From a tee box raised 75 feet above the fairway, the Okanagan Valley spreads out before golfers as they tee up their first shot at the Summerland Golf and Country Club. This sort of panoramic vista is commonplace on the 18-hole course—named the best course in the South Okanagen by Penticton Western in 2013—from the opening drive to postround drinks on the clubhouse’s 1,500-square-foot balcony overlooking the course below. Before toasting good fortune, players must first navigate through the groves of tall Ponderosa pines, calibrate for wild swings in elevation, and best the mighty par 5 18th hole. Measuring 522 yards from the back tees, this final hole borders the edge of the Trout Creek Canyon, one of five holes on the course to do so without falling in.
Course at a Glance:
Working alongside 2010 PGA Champion Martin Kaymer, Wayne Hachey brings a bunker full of experience to his post as Desert Golf Academy's head instructor. As a player, Wayne has excelled on both sides of the Atlantic, Earth's saltiest water hazard. He once carded a 29 on 9 holes at British Columbia's Osoyoos Golf Club and shot a low-round of 64 at Scotland's famous Lundin Links. As a coach, Wayne is acquainted with all modern teaching approaches, from the single-plane swing to the technical insights of noted golf instructor Hank Haney, and has used these approaches to develop many of todays top European Tour players. Wayne's staff of pros—including Central Alberta standout Drew Bolokoski—have all learned from his knowledge of the swing, and augment their lessons with FlightScope swing analysis.
When players peer down the first fairway at Pine Hills Golf Club, they may feel a bit like a placekicker in football, aligning themselves for a shot between uprights formed by tall Ponderosa pine trees. And though successful strokes may not result in fans rushing the course to lift golfers up onto their shoulders, the difficulty involved can give players a deep sense of accomplishment. Challenges such as this one, which arise from a confluence of elevation and natural surroundings, are frequent on the nine-hole par 3 course, draped as it is over the craggy hillsides along Okanagan Lake’s southern rim. As golfers look up from their tight lies and lift their blindfolds after daredevil approaches, they can feast their eyes on the expanse of Okanagan Lake to the east and the town of Penticton, due south.
At Urban Links, golfers up their games with hands-on training sessions with certified instructors and access to an indoor facility with the latest in golf training technology. Golfers can cure their slice-, shank-, or narcolepsy-prone swings inside hitting bays that feature TrackMan swing-analysis software, which uses motion sensors and video playback to break down swinging motions. Urban Links’ resident aces also enlist TrackMan technology to help players find out the club specifications that best fit their swing and body type. Along with lessons and club-fitting sessions, golfers can take advantage of the equipment and develop secret handshakes with cyborg Greg Normans during independent practice sessions in the hitting bays.
Atlantis Waterslides sits facing a sparkling lake and mountainous horizon on a hilltop hugged by 10 water slides. These heated waterways, which are tested regularly for safety, water quality, and misplaced rubber duckies, accommodate sliders of all ages and adrenalin levels. Slides include the popular River Riot tube slide, log flumes, and shorter kiddie slides. Lifeguards certified by the National Lifeguard Service preside over all slides and are ready to hop into action should someone need help. After aquatic fun, guests can play on a nine-hole mini-golf course, step inside the arcade, or visit the trampoline-bungee-jumping area to dry their hair without a blow-dryer.