Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 01:52 Wednesday, 21 March 2012 00:03
The soon to be opened Pagoda Ridge Golf Course in Langley, B.C. is already rich in history and the first golf ball has yet to be struck, well, not officially anyway.
The culmination of years of blood, sweat and possibly a few tears, this 165 acre piece of property has been transformed from a dense, bushy gold panning region to a landing strip for private aircraft to a now almost completed golf course that will no doubt be a favourite local layout.
The 'Asian Infused Architecture' as it is referred to on the Pagoda Ridge website , is a truly unique theme for a golf course in this region and is not borne of any family heritage or particular traveling experience.
No, according to Lyall Brown, the owner, he and his wife Verna, "Just happen to like Asian architecture...and the colours."
The authenic chinese fighting ship that floats between the 9th and 18th holes seems the perfect fit for a snack bar and viewing area of the home hole.
It is accompanied by the Pagoda-style starting shack and pro-shop/clubhouse. The Oriental theme is carried nicely throughout the property including the Buddha that greets guests as they pass through the entrance gate.
But without doubt the most intriguing feature on the golf course is the replica Great Wall Of China that runs throught the centre of the layout.
There's no questioning the committment to authenticity and quality in both the design and construction of the course, certainly not judging by the cost of building the signature Great Wall alone as it approached half a million dollars itself.
Along the way the family had to persevere the trials and tribulations to gain the necessary approval from the local municipality but after 7 years of being patient and persistent they finally had the go ahead to begin construction.
It was Lyall's son, Larry, who put forward the idea to build the golf course, essentially because 1) he liked to golf, and 2) they couldn't do anything else with the property. It is also Larry who has been the heart and soul of the project and along with his two sons and his sister has made this truly a family affair.
The course was a collaborative design effort between Mike Gregg and Woodland Golf and it was one visitor's view on a recent visit that the layout looks to be a premium one, taking full advantage of the natural contours of the property and the stunning views available of the Golden Ears mountains and the Fraser Valley below.
A par 72 stretching to over 7,000 yards from the tips, Pagoda Ridge is set to host the Tour Championship for the Vancouver Golf Tour this fall and at this stage it looks like the course will be more than capable of providing both a strong test of skill and of concentration with the views at hand.
The players will surely appreciate the large, bent grass greens which feature both subtle and not-so-subtle undulations.
Soon There Will Be A Green At The End Of This Peninsula On The Par Four 10th, Beckoning Golfers To See If They Can Safely Navigate Their Way From The Tee Some 285 Yards Away Onto The Putting Surface
There are several strong par fours in the layout along with 55 bunkers and just enough water to balance the hazard/aesthetics quotient.
One of the most intrguing holes has to be the par 4 10th hole, which is slated to play at slightly less than 300 yards, with a green perched on a peninsula overlooking the Fraser Valley.
A true risk/reward type hole that will vie with several others for the tag of 'signature hole' on this course.
Even at this early stage there is a feeling of serenity and an almost mystical atmosphere at Pagoda Ridge. As it stands, there is at least one recent visitor who is truly anxious for this Asian delight to open its gates for all to enjoy.
By Bryan Outram
Bryan Outram has been editor-in-chief for Inside Golf for the past eight years.http://www.insidegolf.ca