Score Golf Course Review - Fraserview Golf Club
Architect: Major H.L. McPherson (1934), Thomas McBroom (1998)
Par 72, 5140 - 6689 yards
Date Played: Oct 2015
Peak Rate $67 weekends
Ask any golfer what their favourite muni might be and you will get a wide array of responses. Depending where the golfer is located, this could mean the simple yet rugged track located in many of Canada's small town's. The kind of place your budding junior golfer heads to early in the morning, plays a quick 18, wolfs down the customary hot dog before the afternoon replay. It could mean one of the legendary municipal courses we see on the PGA Tour, such wonders as St Andrews, Bethpage, Harding Park or the timeless array of Parks Canada Courses so prominently recognized in the Score Golf Top 100 rankings. While some of the aforementioned courses are stars in our game, great municipal golf exists all across Canada, and even in the heart of our biggest cities.
Here in Vancouver, we have three such offerings owned by the City of Vancouver. They are Langara Golf Course, McLeery Golf Course and the big brother of the three, Fraserview Golf Course. Fraserview sits upon almost 200 acres of green space in Vancouver's South East corner. At one point, this was claimed to be busiest golf course in Canada. Things have fallen off a little but to this day, peak tee times at any of the City courses are hard to get. The reason, quality golf at a great price.
Fraserview began construction in the 1930's as a 'relief workers' project. The first nine holes opened for play in 1934 with the second nine following four years later. Over 600 workers, averaging 50 per day were hired to build the course on what was a former vineyard turned into large public park. The original architect was Major H.L. McPherson, who also laid out the popular and busy University Golf Course.
The scale of Fraserview is impressive. It is a big property, featuring large west coast tree's, expansive bunkering and generous playing corridors. There are a number of ravines and pockets of mature forest, dotted throughout the property and you really feel removed from the bustling city. In the mid nineties, Canadian architect Tom McBroom was hired to bring the course up to modern standards and did so commendably. The layout features two distinct nines and has a great mix of holes, some easy, some more challenging but all are playable by a wide variety of golfer.
The fall is a great time to play golf in Vancouver, cool crisp conditions, warm sunshine and great fall colours. Course conditions are always top notch and quite playable throughout the year. Conditions in the Pacific North West change with each season. Summers are warm, dry and the golf is firm, bouncy with courses playing much shorter. Winter is cool and damp, causing much softer conditions which play every bit of the sea level yardage.
The par three’s at Fraserview are particularly good, the third hole plays downhill with a great view of the city. The seventh offers a stellar test of ball striking, across a shallow ravine with large green side bunkering. The thirteenth is a signature type hole, picturesque, long, with a pretty pond flanking the right side. The sixteenth plays slightly downhill, offers a nice chance for birdie and isframed by some majestic trees.
At Fraserview the front nine provides some nice opportunities for birdie but as you make the homeward turn, things get a little tougher. The tenth is a long but open par-4, playing gently uphill to a well bunkered shallow green. Par is well deserved, likewise on the previously mentioned 13th. The bunkerless 14th is a fair but testing par-4 with an angled green flanked by trees and some tricky little mounding. After birdie chances at 15 and 16, the par-4 17th is the toughest hole on the course. At 450 yards from the back tee, a strong drive is absolutely imperative. Your second plays uphill to a long narrow green, guarded by a deep bunker to the right. A well struck approach, curving slightly from left to right will leave a birdie putt or chance to save par. Bogey here is by no means a poor score. The home hole is a lengthy three shot par-5, curving right to left, with a deep and treacherous ravine short of the green. The smart play is to lay up at a 110 yards and trust your wedge but you will still have to 'thread the uprights' before finding the putting surface on this challenging hole.
Fraserview is the biggest, toughest and arguably the best of the three City of Vancouver owned courses. Like the others, it remains open all year round and offers an enjoyable and accessible golf experience, which is great value for your golfing dollar.