Golf Course Review: The Club at Tower Ranch, Kelowna, British Columbia


The 199-yard par-three 12th at The Club at Tower Ranch. (Courtesy of Tourism Kelowna and The Club at Tower Ranch)


If I had to pick one golf course in the golf-rich Kelowna area of British Columbia that both genuinely surprised and excited me, it would be The Club at Tower Ranch.  The are so many peaceful spots and gorgeous views that I occasionally stopped my round just to take in the surroundings as the property looks down upon Kelowna and features many bucolic views in other directions.

Below is a view from above the 17th green toward Kelowna and Okanagan Lake in the distance.

From the downhill vista of the opening tee shot to the approach to the final green, there is just one exciting challenge and vista after another.  Built upon a hillside high above Kelowna, the course is worth a visit just for the views alone, but the fun doesn’t end there.  The fairways are for the most part very generous and among the best conditioned I’ve ever encountered – ditto for the greens.  Though this is not a walkable golf course, I quickly got over that prejudice and was in love with the layout by the time I finished the outgoing nine.  The back nine is even more dramatic.  Bold views, bold bunkering, and bold greens all combine for a more memorable golf experience.

Looking back up the fairway from the green on the long 487-yard par-four 6th evokes a real links feel.

My only criticism is that there were an abundance of false fronts to the putting surfaces meaning that balls not quite getting to the flat portions of the greens would begin trickling back the speedy slopes off the greens and back down the fairways.  This is of limited concern to the expert, but a constant challenge to the average player. (Tip:  if you see a white bottle of sand standing just short of any green at Tower Ranch, take an extra club.  The sand is there because of the false green front and shots that don’t make the middle of the putting surface collect back down the fairway right next to that bottle.)

The tee shot on the 395-yard downhill 3rd hole is one of the most demanding on the golf course!

Let there be no mistake, Tower Ranch is a difficult and a visually intimidating golf course for the novice.  Natural fescues grasses that first grew in were thankfully trimmed down to allow folks to find and play their shots.  The good players will appreciate the firm tight lies in contrast to the weaker player who will discover nothing upon which to prop the ball on.  This is a player’s course.

The short 372-yard 11th is a fun uphill hole that you can see is beautifully bunkered.

While Tower Ranch will appeal to the better than average players from a playability standpoint, no one will go away disappointed with the conditioning or the views; both are exceptional.  The bunkering is very bold and nicely complements the shaping of each hole.  Now having said that, there will be some golfers who much prefer the tree-lined parkland style golf course and there are many of them in Kelowna.

Again note the bold bunkering.  This is the 18th green complex.

Fagan Grade:  A-. This is a fun “Wow!” golf course that is not to be missed when visiting Kelowna.  The aesthetics particularly with the bold dramatic bunkering, superb conditioning, and area views are most memorable.  My only criticism was a most mild one and that is the prevalence of so many false front green entrances.  Not only is that difficult and slows down play, it becomes a bit tedious.  Overall, I really loved Tower Ranch and would tell folks if they had only one round to play closest to town, Tower Ranch would be the one, provided they are not biased toward the tree-line parkland style.  What a golf course!

Recoveries are a challenge if you miss the downhill 153-yard fifth hole.

Looking back from the green toward the fairway of the 565-yard second hole. (Courtesy of Tourism Kelowna and The Club at Tower Ranch)

3 Responses to “Golf Course Review: The Club at Tower Ranch, Kelowna, British Columbia”

  1. David Keelan

    Bob, I just read your review and couldn’t agree more. I work for Carrington and we purchased this beautiful course in March 2012. We have since fixed some of those false fronts you mention. We would love for you to come back and play our course again.



  2. JACK

    GREAT EXCITING HOLES AND VIEWS…..but, the pro shop welcoming was not the greatest for this type of course as well as the starter who must have been
    recovering from the night before or just hated to be welcoming people. Greens seemed to be rough from ball marks but very playable. Bunkers need to be only sand, no stones, for this type of course. Fairway yardages were well marked and the brochure gave the first time player here good advice.

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