The course and clubhouse came highly recommended by Diane Fru of Golf Fore Gals (GFG) – a multi-course golf club in BC for women of all skill levels, of which I am a member.
“At GFG we live by one rule -- ‘If it’s not fun, we don’t do it,” said Diane. “Which is why we love playing Sunset Ranch; we always leave with a smile on our faces.”
My last round of golf in the Okanagan did not end in a smile, so I was ready for more fun and less frustration from playing courses where no good shot went unpunished.
The 5 minute drive up the mountain from Kelowna was pleasant as we quickly left the noisy desert-like conditions of the city, to be treated to fresh air and a lush and serene conifer forest from which the course was carved.
Aerial view of Sunset Ranch, (Courtesy of Sunset Ranch Golf and Country Club)
From the moment we arrived at the clubhouse we knew we had made the right decision.
Sunset Ranch Clubhouse from 18th GreenThe Sunset Ranch staff was very friendly and the pro shop had great sales on women’s apparel. It didn’t take me long to buy a new pair of golf shoes for half what I would pay at home.
The elevated tee on the first hole was a dramatic beginning to a round full of surprises. It also introduced us to a ‘friend’ we would encounter at least 6 more times on our round – the ever-present Scotty Creek.
Even if you don’t see him, Scotty isn’t far away, providing the only real “noise” on the course as it cascades along fairways or guards the greens from overly ambitious players who forget to take that extra club.
There are 3 sets of tees rated for men and 3 for women (which you don’t see very often). I played off the white tees at almost 5,700 yards, which on most courses would be a bit too long for me.
But length didn’t seem to be much of a problem probably because there were no forced carries and the elevation changes enabled me to hit all par 3’s off the tee and come close to the dance floor in regulation on the longer par 4’s.
171 yard Downhill Par 3 17th HoleRisks and rewards abound on this course and it wasn’t long for us to realize that Driver is not needed on many holes. Hitting to the 150 marker with your 3-wood instead of bombing it will save you balls and strokes.
But if you are a “no guts – no glory” kind of player, you will love all the challenges this course offers right up to the enticing 18th where one last encounter with the ball-hungry Scot awaits those who try to go for the green in two.
Challenging Par 5 18th Closer (Courtesy of Sunset Ranch Golf and Country Club)
Sunset Ranch is a charming mountain-side golf course offering breathtaking vista views, narrow tree-lined fairways and meticulously groomed greens.
The stone walls and beautifully manicured landscaping made the trek from one hole to the next delightful and I couldn't help but stop to snap some shots along the way.
13th Hole Tee Box – A Work of Art
During our time at the club, I noticed they had a very active membership, both men and women. I tried joining a club once, but quickly tired of playing the same course from the same tees all the time. But after playing Sunset Ranch, I realized that I could play this course over and over and never get bored.
Too often golfers gravitate to the big names and big priced courses in the Okanagan, but those who do miss out on some real hidden gems.