Scenery is biggest selling point at the Golf Club at The Rise in Vernon, British Columbia

VERNON, B.C. -- Across town, a few hours earlier, one of the locals had provided an enticing review.

"The Rise? The views are incredible," he said. "That's one of the only places you'll ever see airplanes below you."

B.C.'s Okanagan Valley is easy on the eyes from one end to the other, so when a longtime resident of the area says something about "incredible" vistas, you'd be nuts not to get over there and see what the fuss is about.

Carved into the hillside about 1,100 feet above Vernon (and its regional airport), The Golf Club at The Rise doesn't disappoint.

"We love hearing that," said resort General Manager Terry Yacyshen. "You actually kind of get numb to it after a while, because everybody comments on the vistas. But, no doubt, people that are here for the first time are taken back. My office is very close to the golf shop, and I hear it all the time -- the first words out of their mouth are, 'Wow, that was spectacular.'"

The Golf Club at The Rise: The views

The Rise is billed as the only Fred Couples signature course in western Canada, although his design partner, Gene Bates, deserves the bulk of the credit.

Couples, the 1992 Masters winner and current Champions Tour star, would've needed something a little more sturdy than a pair of ECCO sneakers for his first tour of this topsy-turvy property, located near the northern tip of Okanagan Lake. He also could've used a machete for his ceremonial first round, when he lost four golf balls and quipped, "We have a lot of hay out there to give to the farmers."

For everybody that has teed it up since, a camera might be the most important item in the bag.

The road that leads from Vernon to The Golf Club at The Rise is uphill all the way, winding past orchards, vineyards and slope-side real estate. You're climbing again en route from the pro-shop to the first tee. And from the moment you strike your opening shot, there's no risk of flat-landing -- or flat-lining -- on this 6,843-yard setup.

The most memorable moments at The Rise are the assignments that seem to teeter on the edge of the valley.

On the 438-yard eighth hole, for example, the wide strip of fairway could double as a ski run in the winter months. If you're long on your approach shot, the ball might not stop rolling until it reaches Vernon's downtown core.

After a blind tee-shot on No. 13 -- which measures only 298 yards from the tips and will be a disaster if you don't consult your GPS for a bit of direction -- you'll arrive at the landing area and be gobsmacked by a brand new view of the lake.

All told, more than half of the holes offer a view of the valley from either the tee-box or green. If the foursome in front of you isn't stopping to snap photos, they're likely from around here. While the tourists leave talking about the vistas, Yacyshen said it's the challenging layout and top-notch course conditions that appeal to the locals.

"People are coming back, so that shows us that they enjoy the experience while they're here," Yacyshen said.

The Golf Club at The Rise is part of a 250-acre package that also includes a real-estate development and winery. The pro-shop and Freddy's Patio Restaurant -- named for you-know-who -- are currently housed in a trailer, although there are plans to eventually construct a clubhouse.

The Rise does not have a driving range, but there are warmup nets and a practice putting area near the first tee.

The Golf Club at The Rise: The verdict

The biggest fans and fiercest critics of The Rise are essentially saying the same things.

Will you encounter awkward lies? Yes.

Are there occasional blind shots? You bet.

Does that add up to fun or frustration? Well, you'll have to decide that for yourself.

If you're looking for an old-school layout, you're at the wrong place. In fact, you're probably in the wrong part of the world.

What you'll find at the Golf Club at The Rise is four hours of golf that won't remind you of any place you've been before. Every hole is a bit of an adventure. Like a roller coaster, the ups just build excitement for the next plummet.

"It's just a fun place to play," Yacyshen said. "Great vistas. Great layout. There's just a little bit for everybody here.

Wes Gilbertson covers the NHL’s Calgary Flames and writes golf features for Postmedia in Calgary, Alta. When the snow melts, he's living proof that thin mountain air doesn't turn everybody into a long-drive specialist. Follow Wes on Twitter at @WesGilbertson.
0 Comments
Related Links
The scorecard at Talking Rock Golf Course at Quaaout Lodge says something about "2,400 feet of sandy beach," which is located a few steps away from the lakefront rooms at the back of the lodge. You realize early on, however, that the total doesn't include the bunkers, which are plentiful. But the course, located near Chase, British Columbia, will not punish you.
3 Min Read
More from the author
4 Min Read
July 18, 2016
Beyond Glen Abbey, here are 10 more tour-tested golf courses in Canada that you can play without a trip to Q-School.
4 Min Read
June 30, 2016
From places where you buck goes further to places where your ball goes further, there are a lot of great options for a golf getaway to the Great White North. Here are the five best Canadian golf trips to take.
4 Min Read
August 8, 2014
You don't realize how many top-notch golf courses there are in British Columbia until you start working on a scroll of the must-see tracks. Here's a rundown of the 10 best public plays.
3 Min Read
August 6, 2014
There's plenty of great public-access and private golf courses in Vancouver, so pack your clubs (and your camera). Here's a handy guide to the local golf scene.
4 Min Read
August 5, 2014
If you're planning a trip to the "Wild Rose Province," pack your clubs and try to hit a few of these must-see public golf courses.
3 Min Read
July 23, 2014
Ottawa's golf scene is often overshadowed by Toronto, but there are plenty of courses to check out the next time you're in the nation's capital.
Popular
7 Min Read
October 7, 2021
We found the 10 cities where it's easiest to score a tee time.
12 Images
October 11, 2021
This Albuquerque gem is one of the tournament capitals of collegiate golf.
21 Images
September 30, 2021
This collection of photos sent in by reviewers might be the best we've ever seen.
3 Min Read
October 4, 2021
America's largest golf resort, and one of its smallest, are expanding to enhance the guest experience.
Load More
Now Reading
Scenery is biggest selling point at the Golf Club at The Rise in Vernon, British Columbia