August 13, 2008
Golf: There is plenty of golf in this valley that follows the Columbia River. Starting at the north end in the lovely town of Golden and finishing at Cranbrook to the south you have the following great courses: Golden, Radium Resort Course, Radium Springs, Eagle Ranch, Greywolf, Riverside, Mountain Side, Trickle Creek, Kimberly (town course), Bootleg Gap and St. Eugene Mission. There are at least three or four other courses opening this summer in the south end of the valley. We are waiting to review these courses when they come on line.
There is also a number of other courses, mostly par three and nine hole courses scattered from Golden to Cranbrook. You can see the reviews of the these courses in the review section of the web site. We played all the above mentioned courses and enjoyed them all. In our group of four, each one of us had a different favorite course. I liked Greywolf and Eagle Ranch, Jim preferred Trickle Creek, Beth liked St. Eugene Mission and Sheila favoured Golden. The value of golf in this area of BC is very good. For the most part the prices range from $69 to $139 with most around $89. When the new courses open in the south this area of BC, from Golden to Cranbrook, will be as good a golf destination as you can find. All the courses have views of the mountains, are well maintained, and feature some outstanding signature holes. Don't wait, book you trip right now.
Destination: The valley is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Purcell Mountains on the west. Radium is about 2½ hours from Calgary. From Calgary, you will pass Canmore and Banff before you turn off on the Radium road. If you are coming from the west take the Trans Canada Highway and turn south when you get to Golden. From Golden to Radium is about an hour drive. Radium to Fairmont is a ½ hour and Fairmont to Cranbrook is maybe 1½ hours. Another alternative is to fly into Cranbrook and rent a car. This destination is very popular with golfers from Edmonton, Calgary and south of the boarder. The season is quite long compared to Alberta. You can probably golf most courses from March to November other then Grey Wolf. The town of Invermere is located on the shores of the beautiful Lake Windermere. Invermere is roughly in the center between Golden and Cranbrook.
Activities: Beside golf you will find some wonderful lakes, especially Lake Windermere. You're invited to swim, boat, fish, water ski, or just hang out on the beach. The hot pools at Radium and Fairmont are world famous for their therapeutic waters. What could be better then a dip in a hot pool after two rounds of golf in a single day? And why not two rounds as the days are long and a lot of courses are close together. The Columbia Valley also has a good reputation as a bird watching destination. Being in the mountains, hiking is another activity that could be to your liking. If you are in the south then you might want to try your luck at the casino at St. Eugene Mission.
Hotels: There are a number of hotels and motels that are located mostly in Invermere and Radium if you want to stay in the center of the valley and drive to Golden and Kimberly. With the growth of courses to the south, Cranbrook and Kimberly offer an alternative area to stay. You could spend a week golfing from either Cranbrook or Kimberly without going up the valley to Radium. St. Eugene Mission's accommodation is in the historic mission complex, right on the course and next to the casino. We stayed at the condos located adjacent to the Riverside course. These condos are timeshares but they rent them as well. We had a great two bedroom condo overlooking the 18th hole. We spent a number of hours after golf sitting on the balcony and watching the golfers as we had a few cool ones. There are also condos along the Mountain Side course. There are two resorts at the Radium Resort and the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Both resorts are located next to the golf courses and offer hotel accommodation.
Dining: Since we had a condo with a full kitchen we ate in most of the week. However, we did dine out a few times. One night we drove into Invermere and had an outstanding diner at the Strands Old House Restaurant. I recommend this restaurant as the food was good and the service was excellent. We also stopped for lunch at the Eagle Ranch Club House where they have an excellent menu with a very good wine list. The views down the lake just added to the atmosphere. Another very pleasant place to stop for a meal, or just a drink, is the Lakeside Pub. It sits on the beach in Invermere and has a nice balcony that overlooks the lake.