In ‘500 or less,’ author Alex Hunter discusses a golf course in 500 words or less to provide a quick overview. Furthermore, the series introduces a “star rating,” which is based off an opinion on fun factor/repeatability, walkability, routing/design aspects, plus cost & conditioning. Check back in next month for the next instalment of the series!
- Victoria, British Columbia
- Chris Young (2008/2010)
Consisting of two nine-hole routings aptly named the “Highland” and “Pacific” nines, Highland Pacific bills itself as Victoria’s friendliest public golf course. With scenic views of the Olympic mountains, downtown Victoria, and the Juan De Fuca Strait, this is a memorable place for golf, especially as someone from Ontario not used to such beautiful backdrops for golf.
Both nines offer sweeping vistas of the surrounding forests and Olympic mountains, though they each have a slightly different feel when playing. For me, it was the Pacific nine that caught my attention from the start. Between the tasteful use of elevation changes, coupled with the forested surroundings, nicely integrated bunkers, and contours, it provides a memorable front nine. Certainly, a great place to play if you are travelling to the Island.
Holes & Features of Interest
The Pacific nine appears to be staged across the more dramatic land in the lower half of the property. There is a feeling of solitude, with separation between the holes provided by the rock outcroppings and massive, densely packed trees.
This nine starts with back-to-back elevated tee shots—the first of which is a blind Par 4, and the second is a par 3. These captivating tee shots require some precision to begin your round.
I really enjoyed the par 5, 4th and its approach shot. It requires the golfer to hit over a gully and a rock outcropping to the green, which sits slightly angled away from the golfer.
My favourite hole on the Pacific nine was the short par 4, 5th—another big, elevated tee shot. The approach shot plays into a green guarded by a bunker short left. The tall surrounding forest offers a majestic backdrop.
Another stunning view is found at the Par 3, 8th.
The Highland nine feels like it has less elevation change throughout, though I doubt that is the case. It is nice to have two nines that feel similar enough, but also unique in their own way. For me, large elevation changes tend to get repetitive after a while, and I felt there was a comfy mix here at HP. On the Highland nine, I really enjoyed the long Par 3, 3rd, Par 5, 4th, and Par 3, 9th.
The Par 3, 3rd played tough, into the wind about 205 yards to the pin and while the green is massive that means very long putts. No easy task to make a par.
The coolest tee shot at Highland Pacific comes at the Par 5, 4th from the back tee. Here, a small island like tee box is set into a pond, forcing the golfer to hit a well-executed drive over the water and up to the fairway. Just made it.
The closing hole on the Highland nine is another beautiful setting. A final elevated tee shot with the mountains of Vancouver Island in the backdrop was the perfect ending to my time in Victoria.