Stanley Park is home to Canada’s largest aquarium, 1,000 acres of Pacific rain forest, kilometres of oceanfront seawall, a gorgeous beach and an outdoor ampitheatre, not to mention British Columbia’s most visited collection of totem poles.
But did you know it’s also home to an 18-hole, par three pitch-and-putt golf course?
Of course you did, at least if you’re from Vancouver. But – be honest – when’s the last time you dragged out your pitching wedge and your putter and actually played a round?
I hit the Stanley Park links for the first time over the weekend. Why did I wait so long? The course is beautiful – 18 holes of manicured greens and gardens smack dab in the middle of Canada’s most famous urban park. Even if you don’t golf – and I assure you I don’t – it’s just about the perfect way to wile away a sunny afternoon.
For starters, it’s cheap.
18 holes will set you back just $12.95 (even less if you come around sunset). You can rent clubs for $1.34 and even buy balls for $1 each. In other words, you can just show up with nothing and play a round of golf (or, at least, pitch and putt) in the heart of downtown Vancouver for under $20. It’ll cost you almost that much just to get a burger at the Cactus Club.
And it’s a full afternoon of entertainment. Budget at least two-three hours for a leisurely 18 holes. Nor is there any reason you’d want to rush the experience. The setting is spectacular. The course winds back and forth through acres of manicured rhododendron gardens and enormous hardwood trees. It has to be one of the prettiest – and least visited – sections of the entire Stanley Park.
If you’re worrying about how your golf game will measure up – don’t. The pitch and putt attracts mainly novices, some of whom have never touched a club before in their lives. The holes range from 40-100 yards, so you don’t have to be a Tiger Woods to play.
Having said that, I did have a bit of trouble mastering the pitching wedge, and quite a few of my shots ended up in the rough. In fact, I lost three balls (but happily found three others while I was searching for mine).
Despite not making par once, I still had a fun day. And I wasn’t the only one. I noticed quite a few other groups traipsing around the course with soft-sided coolers slung over their shoulders. I won’t speculate on what was inside, but it seemed to be putting smiles on their faces.
Anybody else a fan of the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt? Show your love below.
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