SCORE GOLF COURSE BLOG - The Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club
Published March 6th, 2014 - click here to go to the article
A short ferry ride across the scenic Howe Sound Inlet is all that separates B.C.’s Sunshine Coast from the hustle and bustle of Metro Vancouver. This quaint stretch of coastline is easily within day-trip distance of Vancouver, yet feels a world removed. With an abundance of art, culture, and outdoor recreation, the Sunshine Coast is truly a vacationer’s paradise. A scenic 20-minute drive north of the Langdale ferry terminal, is the small community of Roberts Creek. Known for a beautiful sandy beach, quaint town centre and legendary Gumboot Cafe, it is also home to the Sunshine Coast G&CC. Ranked fifth on the 2012 PGA of BC Hidden Gems list, twice host of the Canadian Junior Championship and of the Canadian Club Champions Championship, this fun layout offer’s one of B.C.’s most enjoyable golfing experiences.
The original nine (back nine), designed by Ernie Brown, is a back and forth layout, featuring narrow fairways lined with mature fir trees and smallish greens. Opening in 1996, the new nine (front nine), designed by Less Furber, is an out and back layout, cut from dense fir forest, which truly takes you on a journey into the natural beauty of the Sunshine Coast.
The course opens with an elevated tee shot to the gently sloping, although visually narrow fairway. You’ll watch your tee shot soar through the air, noticing just how big the large old growth fir trees actually are. You’ll soon realize the fairway isn’t as narrow as first thought, a theme which continues throughout. The front nine presents a series of fun, challenging but fair golf holes. The fairways are generous but tree lined, slopes are gentle but ever present and the greens subtle enough to challenge without being excessive. Featuring three reachable par 5s, four mid-length par 4s and a pair of difficult par 3s, the front nine provides numerous chances to score yet keeps the better player honest.
A wonderful three-hole stretch begins with the dogleg left par-5 eighth hole, ending with the mid-length tough par-4 10th. Framed by a stand of large Firs and three fairway bunkers, the eighth hole curves downhill to the right before pitching back up to a semi-blind green. With a generous bailout area left, you’ll be tempted to cut the corner with your drive but you must risk a short side pitch out. A strong drive will reach the corner of the dogleg and set up a great chance to go at the large, multi-tiered green in two. The hole is a definite birdie or even eagle opportunity, yet an errant shot can result in bogey or worse.
At 196 yards from the back tee, the ninth hole is a challenging par 3, requiring a well-struck tee shot towards a long, narrow yet receptive green. Protected by a bunker and steep fall away to the left, and a high side collection area to the right, you must decide whether to go after the pin, risking a short side miss, or play safe to the high side and face a delicate downhill chip. Par is a great score but anything from a one to five is possible.
The long par-4 10th hole presents one of the tougher tests on the day. An accurate tee shot is required to a generous but completely tree-lined fairway. With the potential for a sidehill/hook lie (for righties), you’re asked to hit a mid to long iron across a shallow ravine into a kidney shaped green, all while navigating the constant right to left slope. Here the potential exists for one of those rare highlight swings, where the ball curves through the air, matching the terrain, lands, takes the slope and chases towards a back left pin. Then again, a missed approach leaves a stern test of your skill, creativity and finesse. Par is a most satisfactory score.
The course continues in this fashion with a few demanding shots, mixed in with ample birdie opportunities, pleasant views and a most enjoyable walk. The back nine is more open with room to swing the driver. There are views to the ocean, the mountains, and the variety of holes, terrain and shot selection keep you interested. Ending with the strong dogleg right, uphill par-4 18th, I notice I’ve hit almost every club in my bag, have made some birdies, a few bogeys and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Head professional Jim Pringle offers this quote: “I feel the greatest compliments given are the reactions from first time visitors. They finish their round and tell us that they can’t wait to come back and play here again. The course is a playable length for all levels of golfers, and challenges the expert player with challenging greens and surrounds. All this and you get to spend time on the Sunshine Coast, on of B.C.’s great vacation destinations.”
If I had to offer criticism, it would be towards a select few forced carries located on the front nine and to the over abundance of large trees lining the fairways, both of which can be overly punishing to a higher handicap. While the course is not long, it is varied, scenic and during the summer months, in superb condition. There are opportunities for all skill sets and it is a one of the more affordable and enjoyable golfing experiences on the west coast. A post-round beverage on the large patio, starring out towards Vancouver Island and the Straight of Georgia caps off a great day.