Sunset Ranch a true hidden beauty in the Okanagan Valley
KELOWNA, B.C. — While there are some big name golf courses to be played in Kelowna, B.C., there is one situated on the eastern slopes overlooking the city plays above expectations — Sunset Ranch Golf & Country Club.
This 18-hole hidden beauty is a mix of designs morphing from a stunning mountain-style start running alongside Scotty Creek to parkland and then onto a hybrid variety elsewhere. To that end, Jeff Richard, the General Manager at Sunset said those teeing it up at his layout get all they want from their green fee, and more.
“We’ve got a little bit of everything,” he commented on design elements. “One of the unique things is that Scotty Creek runs through our golf course and you play over it, or alongside it, for 10 of the 18 holes. You start off on a valley bottom and after hole five, you have three holes with a little more altitude. The back nine gets into the parkland style. The thing is, no two holes are the same. Here, you need every shot in your bag. It’s not a course where you can hit driver everywhere. There’s some strategy and decision making you have to do.”
One of the other beauties of Sunset Ranch is the fact it’s classed as an affordable play. Richard noted that green fees have risen throughout the valley but at his track, the cost to play is manageable and what draws people to the hillside eighteen.
“We’ve done a good job of finding the price point where (people) can come and play on a more regular basis.”
Besides the great golf, the clubhouse now offers not only outstanding fare but great views of the course and the vistas beyond the OB stakes. An 80-foot patio overlooking the opening hole’s tee box was added in the recent past. “We’ve added capacity to our clubhouse,” said Richard, noting the restaurant is full service all day long.
As for their season, Richard notes it runs for nine months or so, but it does have one great selling point when the temperatures tend to soar in the valley in mid-summer.
“There’s tons of shade here. And because of the creek, it’s a fast-flowing creek, and in May, June and July when you get the run-off it actually brings the temperature (on the course) down quite a bit,” helping players stay cooler in the heat of the day.
While Sunset Ranch has a number of outstanding holes throughout its layout, Richard feels that the closing two holes are two special challenges.
“People mainly talk about the ‘Sunset Finish,’ as they call it. I think seventeen and eighteen are probably our two, what you’d call our signature holes. Seventeen is a great par three with a pond on the right, a tough bunker on the left and a small green so you can make anywhere from two to seven there real easy. Then eighteen is the definition of a risk/reward par five. You can try and hit driver long to get over the creek and home in two. You can make three or nine here. Those are two uniquely tough holes because there’s a lot of risk/reward there.”
In closing, Richard noted, “We’ve always been known as a hidden gem. We don’t have a huge marketing budget but I recommend that people give us a try and see what it’s all about. We offer good value, a fun atmosphere and a great restaurant and bar to enjoy after your round. Don’t be afraid to try us,” because once you tee it up here, you’ll be back again and again.
For tee times at Sunset Ranch Golf & Country Club, go to playgolfbc.com and follow the B.C. link.
By Gord Montgomery
Inside Golf Writer