couple I recognized from the deck at Big Sky GC the day before. At that time, it was just the two of them, we would chat with them a few minutes later in The Meadows parking lot and got to know Theo and Jill a little more. The real reason for stopping wasn’t because I recognized them but it was to say “hi” to the third member of the group, “Messi” a big loveable white lab. He bounded over to me, running across the green ,to get a good belly rub. I said to Myra, “Hon here’s a course that’s going to be very casual and relaxing to play, dogs are allowed” We both laughed.

Looking down the fairway on the Par 5 opening hole.

We were greeted warmly by GM Kevin McLeod now in his 11th year at The Meadows and also introduced to Golf Shop Manager Brad White, son of long-time serving PGA Head Professional Mel White of the very reputable Seymour CC in North Vancouver, BC. After sharing a few pleasantries and inquiring about the wildlife situation we told the bear on hole 1, off to the left, was just their eating berries and would pose no threat to us. With all the necessary protocols in place we headed out to the first tee, which sits adjacent to the practice putting green.

I had played the course back in 1996 but didn’t remember it all that well other than knowing if I was coming back here to play any of the courses in the area, The Meadows would be one of them.

Theo had informed us, while we were loading our clubs onto the power cart, that the course was in excellent condition. He was bang on, the fairway cut as well as the definition of the mower lines was of the highest standard. The greens were equally so, running smooth as silk and holding the ball perfectly. The grounds crew were prevalent and course grooming was ongoing. The first hole is a perfect start, a long meandering slight dog left Par 5. We both played it well and our very happy twosome new this review would be rewarding to write. On the second hole the greens keeper on the fairway mower pulled over to allow Myra to hit her fairway wood unencumbered. He went the extra mile, as if knowing she could be distracted, and shut the motor completely off. She then hit a beauty of a 5 wood and I gave him a well-deserved thumbs up.

Myra’s view from the right hand side of the Par 4 7th hole.

Course Superintendent Terry Schlosser not only has the course looking great but has also informed his very capable team to respect the golfers while they are preparing to shoot. We rolled along at a great pace enjoying every hole.  

The 8th hole for me was the highlight of the front for more than one reason, mostly because it’s Par 4 with a true island green. I also had a love hate relationship with my other favorite hole the preceding Par 4, 7th. After 2 expertly played shots I had a 5 footer for birdie that waved hello and goodbye as it scooted past the cup.

The look down the Par 5 10th on this really good start to the back nine.

We made the turn and got prepared to play the back nine. Originally only a 9 hole course, many years ago the new back nine was carved completely out of thick a forest with the high mountain range containing Mt. Currie adjacent to it. This then put the course on the map, as it lifted the course to a challenging Par 72, 18 hole layout. As you might play the front nine with the same ball, you’ll be hard pressed to use one ball for 18 holes. The back nine is tight and tough. Holes 10, 11 and 12 run parallel to the out of bounds running down the left side and the right side offers little bale out. The Par 5 16th might be the best hole on the course. Requiring 3 great shots it has a table top green which falls away on all 4 sides. After the long straight Par 3 17th you finish with a beautiful Par 4 18th. One I particularly like because it’s not a punishment but a pleasure to complete your remarkable day out at The Meadows.   

From the black tees, a look at the very fair and well designed Par 4 finishing hole.

Then there’s The Black Squirrel Restaurant and Pub which we can speak to from experience. As this was a trip where it was my turn to do the cooking which in our house allows for simply buying dinner. I got a thumbs up for “making” a combination of Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings and Spinach Artichoke Dip with Pita Bread washed down with Erlinger NA beer in chilled frosty glasses. Virginia, our server, was not only quick on her feet but really friendly to chat with. We sat outside on the deck which is located in behind the clubhouse. Some great music played on the outdoor speakers and you couldn’t find a more relaxed spot in these challenging times.    

With a 60% increase in the number of season pass holders and an uplift of 20% in green fees The Meadows has solidified the fact that after the pandemic it will be even stronger and continue to improve upon itself.

Throughout your round there are numerous references to Black Squirrels and a lot about being nuts. They promote “We’re nuts about golf”, “We’re nuts about food”. Well let me tell you good folks at The Meadows at Pemberton, Myra and I are nuts about playing it. You’d be nuts not to. 

www.pembertongolf.ca Call (604) 894 6197

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Bill Flower

Bill Flower is a passionate golfer and lover of the game who lives on Vancouver Island in Parksville, BC. He has played the game since the age of 10 and has spent many years in the golf business ranging from full time teaching pro to part time professional caddy, golf tour operator and golf writer. He loves to travel with his wife Myra up and down the west coast of the US playing and reviewing golf courses of all styles.

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