5 Surprising Public Golf Courses

We've heard it before: Vancouver is one of those rare places where you can ski and golf in the same day.  But for a golf fiend, who would want to take time away from the course, especially in a city where  mountains serve as backdrops for lush fairways and rolling greens? While Vancouver boasts a number of  iconic private clubs—Capilano, Shaughnessy, Point Grey, just to name a few, these five public courses  defy the myth that having "public" in its name means "mediocre." A couple are privately-owned but  open to non-members, while the other three are operated by the Vancouver Park Board—they also  operate a number of driving range facilities and pitch & putt courses. Prepare to have your expectations  shattered, because these courses set a new standard. 

Northlands Golf Course
Par: 71
Length: 6,504 yards
Slope: 138
Rating: 67.30 to 71.40, depending on the tee 

When it debuted in 1998, Northlands won the Best New Course award from Golf Digest. Since then, this  North Vancouver course hasn't looked back, providing a well-thought-out mix of challenges and vistas  for various levels of play. The keyword here is playability - it's simply a fun course to play, with tree-lined  fairways that take advantage of the location at the base of Mt. Seymour.  

Furry Creek Golf & Country Club
Par: 72
Length: 6,025 yards
Slope: 125
Rating: 70.0 

Known by golfers the world over as one of B.C.’s most scenic golf courses, Furry Creek is a scenic 35- minute drive north of Vancouver. Open from March to October, the views are simply jaw-dropping, with  a dramatic layout, panoramic ocean views and wildlife encounters. Design by Robert Muir Graves and  built in 1993, the course delivers an unforgettable golf experience for any level of player.  

Fraserview Golf Course
Par: 72
Length: 6,692 yards
Slope: 126
Rating: 72.1

Operated by the Vancouver Park Board, Fraserview is often touted as one of the best public golf courses  in Canada, partly for its majestic rolling greens and partly for its scenic location overlooking the Fraser  River. Hidden away by a mature urban forest, this well-maintained course, designed by renowned  Canadian architect Thomas McBroom, offers a variety of challenges for golfers of all skill levels.  Fraserview recently won bronze in the Best Public Course in Canada category and was voted one of the  Most Underrated Golf Courses in Canada by the SCOREGolf Magazine Golfer's Choice Awards. 

Langara Golf Course
Par: 71
Length: 6,261 yards
Slope: 120
Rating: 68.2

Another municipal course, Langara is a lovely, traditional-style course that dates back to 1926, when it  was originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway.  The contoured, tree-lined fairways are easy to walk  and make this challenging par 71 course appealing to players of all levels. The course is very central,  located just south of Oakridge. In fact, it’s easily accessible from the SkyTrain’s Canada Line. The  clubhouse, surrounded by beautiful established gardens, is a great place to kick-back after 18 holes.

McCleery Golf Course
Par: 71/72
Length: 6,527 yards
Slope: 129
Rating: 70.6

Designed by Canadian architect Ted Baker, the Vancouver Park Board’s third course, McCleery, was  created to offer a target-style golf challenge. With its narrow fairways and many water hazards, those  with accurate aim have the advantage. This beautiful course right by the Fraser River is graced by  mature trees and many water hazards, and features well-sculptured, meticulously maintained fairways  and greens.