Between vineyards, orchards, arid terrain, undulating hills, lack of wind, massive lakes, and sandy beaches, the Okanagan Valley is as picturesque as it is warm, making it an extraordinary setting for golf lovers. With 20 courses in Kelowna alone – and over 40 in the area with seven championship courses designed by Thomas McBroom, Les Furber, and Greg Norman – choosing the best golf courses in the Okanagan is next to impossible! So today, we’re sharing the top three best rated courses in the area to help you plan your Okanagan golf season for 2018.

1. Predator Ridge – Vernon, BC

While this course is about 45 minutes out from Paradise Estates, we’ve included Predator Ridge because it recently landed at #22 on SCOREGolf’s Top 100 Golf Courses in Canada list (2016). Securing a rating of 8.10/10, Predator Ridge hosts two courses, The Predator and The Ridge, and 26 holes of championship golf. Known for providing two distinctly different experiences (for both the views and the golf), Predator Ridge’s Predator course was designed by Les Furber and makes extensive and effective use of fescue to contrast the greens and fairways. But this course is resplendent if not sublime.

The Predator course began in 1991, originally only nine holes but now 18, and of the two courses, it’s the more difficult one. Perfect for dedicated and advanced golfers, The Predator is rugged and slender with a links vibe as it plays into the fast, rolling hills complete with water hazards, semi-blind greens, and penal bunkering – getting distracted on this course is not an option –  and it hosted Canadian Skins Games in 2000 and 2008. While certainly challenging, the course is fair and an enjoyable journey for seasoned golfers.

On the other hand, The Ridge was designed by a different architect, Doug Carrick, and created to be a departure from The Predator, offering a different landscape, different theme, and wholly different experience. Winding through Lake Okanagan’s peaks and valleys, The Ridge offers golfers breathtaking views while cleverly routing to avoid uphill shots (where possible) and making use of elevated tee boxes. While The Predator is the better challenge, The Ridge is the better view – it will blow you away. Together, Predator Ridge’s courses have something for every level of golfer, making it a destination for your golf season at Paradise Estates.

2. Tower Ranch – Kelowna, BC

Next up on SCOREGolf’s Top 100 Golf Courses in Canada list (2016) for the Okanagan is Tower Ranch Golf & Country Club in Kelowna landing at #45, which has also been named in the Top 3 Best Canadian Golf Courses many times by both SCOREGolf and Golf Digest. Moments away from Paradise Estates, Tower Ranch is as accessible as it as is beautiful and it’s a championship course designed by Thomas McBroom to boot! Rated at 7.822/10, Tower Ranch offers a strategic course on dramatic, rolling fairways, rugged bunkers, and long brown fescue with stunning vistas and challenging shots, this course is a cart-only course that provides equal reward to experienced and amateur golfers. 

Tower Ranch’s greens roll fast and pure, providing the opportunity to get creative with approach shots and putts. The design on this terrain makes this course both challenging and playable not to mention a picturesque ride through the Okanagan’s gorgeous surroundings. Golfers of all abilities and preferences come back to Tower Ranch again and again, making it a top-rate course and a fan favourite. Want to know more? Check out CPGA pro Neil Schmidt’s take on Tower Ranch here.

3. Gallagher’s Canyon – Kelowna, BC

A close runner-up to Tower Ranch at #49 SCOREGolf’s Top 100 Golf Courses in Canada list (2016), Gallagher’s Canyon was designed by Bill Robinson and built in 1980, making it an older, established course in the Okanagan area. But between it’s challenging fairways, gorgeous greens, forested mountains, rocky bluffs, and spectacular vistas, Gallagher’s Canyon offers a rugged yet refined golfing experience. While the course is walkable, it’s more akin to an intermediate hike, so a cart is likely your best bet, unless adventuring through the terrain is a plus in your book. A classic Okanagan golf course, Gallagher’s Canyon offers a challenge for experienced golfers and guides you from the edge of the canyon and back through to Ponderosa pines. In addition to the Canyon course, Gallagher’s Canyon also provides a charming nine-hole course, Pinnacle, for those looking for a briefer foray. Learn more about this highly rate course here.

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive – merely an exploration of highly rated courses. What’s remarkable about the Okanagan is the number and variation of golf courses available to explore and play – making Paradise Estates the perfect home for the golf enthusiast.