Wine + Golf

It should come as no surprise that a region with a climate that nurtures grape vines would also be a mecca for golf courses. In fact, British Columbia is home to more than 300 courses ranging from simple par threes to world-class facilities which are a challenge for even scratch golfers.

But don't take just our word for it. In 2007, the International Association of Golf Tour Operators named British Columbia the Best Golf Destination in North America. In 2010, SCOREGolf named the top five new courses in the country and three are in B.C.

Some of the world's top golf architects have lent their expertise to designing courses in the province, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Les Furber. And you can't beat B.C.'s natural beauty - teeing off with a backdrop of mountains, lakes, ocean or desert landscapes is simply unsurpassed.

A growing trend for golf enthusiasts who visit British Columbia are vacations that combine their love for the links with their love for wine.  Tour operators have recognized this and have begun developing package options that reflect this dual interest. Individual golf courses are also promoting British Columbia wine by offering winery tours direct from their facilities.

Depending on the location and your personal desires, you have a number of choices when it comes to planning your golf and wine tour. You may want to dedicate certain days to golf and others to wine separately to make the most of each activity.

But the proximity of many of the region's golf courses to the wineries, particularly in the Okanagan-Similkameen, means you can spend a few hours on the links then roll out on a wine tour on the same day with ease. So if your time in B.C. is limited there is no reason you can't enjoy golf and wine to the max.

If drinking and driving is a concern, tour operators will shuttle you around and many give you the option to build your own packages to tailor to your interests instead of following a set itinerary.

Planning a golf and wine tour is especially versatile when members of your party aren't necessarily interested in both activities. Non-golfers can fill their days full of wine and scenic tours, while the enthusiast can spend time on the links guilt free and vice versa.

With so many options to choose from for your wine and golf vacation, it pays to do a little planning. Here are a few tips:

~  Select your destination in British Columbia and research the wineries in the area;
~  When you decide which wineries are a must visit during your trip, research which golf courses are located reasonably close by;
~  If you prefer using a designated driver, inquire about tour operators in the area and ask about possible wine and golf packages;
~  When booking your accommodation, inquire if the hotel/motel or resort provides a shuttle service to nearby wineries and/or golf courses. Most will offer wine and golf packages;
~  Inquire about winery tours from the golf courses when you call to book tee times;
~  If you plan a wine and golf tour on the same day, consider bringing a change of clothes, as you may not necessarily want to wear your golf attire to visit wineries;
~  Make sure you stay well-hydrated.

When playing the following courses, consider these suggested wineries in your itinerary.