Combining the rugged beauty of mountains, lush forests and seascapes with a temperate climate makes Vancouver Island North ideally suited for countless outdoor pursuits. Whether you’re a first time player or a seasoned pro, golf courses here have such enormous natural appeal we wager you’ll have a hard time keeping your eye on the ball.
The smaller of two courses in the region is Port Alice Golf Course
Situated on the banks of Neroutsos Inlet, Port Alice is a picturesque coastal community known as The Gateway to the Wild West Coast. Built at the old town site the golf course isn’t long but definitely unique. The first five holes were designed in 1928 and the final four were added in 1935. The eighth tee originally sat on a barge at the shoreline and the course once earned itself a spot in the in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only course in the world with a church on the property. It has since been removed.
Aptly described by locals as challenging, the course features hills, creeks and ponds, tight greens and plenty of forest and water views. Run solely by volunteers the course also includes a licensed clubhouse with outdoor patio perfect to sit and enjoy snacks and refreshments. Open seven days a week year round with no tee times necessary. Join in with locals in annual events like the Men’s and Ladies Open Tournaments. The club also has a Junior’s Golf League and regular Men’s Night program. Clubs and push cart rentals are available along with extremely affordable green fees.
Created with help from countless small businesses, government funding and North Island residents from Port McNeill, Port Alice and Port Hardy Seven Hills Golf & Country Club is fairly equidistant between all three communities being located on the Port Alice Road Hwy 30.
This 3100 yard professionally designed 9-hole course demands length and accuracy with its undulating fairways - remember the name is Seven Hills!! Some players may not end their game with the same ball they started with. Not only is this course surrounded by towering trees there are also sand traps, four ponds and two lakes to keep things interesting. And the final three holes are long with well bent dog legs.
The course is open year round with a golf pro on site from March 1st to October 30th. PGA BC member Jaegan Patron provides lessons for all ages and level of experience and tailored to each player’s goals, abilities and swing. Visit the retail pro shop for golf clothing, clubs and accessories. Bring along your own set of clubs or if you’re traveling light no worries rentals include: golf clubs, push carts and golf carts. No time for a full game? Buy a bucket of balls and tee off under the all-weather covered driving range.
The clubhouse has a casual licensed café with outdoor deck. There are also RV sites near the driving range for one night to multi-month stays. Although the course is open for play year round, no rentals are available from October 31st to March 31st. Golfing then is an honour system where golfers are asked to leave payment in a lock box. There is only a caretaker on the premises so the pro shop and restaurant are closed to the public. Catering and parties are however available in the winter months for meetings, weddings and private functions.
Golfing here is not just a round of golf. The adventure includes sightseeing, wildlife viewing with a side of golf. Rugged natural surroundings and perhaps your best golf game ever. Two hidden gems to add to your list of places to visit on Vancouver Island North.
Karen Stewart – Freelance Writer