Story by Miguel Strother
Vacay.ca Sports Editor, Western Canada
During Masters Week, the weather in Georgia probably doesn’t feel much different than the weather in Western Canada. But as Tiger Woods and company get set to welcome spring at Augusta National Golf Club, the weather definitely won’t stop Canadian golfers from getting into the swing of the season at clubs across the country.
Although many golf courses in the Great White North are still snowbound, British Columbia, Alberta and even parts of Ontario are set for some excellent spring golf conditions during Masters Week.
At Bear Mountain, a 36-hole Nicklaus-designed Vancouver Island original, they definitely know how to celebrate the start of the season and the greatest tournament in golf. The Mountain and Valley courses will welcome golfers for the Masters on the Mountain from April 6-8. This tournament pairs golfers with a pro playing in the real tourney in order to compete for prizes that include a trip for two on the Vancouver Island Golf Trail and free entry into the 2013 Masters on the Mountain.
In addition to getting to spend two nights in Bear Mountain’s superb five-star Westin Resort, participants have the opportunity to socialize throughout the weekend with BBQs, KP (closest to the pin) contests, and a private screening of the Masters tournament. All rounds, including the Sunday social, come with power carts with GPS and tournament scoring, warm-up bucket, and resort fees for less than $500. Also included is a VIP Victoria card, which is good for up to 25% off of restaurants in the nearby city of Victoria, which does have some excellent restaurants. But it’s Bear Mountain and the Westin. Why would you want to leave?
MASTERS GOLF DEALS IN CANADA
Alberta’s Radium Resort is always ranked as one of Canada’s top 100 golf courses and this year it opens on Thursday, just in time for first round of the Masters. Offering 36 holes of golf heaven, this course’s rugged terrain bordering Kootenay National Park is framed by both the Purcell and Rocky Mountain ranges in what is truly a breathtaking part of the Canadian landscape, golf or otherwise.
Both of the Springs and Resort courses at Radium are offering spring specials on greens fees starting as low as $49 a round. And stay-and-play packages are an incredibly good deal throughout April with two-day golf packages, including two 18-hole rounds and two nights of premier accommodation with access to all resort amenities and a hot breakfast, for less than $100. It is the Rocky Mountains, so it might not feel exactly like the steamy weather in Augusta, Georgia but with those prices golf lovers can’t afford not to consider it.
ONTARIO’S MASTERS GOLF CELEBRATION
Ontario has seen record high temperatures throughout March and golf courses will have been open for nearly three weeks. Guelph’s Victoria Park, for example, opened on March 16, the earliest opening on record. It’s quite a change from the weather during the Masters last year when most of eastern Canada was in a complete deep freeze and golf was pretty much out of the question.
So even though you might not be one of the patrons snuggling up to Rory McIIroy in Eisenhower Cabin or rubbing elbows with Phil Mickelson on Amen Corner, if you’re a Canadian golfer, there is no excuse for not at least making an attempt to get out for a round during the golf season’s unofficial start.