As far as golf trails go, one of the best in North America is the Vancouver Island Golf Trail. With 13 golf courses in four distinct regions, the 250-kilometre trail, which meanders from Victoria in the south to Campbell River in the north, serves up spectacular scenery, a novel-long list of après-golf attractions and, yes, plenty of unforgettable golf.
Here are five courses you won’t want to miss when you’re travelling the trail.
The breathtaking landscape of the Valley Course at Bear Mountain. Photo by Josh Strukoff.
Bear Mountain Resort Valley Course (Victoria)
There are two distinct courses at Bear Mountain — the Mountain Course and the Valley Course. Both were designed by Nicklaus Design, and both are bold, brawny and enjoyable. But the Valley Course, in particular, is a resort golfer’s dream. The fairways are wide, the greens are spacious, and there is a “doable” aura that prevails. Plus, the drama — thanks to the dips and the drops, not to mention the bunkering and the backdrops — is off the charts.
The Cowichan Golf & Country Club packs a punch when it comes to scenery. Photo courtesy Golfing Vancouver Island.
Cowichan Golf & Country Club (Duncan)
If the warm climate and the wine don’t win you over, the golf in the Cowichan Valley will. The Cowichan Golf & Country Club, just outside of Duncan, is a rolling, mature, tree-lined course with a refined character. Designed by legendary Pacific Northwest architect A.V. Macan in the 1940s (nine holes were added in 1985), the course isn’t long, but it will test every club in your bag. Short-game specialists will love it. Long hitters, meanwhile, will have to — at times! — temper their go-for-broke approach.
A morning round of golf surrounded by the forest at Pheasant Glen. Photo courtesy Golfing Vancouver Island.
Pheasant Glen Golf Resort (Parksville/Qualicum Beach)
Variety, they say, is the spice of life. And the Pheasant Glen Golf Resort has that in spades. The 6,928-yard, par-72 layout meanders through marshland, careens through woodland, and muscles its way through meadows. With enough challenge for the scratch player, Pheasant Glen epitomizes what the peaceful and pastoral golf scene on Vancouver Island is all about. For those who want to improve their game, Pheasant Glen is also home to a great golf academy; a place where nasty knuckleballs can turn into magnificent moonshots.
The second hole at Storey Creek Golf Club. Photo courtesy Golfing Vancouver Island.
Storey Creek Golf Club (North Island)
Routed through a pristine forest with no homes in sight, the Storey Creek Golf Course near Campbell River is an “out there” golf experience unlike anything else on Vancouver Island. Deer scamper on the fairways, eagles soar overhead, and bear-sightings are not uncommon. Then there’s the golf itself — thanks to towering trees, undulating greens, and plenty of ponds that frame the holes, it’s memorable from start to finish. This is about as pure and natural as a golf course can be.
An aerial view of the recently redesigned Campbell River Golf and Country Club. Photo courtesy Golfing Vancouver Island.
Campbell River Golf and Country Club (North Island)
Sporty, walkable, and impeccably maintained, the Campbell River Golf & Country Club, which was completely redesigned in 2018, is one of the most talked-about golf courses in British Columbia. And for good reason. It has a hip, energetic vibe — thanks, in large part, to the Velocity Lounge with its Toptracer-equipped driving range and private party bays that are winning over golfers of all skill levels. And the relatively flat layout is fast and fun, with turf and playing conditions that, at times, rival those found at the world-famous August National Golf Club — seriously.