The origin story of Gig Harbor Golf Club has a certain Rockwellian flavor. In the early 1950s, the Wollochet Community Club?a group that included local community leader Walter Hogan?discussed building their own country club. The idea generated buzz throughout the community, who invested not just money, but sweat equity. After purchasing a 114-acre farm with a brilliant view of Mount Rainier, the club's charter members took to etching the course into the land, using all of the tools they had at their disposal?some even used spoons, screwdrivers, and garden rakes to dig rocks out of the soil and flatten the turf.
Opened in 1961, the 9-hole labor of love still stands, having benefited from a half century of maturation and trading out fedora hats in favor of flags. The course?which measures 5,420 yards from the farthest tees?presents ample opportunities to score, including four short par-fours in which some golfers may be able to drive the green. The course features two distinct sets of forward and back tees (four tees total), so golfers can play it twice over for an 18-hole round that has a different front- and back-nine experience.
Nestled amid the vibrant scenery of Cowichan's wine country, Arbutus Ridge Golf Club's 18-hole, par 71 course weaves through 6,193 yards of fairways and greens kissed by breezes moving inland off the waters of the Saanich Inlet. Named one of Canada's Ten Best Golf Courses for Value by Westjet's Up! magazine in 2009, the course's front nine weaves alongside the seaside community of Cobble Hill before ascending a ridge to a plateau on the back nine, where players can soak in sweeping views of Salt Spring Island and name new constellations in the divots peppered across the course below. Though players encounter many par 4s and reachable par 5s, Arbutus Ridge concludes with three treacherous holes, including the 214-yard, par 3 17th hole, where golfers must overcome swirling winds to land tee shots on an island green. Golfers can prepare for rounds with a stint at the club's driving range or by scouting sand traps' self-defence mechanisms while watching the club's online course videos.
Arbutus Ridge cares about the condition of its course and the nature that surrounds it, and because of its efforts toward sustainable practices, the course has been certified by Audubon International. After rounds, course patrons can retire to the Satellite Bar & Grille, which overlooks the Satellite Channel and serves a seasonal menu of West Coast?influenced French bistro fare, with offerings that include halibut, salmon, and tenderloin steak, which pairs well with a glass of Jean Van de Velde's tears.
Course at a Glance: