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 a PGA of British Columbia Bronze Facility in 2012—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:
At Okanagan Street Striders, mobile elliptical machines break free from the gym’s stationary rows and help exercisers grab some fresh air during their cross-training workouts. A fitness-savvy staff acquaints riders with their mounts, which target muscles all over the body without unnecessary impact or unnatural motions. Riders glide along paved trails and pathways, taking in a scenic alternative to staring at television screens, helping riders avoid the cardio room’s cramped confines or tempting smells from the gym's in-house bakery. In addition to daily rentals, Okanagan Street Striders also organizes group night rides.
Diving Dynamics primes aquatic explorers for underwater adventures with an in-depth introductory diving course taught by experienced instructors. The 60-minute session—known as the Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) course—orients participants with a comprehensive tour of the facilities that covers essential scuba equipment that students can touch and tango with. Once geared up in provided equipment, pupils dip into a custom-built pool to practice breathing underwater and sea-friendly manoeuvres for 30 minutes. The introduction also enlightens interested parties by explaining the best practices for transforming a scuba hobby into a vocation. A hot-dog cookout further bolsters the discovery course and serves as bonding time for participants and teachers. Diving Dynamics requires participants to bring their own bathing suits.
With more than 40 years of yogic practice between them, Sonya and Jeff Thomlinson teach the methodologies of Kripalu yoga, which focuses equally on physical and meditative elements. Together, they run Trinity Yoga Center's teacher-training program, sharing the lessons they learned from many internationally recognized yogis such as Stephen Cope, Ana Forrest, and Shiva Rea. During daily classes at Trinity’s two locations, the teachers, in turn, reach out to beginning practitioners, aiding them in achieving perfect postures even as they reflect inward. Individual sessions focus on aspects of yoga such as core power, stress reduction, and candlelit meditation. Students leave class with calmer, more focused minds and increased levels of energy that occasionally result in them sneezing lightning bolts.
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.