Chillwack Golf Club
Architect: Ernest Brown
Par 72, 6489 yards
Date Played: July 2014
Peak Rate $50 - $75
Another gem of a course not to be missed in BC's Fraser Valley is the oh-so-friendly Chilliwack Golf Club. Located between the cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack, it is an easy 45 minutes drive southeast of Vancouver. The course is a pleasure to play, always in top notch condition and features stunning views of the surrounding Cascade and Coastal mountains.
First opening in 1958, the medium length layout features an enjoyable collection of holes which are easy to walk, fun and accessible to all levels of golfer. This is a country course, which like the many large trees which flank the fairways, has matured and grown up into something quite special. In more recent years, the young and golfing passionate staff have made lots of effort to improve the golfing experience.
A recent tweak to the layout and order of the front nine, has resulted in one of the tougher opening few holes around. The first hole is a strong dog leg left par-5 to a tricky green guarded by a deep bunker and large tree. Downwind, it is possible to reach the green with two strong shots but your drive must curve right to left, avoid a bunker and travel along way. Usually a layup to your favourite wedge distance is the best strategy. Avoid the deep green side bunker as a "sandy" here requires some skill. The second hole is a great test and one of the best par-4's on the course. The fairway curves gently to the right and both sides are guarded by mature and somewhat punishing conifers. The ideal tee shot curves a little left to right and skirts a shallow fairway bunker. If you lay back with your tee shot, you will potentially face a semi-blind approach and if you go for it with driver, be prepared to step up and hit a winner. The green is long, narrow, and features a shallow tier at the midpoint. To the left (high side) is a narrow bunker and to the right (low side) is a picturesque pond running the length of the green. Anything missed left will hang up on the hill, and anything to the right is likely lost to the hazard. From back in the fairway, your target looks deceptively small but a well struck shot usually finds the putting surface. This is a hole you will gladly take par on no matter how you do it. Before catching your breath, you must play the long 200+ yard third hole, which while quite open is a good test of a long iron or hybrid club.
After the challenging start, you enter the easiest stretch of the course. Another short par-3, is followed by a reachable par-5 and great drivable par-4. You will hopefully find some great opportunities to score. The front nine wraps up with two mid length par-4's and a short par-5 before returning to the club house. The back nine continues in the similar friendly manner and the holes tend to run alongside one another, with many tee's located near the previous green. You enjoy pleasant views of surrounding farmland and nearby mountains. The fairways are generous and well maintained and the greens fair but subtly sloped.
Finishing your round is just as tough as the beginning. The strong par-4 16th requires a committed tee shot and well struck second to one of the better green complexes on the course. Many a match has been surrendered to the out of bounds right and the large trees left. The somewhat diabolical 170 yard 17th may give you fits due to the severe ridge which separates the front and back portions. Proper club selection is imperative. Lastly the closing hole at Chilliwack is arguably its best. At 435 yards it is the longest par-4 on the course easily matches the second in toughness. You drive towards a generous landing area, protected by few large trees to the right and clump of conifers to the left. At about 265 yards from the back tee the fairway doglegs right and begin's to slope sharply downhill towards a small stream. Usually playing into a prevailing wind, you can hit driver avoiding both the conifers and the trees to the right. Downwind and for the longest hitters, the stream can be in play. It is the approach which makes the hole. You hit across a shallow valley to a green perched into the hill. It is two tiered, sloped from back to front and has bunkers guarding each side. It is a testing mid iron shot from the fairway and a challenging scramble from everywhere else. Be prepared to work the ball around a tree, bounce it short of the green or get up and down from greenside. Just like earlier in the round, par is a great score and one you will find most satisfying.
Chilliwack GC club is a friendly, enjoyable golf course, located in the pretty countryside of the Fraser Valley. The social atmosphere of the club, along with inviting holes and great course conditioning make it a popular golfing option. Also with a full range and busy golf academy, don't be surprised if you bump into a future PGA Tour star or maybe if your really lucky, a current one.