2015 Canadian Rockies Golf Tour a great success
DAY 18 - Our final round or Round 11 on tour was played at Mayfair Lakes, voted one of the favourite courses by the pro's on the Canadian PGA Tour. Les Furber created a wonderful championship golf course with clever bunkering and a network of lakes where water came into play on 13 of the 18 holes. Our final daily winners on tour were Tony & Noel and Rosie & Marina. We had some team fun with the Pink Ball competition - only 2 of the 6 teams returned home with their pink ball.
Our farewell dinner was hosted in one of the ballrooms of The Fairmont Vancouver. All through the tour there was much banter between the Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans and our final night was no exception. Tour winners were presented with their autographed pin flags - Rudi Weber from Kroneburg GC taking out the mens division and Colleen Roberts from Manly GC our womens division. I'm sure there will be a few sore heads the next day as our group venture back home after enjoying a wonderful tour of Canada.
DAY 17 - After a relaxing 4 day stay in Whistler we had an early start to the day driving the picturesque Sea to Sky Highway from Whistler to Furry Creek Golf Club in North Vancouver. Furry Creek came to fame with the Happy Gilmour movie and is an interesting course, unique with an alpine backdrop on one side and the Howe Sound on the other giving fabulous views from most holes. This course layout offered plenty of challenges with its elevation changes and ravine carries. Winners on the day were Jeanette & Rosie and Chris & John. From Furry Creek we travelled into Vancouver city on our last stay at The Fairmont Vancouver Hotel.
DAY 16 - A long earned rest day for most. While many strolled around the village we had some adventure adventure seekers - pony rides, canoe rides, extreme helicopter rides, marathon runs and extra rounds of golf at Arnold Palmer's Whistler Golf Club.
DAY 15 - Always a favourite on tour is the Robert Trent Jones Jnr Chateau Whistler Golf Course where our Round 9 was played. A tough course with the first 4 holes climbing up 400ft to a plateau with great views over Whistler and its mountains. There was a rumour that a mum and 2 bear cubs were on the course so the group was on high bear alert watch. Winners on the day were Viv and Rudi. In the evening, most of the group were entertained at the Japanese Restaurant.
DAY 14 - Round 8 was played at the Jack Nicklaus designed Nicklaus North in Whistler. A relatively flat parkland layout but with alpine backdrops of Blackcombe, Whistler and Wedge Mountains. Green Lake also came into play on the back nine. Bear photo winners on the day were Stu, Chris, Jeanette and Pam. Their entry called 'Bear Back' was judged the winner after a lot of protest and judge bribing. Golf winners were Colleen and Rudi.
DAY 13 - A travel day from Kelowna to Whistler through Kamloops and the Thompson Valley, a lunch detour to the old gold mine town of Lillooet (Mile Zero) and down the mountain on the infamous Duffy Creek Road where our bus driver earned his keep. Arrived in Whistler late in the day after an exhilarating ride, no bears today.
DAY 12 - Our last day at Predator Ridge! After sneaking off the night before for a practice round, many started Round 7 with a distinct advantage over the field and will be found out at fines! The Ridge Course while the easier of the two Predator Ridge Courses is not to be underestimated. With its significant elevation changes and granite outcrop shoot throughs onto perfectly lush fairways, good scores were rewarded to those who kept the ball straight. Winners on the day were Bill & Denise with runner-up prizes going to Greg & Lyn as well as Adrian & Nol. In the evening we enjoyed drinks, 'Canadian themed' snacks and lots of impromptu jokes on the terrace watching the sun set over this wonderful resort.
DAY 11 - A well earned rest from golf as we enjoyed sampling wines from the Okanagan Valley. With over 65 vineyards in the region, we were spoiled for choice. Our tour ventured to West Kelowna to the magnificent Mission Hills Estate overlooking Lake Okanagan. Then onto Gray Monk for a superb lunch in the vineyards.
DAY 10 - Welcome to the best golf resort in BC - Predator Ridge! Everyone in the group agreed that 4 nights at this 5-star resort is like golfer heaven! We played Round 6 on tour, Les Furber's Predator Course, first opened in 1991 and renovated in 2008 and 2010, this is a wonderful old-style links course with our favourite fescue grass (NOT) and greens well guarded by bunkers. Winners on the day with a massive 119 points was Rob O'Shea and Gil Piccinato. Runner-up was Brigit Holford and Sarah Andrews with 108 points. The US Open Calcutta was won by 8 punters backing Jordan Speith - Viv, Jeanette, Andrew, Judi, Lyn, Adrian, Tony and Rudi.
DAY 9 - A travel day from Invermere taking us over the mountains through the infamous Rogers Pass down into the Okanagan Valley, the California of Canada. No bears sighted on this day although there was a close call with some 'thinking' they spotted bears in a roadside litter bin (Yeah right!). Highlight of the day had to be soup and sandwich lunch at Three Valley Gap and to see where the last spike on the Canadian Pacific Railways was driven in connecting east with west.
DAY 8 - Round 5 was played at Eagle Ranch Golf Resort, one of the Colombia Valley's Top 3 golf courses. Eagle Ranch's distinct nine's of parkland and ravine golf created a lot of discussion amongst the group over drinks. Winners on the day were Steve Hicks and Jeanette Reitzer. Runner-up was Greg Jaunay and Judi Denton.
DAY 7 - Round 4 was played at Greywolf Golf Resort up on Mount Panorama, the World Cup Ski Village. This course is always a tour favourite with its 400ft elevation changes, alpine views and forest backdrops. Designed by Doug Carrick, Greywolf is ranked in Canada's Top 10 golf courses and gets our seal of approval with its collection of par 3's including the famous Cliffhanger Hole #6, a canyon approach par 3, not for the feint hearted golfer!. Winners at Greywolf were in mixed pairs with Stu Kennedy and Nol Parkyn taking out the winners caps. Runner-up was Sarah Andrews with mystery partner John Denton. After golf the group enjoyed refreshments in the newly opened Greywolf clubhouse.
DAY 6 - Round 3 on tour was played at the Gary Browning designed Copper Point Golf Club only opened in 2010. This championship golf course was in great condition and golfers enjoyed the generous fairways and challenge of the holes progressively getting harder from 1 through to 18. Winners on the day were Colleen Roberts and Frank Weber who shot his career best of 69 of the stick. In the evening, many enjoyed a night at the Black Forest German Restaurant.
DAY 5 - Our last day in Banff didn't disappoint with perfect sunshine coming through to show off those fabulous jagged peaks of Sulphur Mountain, Tunnel Mountain and Mt Rundle. Our journey from Banff to Lake Louise on the old A1 highway produced our first bear sighting, a 2-year old black bear happily munching the dandelions on the roadside.
Our group enjoyed a stroll around the lake's edge and canoe rides on Lake Louise or 'lake of little fishes' as the First Nation peoples referred to this natural wonder. A lunch followed in the picturesque Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel which overlooked the lake. Interestingly the warm summer in Canada this year saw most of the snow on the ground and mountain caps melted.
From Lake Louise we travelled over Mt Victoria to Lake Moraine which many agreed was even more stunning in colour than Lake Louise. A few scrambled up the moraine to take a better look at the lake.
Our afternoon travel from the Rockies into the Kootenay Ranges and through to Radium Hot Springs gave our group a unique opportunity to see a grizzly bear in the wild (although from the safe confines of the bus!). After stocking up on food for entertainment we booked into the luxurious Copper Point Resort to relax with hot pools and views of the Purcell Mountains.
DAY 4 - Our second round on tour was played at the Banff Springs Golf Club, a magnificent Stanley Thompson design from 1928. In perfect golf weather our threesome winners on the day were Rudi Weber, Steve Hosken and Sarah Andrews.
DAY 3 - The group travelled west from Calgary onto to Banff National Park enjoying the sights of this great UNESCO World Heritage Site including a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain and a walk to the 'hoodoo's'. We booked into the famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel for a luxury stay in this popular tourist town.
DAY 2 - Our first round of golf was played in Calgary at the private Lynx Ridge Golf Club. Designed by well known Canadian architect Bill Newis this course has a wonderful layout with fairways and greens crossing ridges, valleys and lakes. Winners on the day were Jeanette Reitzer and Frank Weber.
DAY 1 - Our 2015 Canadian Rockies Golf Tour, the 12th tour to Canada for PaR nz Golfing Holidays, commenced in Calgary on the 12th June with a welcome dinner at the luxurious 5-star Fairmont Palliser Hotel. The group welcomed golfers from around New Zealand and Australia, many of which had travelled with PaR nz on previous tours.