Our final day, before heading home, allowed us the opportunity to play and review Squamish Valley Golf and CC in a city probably more famous for its exhilarating rock climbing challenge, The Big Chief, than its golf course.
To get the ferry back to our home in Parksville, on Vancouver Island, from the Whistler/ Pemberton area you travel right through Squamish. I have an inkling that I played the course as a young junior in my early teens with my father Bill Sr. We are talking close to 50 years ago, so there was no “Oh, I remember this hole” moments at all. Yesterday, while playing with Matt at Big Sky we talked about the many choices for golfing in the Sea to Sky corridor. He asked where else we were playing and I told him about finishing up at Squamish Valley. Matt’s judgement of quality and enjoyment plus playability of a golf course is spot on, so his ringing endorsement of Squamish Valley heightened the anticipation of this final round.
It did not let us down in any way. Due to the heavy traffic the course receives, being situated right in the heart of the city, very strict Covid 19 protocols were in place.
We arrived and waited in the parking lot until 20 minutes before tee off. I had an opportunity to spend a few minutes talking with GM Scott Wengi before we checked in. He brought me up to speed with some of the improvements to the facility. The driving range was being completely revamped to include numerous target greens, an extended grass teeing ground and contouring to give it a look and feel of being more like the golf course than just a rectangular netted hitting area. It is slated to open in the spring of 2021. We also shared some amusing stories of his former childhood home town and one of my favourite cities, the vibrant and beautiful Sydney, Australia.
He was also proud of the cart fleet which includes 10 new Yamaha carts with a further 30 more to follow. We were fortunate to be offered one of the new ones and they are a real pleasure to drive. Gas powered, they are almost as silent as electric ones, but with that added zip that gets you going quite quickly and smoothly. Scott handed us off to the longest standing member of the Squamish Valley team, a very youthful gent Mr. Doug Powell, who after 40 years owning and running the pro shop with a former business partner now works for the Club owned pro shop as one of its integral front line staff members. Your first point of contact can set the tone for your day and Doug is as good as you’ll find, a blend of friendliness, light heartedness and class.
He paired us up with the perfect couple and we couldn’t have asked to play with a nicer pair, David and Edie Hildreth. After spending a few minutes with the delightful starter Cheryle, we were off. Both of our new golfing friends had a sharp game and you could see why David needed to bring his “A” game as his statuesque lady possessed a great tee ball and awesome short game. That made 2 gals in the group with those skills as Myra certainly didn’t take a back seat to any of us, getting into a rhythm right from the get go. Her near birdie chip in on the Par 3 11th had the group buzzing. David guided me along providing expert caddy skills and it certainly helped as a number of times as I hit some pretty impressive shots. A couple of those shots commanding applause from this kind and warm-hearted duo. My birdie on the Par 4 7th was especially impressive as I lofted a high wedge from the right rough 100 yards out over a tree and a greenside bunker, to 18 feet.
The course itself is cut right out of the pages of “great traditional layouts”. The first thing that impacts you are the size, maturity and variety of the trees. Stunning tall cedars line most of the fairways along with a mixture of wider, smaller broad leaf trees. Shots that roll into the treed areas, are still very playable as the earthen floor is free of any debris or vegetation. Course Superintendent Jason Vanzella and his team can be very proud of the course conditions. Fantastic.
Courses nearby with these similar features are the likes of Royal Colwood in Victoria and The Vancouver Club in Coquitlam. The greens are magnificent and very puttable. Myra and I both made a number of long ones look relatively easy and at least 3 of mine from outside 20 feet dropped in. The course was busy, but played flowed along at a good pace. Our time with our playing partners was as rewarding as the course itself.
Due to time constraints, we knew by the 12th hole we would have to shorten the round in order to get to our reserved ferry time. The drive from the golf course to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal is about 50 minutes. Nonetheless with no warm up or even a practice putt my 3 over 39 and Myra’s score of exactly 50 were some of the best golf we played in the 4 days away. Although the 4 of us drove in after the 15th hole nothing is lost in this review as the continuity of the course was prevalent even as we drove the carts in pass the 16th , 17th and 18th holes.
There are a number of choices if you head up the Sea to Sky Corridor on a golf holiday or even a day trip from nearby Vancouver. If you’re planning on multiple rounds I can tell you from playing all 7 courses before, that you have to stop and play Squamish Valley Golf & CC as it’s outstanding. Well you really only have to play it if you want to be treated like royalty and play a world class traditional course. Personally we’d play it again as as we travel back up and down the Sea to Sky Highway. It’s just that good!
www.squamishvalleygolf.com (604) 898 9521