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Accessible from cosmopolitan Vancouver, Whistler is certainly better known as one of the


world’s great ski resorts. But with four championship golf courses from the likes of Robert Trent Jones Jr., Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, the area’s architectural pedigree is golf royalty.


T


he trek from Vancouver’s airport to Whistler, about a two-hour drive, is known as the “Sea-to-Sky Highway” and takes the traveler from sea level to Whistler’s 2,200-foot elevation. The dazzling views along the way rival those found in Big Sur. Provincial parks pro- vide hiking opportunities, several with outstanding vistas. If you want to get the kinks out of your game, consider a round at Furry Creek, located 35 minutes north of Vancouver. The course is pure moun- tain golf, requiring extreme accuracy while forcing the golfer to grapple with topographical challenges. The all-world 14th, a stout 211-yard par 3, is situated on a peninsula green demanding a carry over Howe Sound. A European-influenced alpine village


greets you upon arrival in Whistler, and it’s easy to imagine that you’ve found yourself in Austria or Switzerland. After checking in, a stroll around the village is a must. Be sure to imagine yourself a gold-medal winner and take a photo by the giant Olympic rings located on Whistler’s Olympic Plaza.


ACCOMMODATIONS The Chateau Whistler Fairmont sets


the standard for accommodations in the area. The hotel recalls the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise—also Fairmont properties—in its mountain chateau-style architecture that begs to be photographed. The resort’s 550 rooms and suites, three gourmet restaurants, and spa and health club service the needs of the most discerning travelers. While many might think of Fairmont hotels as a dent to the wallet, rooms can be quite affordable. Dining, however, is gourmet but pricey. There are excellent choices in the Wildflower, Grill Room and Mallard Lounge within the hotel, but there are also plenty of options in Whistler Village to fit a variety of budgets and tastes. Other accommodations in the area


include a Four Seasons and a Westin, in addition to numerous other choices. All offer a timeless sensibility complemented by modern amenities; the entire village gives the impression of being brand-new.


36 / NCGA.ORG / SUMMER 2013


SPECTACULAR GOLF Chateau Whistler Golf Club, a short


distance from the hotel, is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that debuted in 1993. The 6,635-yard course has a tame 71.5 course rating but a stout 145 slope due to a number of forced carries beyond the reach of shorter hitters. Bogey golfers should beware and choose their tee wisely. Elevation changes amounting to more than 400 feet begin right from the start, as Jones spends the first four holes taking the golfer up. Once the 457-yard sixth is reached, the true glory of the layout opens up, crossing creeks and ponds, with stands of ancient Douglas fir and granite rock as a backdrop. Panoramic vistas, extreme topography and deceptive distances domi- nate your senses. It’s all manageable, how- ever, especially when the much shorter back nine is reached (the scorecard boasts a par 37-35 sequence, with three par 5s on the front nine). The downhill 389-yard 15th will linger in your mind long after the round. A dramatic downhill tee shot bracketed by a mountainous landscape is followed by an approach to a tight green. Despite its pedestrian length, par is an excellent score. The 15th caps a four-hole sequence of medium-length par 4s that marches downhill toward the clubhouse; all four are memorable.


Chateau Whistler Fairmont


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