Kootenay Golf is a Rocky Mountain High

St. Eugene Golf Resort Cranbrook BC (Image: St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino)

St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino is home to a Les Furber design affording spectacular views of the St. Mary River and Fisher Peak. (Image: St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino)

With a lineup that includes Greywolf and Wildstone, two of Canada’s marquee courses, the Kootenay Rockies has become a must-play golf destination.

Tourism operators in the Kootenay Rockies knew they had won golf’s version of the lottery when Greywolf Golf Course was declared Golf Digest’s best new Canadian course of 1999.

Suddenly golfers began flocking to this once sleepy mountain playground in the southeast corner of British Columbia to play Greywolf, Copper Point, Eagle Ranch and other outstanding courses. The rugged alpine setting—including the communities of Cranbrook, Kimberley, Invermere and Radium Hot Springs—also provides a thrilling canvas for hiking, biking, climbing, river rafting and wildlife viewing.

Few courses have made a bigger splash than Greywolf, a drama-filled Doug Carrick design next door to the Panorama ski and golf resort near Invermere.

"Cliffhanger" at Greywolf Golf Course is one of Canada's signature par-three holes. (Image: Evan Schiller)

“Cliffhanger” at Greywolf Golf Course is one of Canada’s signature par-three holes. (Image: Evan Schiller)

Greywolf’s signature hole, aptly known as Cliffhanger, is a staggeringly beautiful par three demanding a long gut-churning carry over the sheer drop of Hopeful Canyon to a green perched along the edges of vertical rock cliffs. All that’s missing from this postcard-perfect Canadian setting is a Mountie standing on guard at the tee.

Several other noteworthy courses are within easy reach of Greywolf, making this an ideal destination for avid golfers.

Upscale Copper Point Resort is home to two beauties. Copper Point Golf Club is a lush and challenging layout offering jaw-dropping mountain views. The Ridge at Copper Point, meanwhile, is an innovative Gary Browning design featuring a blend of full-length par-three and par-four holes, but not a single par-five.

A tee off at Eagle Ranch Golf Course is equally essential. This thrill-a-minute Bill Robinson design leaps gaping canyons and sweeps along elevated bluffs.

Wildstone Golf Course (Image: Wildstone Golf Course)

Wildstone Golf Course is Gary Player’s first Canadian design. (Image: Wildstone Golf Course)

Another local favourite, the Radium course at Radium Resort, is carved through rugged terrain bordering Kootenay National Park. The resort’s even better second course, Springs, is a Les Furber design set on the banks of the Columbia River.

Though thrilling, mountain golf takes a physical toll. Ideal for easing aches and strains, a mineral hot spring billed as Canada’s largest is a major attraction at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, a chalet-style retreat boasting two strong golf courses, Riverside and Mountainside.

Sparked by the popularity of Greywolf, the Kootenay Rockies has become one of Canada’s must-play destinations. Resorts and new marquee courses have opened to accommodate the influx of visitors.

Conveniently located near Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook, the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino includes a Les Furber-designed course affording panoramic views of the St. Mary River and Fisher Peak.

But the most ballyhooed opening since the launch of Greywolf came in 2011 when the great Gary Player unveiled Wildstone Golf Course, his first-ever design in Canada. Stretching 7,100 yards from the back tees, Wildstone is a brawny test of golf set on rolling mountain highlands above Cranbrook. “Wildstone excels in scenery and strategies,” raved Golf Digest.

Yet another jackpot win for the Kootenay Rockies.

 

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