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Swing into Kootenay Lake this Autumn
By John Bowden
Snow may be dusting the mountaintops while visions of powder days dance in your head. But there's still plenty of golf to be had in the Kootenay Lake region, especially as the landscape turns into a blaze of colours with the arrival of autumn. Now’s the time to enjoy some of the most scenic courses in BC at a great deal.
Like the city of Nelson, Granite Pointe Golf Club is built on a mountainside, offering commanding views of Kootenay Lake. If there’s such thing as a “mountain course” surely this is it.
Holes on the Mountain 9 climb and descend, following the hilly grade. The result is a decidedly un-prairie like experience. Tight fairways reward golfers with true aim. A rich variety of cedar, aspen, larch and other trees add to the beauty of the already stunning vista. Don’t miss the massive pine standing guard over the tee box at the second hole – it takes a foursome to bear hug it. Granite outcroppings dot the course, adding rugged appeal (and an occasional hazard).
Golfing at Granite Pointe might just be the best-kept secret for enjoying the local scenery. Nearly every hole offers incredible views of the mountain landscape, and the elevated vista is ideal for seeing the lengthy fall colours that Nelson is famous for.
Even if you’re just a casual golfer, it’s well worth making time for 9 or 18 holes while you’re in Nelson. A number of local hotels sweeten the deal by offering a Stay & Play package featuring a free round of golf at the local course. Granite Pointe is open until late October, weather permitting.
East of Nelson is the highly rated Balfour Golf Course. This quiet gem of a course serves up a healthy offering of stunning views and nicely maintained holes. Owing to its location overlooking the heart of Kootenay Lake, the course blends into its natural surroundings. You’re more likely to see (or hear) wildlife than any signs of human encroachment.
Although one of the shortest holes, 13 is a stunning example of course designer Les Furber’s ability to incorporate natural elements into play. Towering cedars and a twisting creek complement the narrow fairway.
Steep cart paths in places remind golfers that you’re still in mountainous territory despite the relatively flat holes. Navigating the winding and tight corners on a golf cart adds an unexpected thrill to the golfing experience, while the Osprey Mountain Grill serves up memorable meals in the clubhouse. Kootenay Lakeview Spa Resort & Event Centre is right next door with reasonable rates and stunning views from the rooms and outdoor hot tub.
If you’re looking for a golfing experience that combines challenging holes with natural splendor, Balfour Golf Course is a sure bet. And with Ainsworth Hot Springs just a 10 minute drive to the north, it's a tempting combo for cooler autumn days.
Fall rates at both courses start at $40 per person for 18 holes.