Capilano Golf & Country Club is sited majestically on Vancouver's north shore framed by the mountains of British Columbia, and with glorious views of Vancouver, the harbour and Mount Baker beyond.
The club was developed by the family behind the Guinness Brewery Company as part of a high end residential development, and they employed legendary Canadian architect Stanley Thompson to design the course. The site itself was hilly, rocky and covered by fir trees.
A lot of dirt was moved, but Thompson came up with a clever routing which has survived relatively untouched to this day. Each hole is framed by the impressive fir trees, making them look tighter than they are. The bunker is strategic, but not overdone, and the greens are subtle but dangerous. I imagine to play these greens when they are quick would be a real challenge.
The opening hole heads steeply down the hillside, but at no stage do you really feel you are coming back up- the par 3 9th perhaps being the only exception. Instead the routing weaves it's way across down, and up the slopes. It is very much a walking course, but at times there is a hike to the next tee, and on a hot day a cart is a blessing.
The course is well groomed, and a pleasure to play. It is a second shot course, and given the movement on the greens, a successful approach might be below the hole...
Having said that it is also imperative to hit the fairways. The trees that frame each hole are imposing, but it is the rough that is the more immediate concern. Many of the doglegs have rough extending into the line of play on the inside of the dogleg- it is hard to see from the tee, and must be avoided as it grabs the ball and swallows it. The same rough makes recoveries from around the green difficult.
Capilano is one of Stanley Thompson's finest, and he has an impressive portfolio:
St George's, Highland Links, Banff Springs, Jasper...
Capilano usually rates as one of the best 6 or 7 courses in Canada
Favourite holes include:
- the par 3 fourth hole
- the par 3 eleventh hole
- the par 4 thirteenth hole with an approach across a gully
- the par 3 fourteenth hole, from an elevated tee to a green fronted by a creek
- the par 5 eighteenth hole with it's green sitting on a ridge below the clubhouse
Capilano Golf & Country Club is a private member's club. Lucky members!
In The Area
Any visitor to Capilano should consider a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf tour to suit your group. For information on tours see Great Golf Destinations:Canada: Both Sides Now
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