Date: 2006-Sep-28 Review by Alberta Bound
The greens are large and undulating. With the different levels and slopes make sure you stay below the hole. As typical of Les Furber courses' there are plenty of bunkers and mounds to help defend the greens The bunkers are very well maintained with lots of sand and rakes. The fringe is very good and consistent around the perimeter. During the course of play you will experience a few elevated greens.
The grass was excellent on the front nine but on the back nine they were not quite as good. This might be because the back nine seemed to get less sun. Some of the fairways were tight, especially on the back nine, while others had plenty of room. The first cut was excellent and it gave way to trimmed and thinned rough consisting mostly of pine straw. Fairway bunkers are placed at strategic places on the fairways and are very well maintained. Houses and condos line a number of fairways so you have to make the right swing. All fairways are well marked with yellow, blue, white and red disks. They also have small stakes at the 200, 150 and 100. These stakes make it very easy to estimate your yardage. Sprinkler heads are also marked. The cart paths were continuous but you could drive on the fairways. The cart paths also had yardage indicators.
Gallagher's has four different sets of tees. The tee boxes have ball washer, shoe cleaners, benches, yardage markers and signs. The signs do not have a map but the score card has small pictures of the holes and the course layout. I noticed some walking paths between some greens and the next tee box that have been set up for walkers. There are a number of elevated tees with some excellent views of the canyon.
Gallagher's Canyon, as the name implies has a number of holes on the edge of the canyon on the front nine. Also at the higher elevation you have mature pine trees boarding all holes. Bill Robinson and Les Furber designed a course that makes good use of elevation changes, gullies, swales and the natural terrain of the area. This is demonstrated on the par threes. Hole number three is all carry across a deep gully. Number 13, takes you up to an elevated green. Number 16 has elevated tees where you hit to a green about 75 feet below. Water does not come into play except for ponds on 9, 16 and 17. Each hole is different and number of them require you to do some thinking about ball placement. You start your round with the hardest hole on the course from an elevated tee to a narrow fairway with an uphill green 416 yards in the distance. Hole six is an excellent par five to a green perched on the bank of the canyon that is well protected by bunkers.
At $85 mid week and $90 on weekends this represents very good value for a well designed scenic course. Carts are not included in this price but are rented by the seat rather then by the cart.
The course is a par 72 with a slope of 125 from the blues and 127 from the reds. The length from the blues is 6414 yards with three shorter par 4s. If you are off the fairway you will probably find your ball but will have to take your medicine and chip back into play from the pine trees. Choosing the right club from the tee and course management is very important. You will be faced with tight fairways, up hill greens, valleys, bunkers and a few ponds. Even though it plays more difficult then the rating would indicate it is very enjoyable if you think your way around the course. Two of our group are big hitters and the driver worked for them a few times. One fellow was able to reach three of the par fives in two but both ended up in big trouble on other holes where they attempted to cut the dogleg and go for broke. The two of us that did not hit the ball as far ended up with lower scores. I think there is a message in this.
As mentioned above the course has some excellent view of the valley and into the canyon. The design of the course also has a lot of scenic value. The views for the elevated tee boxes, the bunkers and greens are very attractive.
All the staff we meet were very friendly especially the people in the pro shop and restaurant were very helpful. The beverage cart lady was friendly and came by a number of times during the round.
The clubhouse is very well appointed and is very attractive from the outside. It has a large balcony, a good size room for tournaments, locker rooms, a nice bar and eating area with good menu. The pro shop was well stocked and the grounds were very nicely landscaped with a paved parking lot.
The washrooms had running water, and spaced well around the course. The washroom on the front nine was very attractive in design and seemed to be cut into the rock wall. There is a large putting green located at the first tee. The concession area at the 10th tee and is attractive and well stocked. Cart paths were paved and continuous. The score card is very attractive with a great picture of number six. They also have a very good practice area. The carts were electric with split windows and they had maps of the greens located above your clubs on the back of the cart.
Gallagher's Canyon is a must play and is owned by the same group that owns the Okanagan Golf Club. The front nine is maybe my favourite nine in the Kelowna area and the course would be in the top one or two on most peoples list. They have another course called the Pinnacle which is a nine hole par 32 layout of 1984 yards.