Vancouver’s golf landscape is best defined by the private clubs of Capilano, Shaughnessy, Marine Drive, Vancouver and Point Grey, but the city’s public golf scene is quite diverse. In Vancouver proper, A.V. Macan left quite a few old school gems. On the North Shore, modern golf courses play up in the hills, with Westwood Plateau being the most notable, once included in the SCOREGolf Top 100 list.
The golf course opens on a relatively tame 352-yard par 4. Working its way slightly up the hill, a single bunker on the right side is in play.
For the golfer who challenges the right side, the green is open, while the left brings the front left bunker directly into play.
The 2nd, yet another short par 4 at 347 yards, continues to play uphill. A single bunker on the left awaits, while a ravine is on the right. Less than driver is ideal here as hitting the fairway is at a premium.
The green, quite shallow and wide, is fronted by a huge depression short right and some bush long.
A better look at the crater short right, which can cause fits if you’re in it.
The difficulty is ramped up to an eleven on the uphill 205-yard par 3, 3rd. It’s one of the most bizarre holes I’ve ever seen. All carry, over the gorge, uphill, to a small green.
There is a bit of a bail out on the left with the forward tees playing down the gut of the fairway, but still—no small task to get it all the way up there.
It’s a pretty awful hole, but it does feature similar characteristics to a Reverse Redan, which is funny. However, it’s far too penal and difficult to be interesting, and I imagine lots of mid to high handicappers really struggle here.
The 4th gets back to the playable golf holes with a 535-yard par 5. With a single bunker left and a fairway canted to the left, the play is up the right hand side.
After a good drive, the creek will not likely come into play, but the bunker on the right will.
The green is well guarded and features a healthy dose of movement.
The 5th is the longest par 4 on the golf course, and a strong hole in general. At 470 yards, most golfers will have a longer club in, but thankfully it does play downhill a bit.
The green, cut across the same stream the golfer crossed on the 4th, is well-bunkered, with a maze on the right, and a single bunker on the high side left.
The 6th is the second par 3, and a much more enjoyable one. 196 yards, this one plays downhill. Yet again, the green is well guarded, with a bunker complex left and right.
The 7th is the highest point of the property, and is a long par 5 tumbling downhill. At 583 yards, a single bunker on the right might put the reigns on a bit, but this is a good tee ball to watch fly downhill.
The rolling fairway can provide some weird stances, which is the only real defense when laying up.
On the approach, the green is fronted by a big bunker short left.
The 8th is a middle length par 4 at 415 yards. With a bunker right and water left, it’s another demanding tee ball to a must hit fairway.
After teeing off slightly downhill, the approach shot plays gently back up to a green with a bunker left and right.
Ending the front nine, the 341-yard par 4, 9th provides a bit of a different look, and thus is a standout hole. Bunkering on the outside corner on the right, the hill on the left blocks visibility slightly.
This green site selection was one of my favourites at Westwood Plateau, which sits at the base of the hill on the left.
Starting off the back nine, the downhill, 382-yard par 4, 10th has a tight driving zone between bush left and a bunker right. Worth noting, there’s a wonderful view of the Lower Mainland all the way down to Delta, and perhaps on a clear day, Point Roberts, Washington.
The green surrounds here are promising, with a pretty big bunker short right and some rolling contours short and left.
The 11th is a pretty odd golf hole. At only 342 yards, it’s quite short, but plays dramatically longer directly uphill. The fairway doesn’t start until 160 or so yards from the green, so you have to make sure you get it up top.
Like the tee shot, the approach plays uphill to a green you cannot see. It’s well framed with a bunker left, long and right to help guide you.
Westwood Plateau starts out pretty slow, with a bit of a slog through the first 11 holes, but the closing stretch is quite a bit better, starting with the 162-yard par 3, 12th. The green is cut on the other side of a ravine and in front of a massive rock outcropping.
The 13th, another short par 4 at 350 yards, doglegs left up the hill.
The approach tackles most of the elevation change on the hole, working its way back up to another green guarded by a rock outcropping, you’d think you’re in Muskoka.
The 14th is a pretty interesting short par 5, showing great restraint to not over-bunker. At 523 yards, the tee shot plays gently uphill. The bigger the drive, the better visibility on the second shot.
As you can see, those who don’t hit it far enough will be faced with a blind layup. No worries though… no bunkers in the layup area.
A single bunker on the left side of the green dictates most of the play coming in, while right and long play from below the elevated green.
The 15th is a bit two-faced. At 456 yards, the scorecard length is quite long, but the tee shot drops a substantial amount. In fact, it drops so much that the fairway ends—it might be less than driver.
I’m fond of the green complex, however. Cut across a ravine, the massive bunker on the right bleeds down into the ravine, while two smaller bunkers left and long await as well. Short left is a viable layup area.
The 16th is the final par 3 on the golf course at 180 yards, but plays shorter. Dropping downhill, two small bunkers protect the green, but the water hazard up the right will likely be more of an annoyance.
The 17th is the shortest par 5 on the golf course at 501 yards, and encourages the golfer to hit a big one heading downhill. In the landing area, one bunker awaits on the right.
Quite a few golfers will have a chance to get home in two. A massive bunker complex on the left awaits near the green, while a bunker on the right protects a slope that could potentially help carry the ball down. Additionally, a beautiful view of Mount Baker in Washington State frames the backdrop.
For those laying up, a gentle downhill slope might complicate things, but the bunker complex left, as well as two smaller bunkers on the right side will need to be negotiated.
The 18th is a longer par 4 at 430 yards, with two diagonal bunker schemes angled right to left framing the landing area. The first one doesn’t come into play, while the one up a bit more does.
The approach shot graciously plays downhill, but to a well-protected green. Two bunkers left and one right means the final approach of the day better be sharp—even more-so with the clubhouse overlooking.
Overall, Westwood Plateau is a bit of a wild ride. What photos won’t show you is how aggressive the property is. Most of the elevation changes are actually diffused in the cart, and I wonder how much time Dr. Hurdzan had to spend looking at a topography map to find land suitable for golf.
Is it a Top 100 golf course? Probably not. But what it is is a fun spot to hit up with friends, enjoy the view and have a good time.
Be warned: the conditioning is spotty at best and it’s typically a bit wet. If you go, bring the camera, there are some stunning views.