For the golfing aficionado who wishes to combine a little trip to the beach along with his/her golfing, there is no better place than a trip to the southern tip of the municipality of Surrey. Just a few kilometers west of this area is the city of White Rock, British Columbia in Canada. White Rock and its beaches along the Pacific Ocean is a well-known tourist center. White Rock is just fifty kilometers or roughly thirty-one miles due south of the city of Vancouver on Highway 99 which turns into I-5 in the Unites States and which goes all the way down to Tijuana, Mexico.
There are several first class golf courses in this area; the Morgan Creek Golf Course, Peace Portal Golf Course, Hazelmere Golf Course and the Northview Golf & Country Club. Of the four, Northview is the world class golf course that has hosted PGA events for seven years between 1996 and 2002. Morgan Creek has also been named as one of the top courses in Canada by Score magazine.,
Northview Golf & Country Club
Built during 1994-1995, the Arnold Palmer design boasts two championship courses, The Ridge and The Canal. Both courses contain the typical Arnold Palmer “go for broke” concept in their designs. The predominant feature of both courses is the abundance of water. And the water is used strategically on many holes to create a risk/reward situation. The par five eighteenth hole of the Ridge course, for example, and which by the way is its signature hole, the pros cut over a large body of water on their second shot but us shorter hitters must negotiate around the water and hit the green with the third shot.
The Ridge Golf Course
The 6,900 yard Ridge course is the more challenging of the two courses, as the first nine of the Ridge winds its way up and down the ridge with some narrow, gently contoured and challenging fairways. Accuracy, therefore, becomes the watchword on this course. Most of the PGA tour events were played on The Ridge. The inaugural tournament, called the Greater Vancouver Open, held in August, 1996, was won by Julius Boros. Since then, several well know pros such as Mark Calcavecchia and the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee have their names engraved on the trophy. For most Canadians, however, the golf course is known as the Mike Weir course, as he won the 1999 Air Canada Championship here. He is the only Canadian to have won a PGA tournament on Canadian soil. There is a commemorative plaque on the fourteenth fairway to describe how he holed out a one hundred and fifty nine yard eight iron shot for an eagle two and went on to win the tournament by two strokes. Mike parlayed this win into several notable wins shortly thereafter, culminating in winning the 2003 Masters that will likely stand as his crowning achievement.
The Canal Golf Course
The 7,101 yard Canal course, taking its name from the Serpentine Canal that runs through the course, is a relatively flat Fraser Valley lands that has been artificially enhanced with mounds and moguls. We understand that the design was influenced by courses in Palm Springs and the Arizona desert. The Canal has not seen too many pro sanctioned tournaments. Most of the traffic is from the members, locals and/or numerous local tournaments. Ten of the eighteen holes have water and unless shots are not thought out and played strategically, you will find yourself in a lot of trouble. When you are finished with your round on The Canal and are walking back towards the clubhouse, you will pass by a world class driving range; suitable for pre-game warm-up or honing up your golf swing.
Northview boasts a sumptuous two-storey clubhouse that, in addition to supporting the golfing public and tournaments, caters to weddings, banquets, meetings and/or other celebratory events. For fine dining, there is the Arnold Palmer room and for casual snacks and drinks you would go to Duffey’s Sports Grill. The lower level houses the golf shop, locker rooms and other golf related facilities. For those wishing to sharpen their games, a CPGA/LPGA run in-house golf academy is available.
Off To The Beach
When the pros come to Northview to play, they tend to go back towards Vancouver or near the airport for their evening dining and entertainment. Since it is only about thirty-five miles from Northview to Vancouver, this is quite understandable. However, for those of you who are on vacation, I would recommend you take a fifteen minute drive west to the town of White Rock. The southernmost end of White Rock borders the Pacific Ocean. The Marine Drive, or Eight Avenue, runs along the beach front for about a mile and a half. The Strip is a typical ocean front development that caters to every conceivable need of the tourists. There is a pier that juts out about a quarter of a mile with a small platform on the end where crab fishing boats land to drop off their catch of the day. Some people spend their evening fishing off the pier as well. Needless to say, eating places are the predominant fixtures of the Strip. The Boat House is arguably the featured seafood restaurant in the area. Fish and chips shops occupy almost every corner. Italian, Spanish, Japanese and run of the mill family restaurants will be found here. The shops are geared to the needs of the beach going and sightseeing crowd. Souvenir shops, swimwear shops (The Bikini Genie), and casual beach wear shops are all along the Strip.
On the ocean side of Marine Drive, you can walk along the beach for miles. When the tide is out, you can walk for at least a quarter of a mile (length of the pier) out; but this is not advisable unless you watch the tide schedule carefully. You do not want to get caught with the tide coming in as it quickly camouflages the occasional puddles that suddenly become deep pools.
When the day is done with the golfing, the shopping and the dining, you can relax at the world class Aston Pacific Inn. The one hundred and fifty room hotel that the locals call the “pink hotel” is the predominant accommodation in this area. The hotel is less than two miles from the beachfront. Because of its location at the end of the King George Boulevard, the pink building can be seen for miles around. If you are lucky enough to get a room in the west wing, you may be able to view the spectacular sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
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