Golfers must vary playing terrains to stay challenged, often resorting to playing courses backward, digging their own decoy holes, or mowing mohawks in the grass of entire back nines. Enjoy the boons of natural variation with today's Groupon: for $79, you get a round of golf, plus a cart and $10 toward eats and drinks, at Bear Mountain Resort (up to a $176.88 value, including HST). As an additional bonus, the resort is offering $20 toward any lesson at the Golf Academy.
Bear Mountain Resort invites golfers to tackle 18 holes across one of its two Nicklaus Design courses, set in Vancouver Island's verdant mountains. Codesigned by Jack Nicklaus and son Steve, the original par 72 Mountain course sprawls 7,203 yards across the hills and the intricate crop circles at the foot of Mount Finlayson. Players launch off four tees over slopes and forests that drop off to reveal a panorama of surrounding mountains, water bodies, and distant caddy colonies sending advice by semaphore. The par 71 Valley course refuses to live in its sibling's grass clippings, with elevated tee decks that usher iron wielders through 6,807 yards of wider emerald fairways, sprawling greens, and less frequent bunkers. Resort staff outfits each player with range balls to use at the practice facility, plus a club valet and cleaning service. Power carts help players traverse greens by GPS navigation and with the inherited directional instincts of their taxi ancestors.
Postgame victors swap fairway tales at one of the resort's dining areas, including the Masters Lounge, Copper Rock Grill, and Panache. Sink into sumptuous leather seating at the opulent Masters Lounge, where chefs load items such as the artisan cheese platter with a UN-sanctioned cargo of preserves, candied nuts, and crackers ($16). Casual Copper Rock Grill invites diners to dip into seafood chowder ($8) while fending off hungry cumulus clouds on the outdoor terrace with the sunny powers of an AAA prime-rib burger ($14). A reincarnation of Copper Rock is scheduled for September, when it will emerge as Italian restaurant Bella Montagna.
Bear Mountain Resort's rates fluctuate throughout the week, and though some discounts are offered online, this Groupon still provides the best deal available.