British Columbia is easy to reach. British Airways (www.ba.com, 0870 8509850) and Air Canada (www.aircanada.com, 0871 220 1111) operate twice daily flights from London to Vancouver. For the Kootenay Rockies fly to Calgary or take the Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver and sit back and enjoy the ride.
WHERE TO PLAY
Summer golfing in British Columbia is a unique experience. While playing the four fantastic courses in Whistler, golfers can often spot bald eagles cruising overhead and occasionally a family of bears wandering across the fairways.
Whistler is best known as a ski resort and therefore golf is restricted to the summer. But the opening of Jack Nicklaus’ spectacular signature course at Bear Mountain Golf & Country Club has brought neighbouring Vancouver Island into sharp focus as Canada’s only year-round golfing destination.
Also on the island, Greg Norman is working on The Cliffs at Maple Bay, due to open early in 2008 in Cowichan Valley – around the same time that Nicklaus expects to complete his second course at Bear Mountain.
In fact a total of 12 mature, quality courses are open to visitors throughout the year on this Pacific coast island, including Olympic View, Arbutus Ridge, Pheasant Glen and Fairwinds.
Add in the Kootenay Rockies, which has some spectacular mountain golf and the Thompson Okanagan region, and British Columbia already has over 40 18-hole courses ready to welcome visitors.
The Bear Mountain resort is the hottest new golf destination in the region. Located in the hills outside the state capital of Victoria, it will soon open the second of two Jack Nicklaus courses offering mountain and ocean views as well as GPS technology.
WHERE TO STAY
The Victoria Regent and Delta Hotels’ Victoria Ocean Pointe both provide good bases in Victoria from which to reach several of the nearby courses. In Whistler, golfers can choose between the luxury of Fairmont Chateau Whistler, the Four Seasons Resort and Delta’s Whistler Village Suites.
Some of the world’s best whale watching can be experienced close to Vancouver Island. In fact British Columbia is all about the great outdoors with fishing, surfing, kayaking, hiking and mountain biking among the most popular pursuits. Bear and bird watching are also in demand.
Bear Mountain Resort
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe
Fairmont Chateau Whistler