Rich Golfing History in the Columbia Valley
The Columbia Valley Golf Trail (CVGT) is a world-class golfing destination featuring eight spectacular courses; some are named after places in the UK’s Lake District such as Windermere and Invermere-on-the-Lake, while others such as Radium and Fairmont Hot Springs are more redolent of sunnier climes! Nestled in the spectacular Kootenay landscape, this is home to beautiful beaches, hot springs, glorious wildlife and quality local businesses. The close proximity of the courses, only 35 minutes from end to end, and the diversity of terrain offer a truly unique golf experience.
The Columbia Valley has a rich history that all began from the home of golf – St Andrews, in Scotland. In 1873 Robert Randolph Bruce emigrated to Canada, he renamed Invermere – Scots for ‘mouth’ and ‘lake’. His intention was to attract English and Scottish immigrants to the Columbia Valley, so in 1915 Bruce encouraged a group to form the Invermere Golf Club. That same year, the railway between Golden and Cranbrook opened, bringing more people to the region.
Today, the Columbia Valley Golf Association (CVGA) are the keepers of Bruce’s legacy, finding new ways to attract golf tourism to the area, with 41 fulltime annual and 471 fulltime seasonal and part-time employees. Their annual ‘Passport Program’ was an innovative approach to funding all of their marketing and advertising efforts giving subscribers a chance to golf each of the eight courses for a reduced price. This stunning trail attracts people from BC, Alberta and all over the world, bringing economic prosperity to the region – to this end, the CVGA seeks to promote the Columbia Valley as a world-class destination.
Working closely with local schools, the association provide equipment and tutelage, encouraging kids to engage with golf for fun and exercise. In 2014 they established the Junior Golf Program to provide opportunities for children under thirteen to learn more and practise their hand; last year saw forty young registrants take up the sport!
The CVGA also support local charities and non-profits who make complimentary use of the courses and facilities in a fundraising capacity. Last year the CVGT Association donated $252,000 in facilities and giveaways. The Point at Copper Point donates 2% of their gross revenues to support the Windermere & District Lion’s Club.
Of course, golf is great for our physical and emotional well-being. During an 18-hole round, a player will have an average heart rate of 100 beats per minute over a two to five hour period; the perfect kind of cardiovascular exercise to stimulate the brain and reduce stress – while also improving vision and sleep! Playing golf can even help you live longer; a Swedish study found that retired golfers have a 40% lower death rate. Golf is also a very social sport – in an increasingly technology-driven world, many people are feeling less connected – and golf provides a perfect remedy; an opportunity to meet people, interact with friends, foster relationships and most of all, have fun outdoors!