In Praise of Predator Ridge Resort

Predator Ridge Golf Resort, seventh hole at The Ridge Course

The seventh hole at The Ridge Course, the award-winning Doug Carrick design at Predator Ridge Resort near Vernon. (Image: Predator Ridge Resort)

Canada offers an exceptional lineup of golf resorts—from Cabot Links and Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa in the East to Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge in the West. But one of my favourites, a place I’d visit every season if I could, is Predator Ridge Resort.

Predator Ridge Resort, Vernon, British Columbia

Predator Ridge Resort’s main lodge. (Image: Predator Ridge Resort)

Located just outside Vernon, B.C., the 1,200-acre resort and real estate development offers an impossibly scenic landscape of clear lakes, fast-rushing mountain streams and wheatgrass meadows. There’s a central lodge, two- and three-bedroom cottages, and two championship golf courses. The older course, Predator, is a Les Furber design that wends through rolling hills and tall grasses. But the real star is The Ridge, a brilliant Doug Carrick creation named SCOREGolf’s best new Canadian course of 2010.

Built at a cost of $10-million, Carrick’s 7,190-yard design seamlessly blends eight completely rebuilt holes of Predator Ridge Resort’s old Peregrine course with 10 spectacular new holes carved through rugged mountain terrain offering cliff-top tee shots and panoramic views of Lake Okanagan far below. Though visually intimidating, The Ridge’s fairways are wider than they at first appear, with dramatic mounds and slopes to help funnel errant shots back into play.

Particularly striking at The Ridge are the dozens of mountain rock formations that have been scraped clean and power-washed to make their colours and striations more vivid. It’s a robust and uniquely Canadian design technique that the Toronto-based Carrick perfected at his award-winning Muskoka Bay Club in Ontario.

Just as impressive is the careful attention Carrick paid to his forward tees. Golfers playing from up front enjoy many of the same thrilling elevated lift-offs and stunning mountain vistas as their longer-hitting partners at the tips.

What thrills and amazes me every time I visit Predator Ridge is the feeling that I’ve entered a kind of golf heaven. The red hills of the Okanagan Valley, a landscape Mother Nature made especially for golf, roll endlessly toward the horizon. From sunup to sundown, golfers can be seen pounding balls at the massive driving range set in the valley beneath the main lodge. Though the resort offers a spa, pool, gym and other amenities, they’re merely distractions until your next eagerly anticipated tee time.

 

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