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From Tacking up to Teeing off; Revelstoke Golf Club is rooted in Equestrian History

It’s unanimous: the Revelstoke Golf Club is situated on a stunningly beautiful landscape adjacent to the Columbia River, with awe inspiring 360-degree views of Revelstoke’s iconic local mountains.

Back in 1898, when a committee of pioneers set out to create a park that could represent Revelstoke’s natural beauty, they decided on the triangular piece of land next to the deep-running, chaulky-blue narrows in the Columbia River. The entire neighbourhood is now named after Columbia Park, which went on to become the Revelstoke Golf Club, but not before enjoying other pastimes first.

From the patio at The Point Revelstoke restaurant, gaze eastward as the sun casts is red hues on Mount Revelstoke National Park above you. As the shadows grow longer, you’ll see it in the fairways in front of you. The banked corners from the horse racing track created in the early 1900s now blends in as a rolling feature on the course.

In 1908, the Revelstoke Turf Association formed around the horse racing scene, creating grandstands, stables and outbuildings where the clubhouse is currently located.

A golf party at the Revelstoke Golf Club in the 1930s. Photo: Revelstoke Museum & Archives photo
A golf party at the Revelstoke Golf Club in the 1930s. Photo: Revelstoke Museum & Archives

The Revelstoke Golf Club clubhouse building’s unique design is a direct result of its equestrian heritage. Built in 1912, the building’s most prominent feature is a cupola that extends above the roof. It served as the caller’s booth for horse races, where race officials shouted out the races as the pack rounded near what are now the 10th and 11th holes. The building itself was a combined agricultural and equestrian building that served the local agricultural community.

The First World War ended over a decade of racing, and in 1924, the golf craze came to Revelstoke in full force, and the building was converted into a clubhouse, which it remains today, right in the heart of what the pioneers of Revelstoke felt was the prettiest parkland around.

The Revelstoke Golf Club clubhouse started as an agricultural and equestrian facility serving the horse racing track that is still visible in the topography of the course. Photo: Aaron Orlando
The Revelstoke Golf Club clubhouse started as an agricultural and equestrian facility serving the horse racing track that is still visible in the topography of the course. Photo: Aaron Orlando

It kicked off two decades of golden-era golfing in Revelstoke, which played host to many B.C. Interior tournaments, and even hosted movie stars like Richard Arlen, who beat the course record in 1936 while in Revelstoke filming The Great Barrier. On behalf of the Gaumont British Picture Corporation, he donated the what’s now called the Arlen Cup to the “dandy good fellows” of the club.

Looking north up the Columbia River on the No. 10 green. Photo: Aaron Orlando
Looking north up the Columbia River on the No. 10 green. Photo: Aaron Orlando

Revelstoke Golf Club president Heather Duchman’s family has maintained a link to the club for decades. Her ancestors contributed part of the land that forms the 18-hole offering.

“It’s absolutely spectacular — to go back that many years,” Duchman says. We talk over drinks on the patio underneath the giant cedars that define the course. She tells me the Revelstoke golfing experience is a laid-back thing.

“It’s about a walk in the park with good friends,” Duchman explained, gesturing to the trees and river. “It’s just the most peaceful day you can spend. It’s a great place to be.”

Revelstoke Golf Club pro Dean Jackson agrees.

The iconic Revelstoke view of Mount Begbie. Photo: Aaron Orlando
The iconic Revelstoke view of Mount Begbie. Photo: Aaron Orlando

“This is one of the nicest views I have seen in a golf course,” he said. “This is coming from someone who has played a lot of golf courses.”

Jackson describes the Revelstoke Golf Club as a “fun, social, relaxed” kind of club that welcomes visitors. The course has been more of a locals’ club since it was incorporated; visitors are welcomed, but lower-key marketing always meant the club was something to be discovered by avid, adventurous golfers.

Under the guidance of golf course architect Norman Woods, the Revelstoke Golf Club began its transformation into a 6,537 yard, par 72 championship-layout, 18-hole course in 1974.

Today, a century of transformation continues. Revelstoke has been a backcountry destination since Swiss guides arrived with the railway over a century ago. With the opening of Revelstoke Mountain Resort in 2007, the push continues to improve our all-season offerings.

In 2015, the clubhouse cafeteria has been replaced by The Point Revelstoke, a new restaurant with full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner. Trust me: try the Dr. Pepper Ribs, the Coconut Prawn Tacos, or the Butcher’s Block if you’re with a group of hungry meat-lovers.

Also new, the Revelstoke Golf Club is offering online booking system — allowing travelers to fit in a tee time while passing through.

Revelstoke Golf Club Location:

The Revelstoke Golf Club is about three minutes from the Trans-Canada Highway. At the main intersection where the Tim Hortons is located, turn north onto Laforme Boulevard and follow the signs.

Play & Stay 9 holes starting at $85 pp (based on double occupancy) *18 hole rate also available

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Thanks to curator Cathy English at the Revelstoke Museum & Archives for research contributed to this article.

1 Comment

  • Well done, great article.

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