Okanagan's Predator Ridge Lives Up To It's Ranking as 16th Best in Canada
by Scott A. Sumner
When I found out I was going to be golfing in BCs Okanagan region I immediately looked forward to playing golf and staying at the Predator Ridge Golf Resort. I first heard of this place watching the Skins game that included Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir. This course has been awarded the coveted 4 1/2 star rating by Golf Digests Places to Play. It is located 22 miles from the Kelowna International Airport in nearby Vernon, BC which has Air Canada Dash 8 service from Calgary or Vancouver. West jet fly their 737 jets in as well. You can also reach Predator Ridge with a 3 1/2 drive from Vancouver. The spectacular course with 27 holes ranges in 18 hole length from a friendly 5373 to 7144 yards and is quite a test of golf. The facility sits on a 1200 acre property with rugged pine covered ridges and wheatgrass meadows melting into massive lakes that make for a perfect setting. It reminded me of watching the TV show Ponderosa in the past, a beautiful western setting.
Predator Ridge is a large housing development as well, with 58 luxurious 1300 to 1500 square cottages on the fairways on some holes. I soon found out that fellow golf writer Scott Kramer of San Diego, California and myself would stay in one of the Sergio Garcia owned cottages, Number 3, adjacent to the course. Garcia bought two when the Canadian Skin Games was held at Predator. These two bedroom luxurious units can hold 6 people and were sold out in a week a few years ago for $150,000 and now command $375,000 in the market. Not a bad appreciation for Sergio and others. Predator rent out the units in a pool throughout the season for their owners and achieve a high rebooking rate each year from golf travelers.
It was fun to have a 9 course dinner with Herb and Emily Paterson, founders and owners of the Predator Ridge Golf Resort. Paterson, soon to be 80, brought Titleist equipment to Canada in 1957 and took the firm from sales of $35,000 to $35,000,000 at which time he sold out to Titleist. It was then he got into the golf course business and owns several courses. Paterson knows most people in the golf business in Canada as he used to travel Canada in his car on a very regular basis, visiting golf pro shops along the way. His advice to me on business success was to - work hard, know your product and start in less competitive areas and get stronger before you reach the big markets. Seems to have worked for for Herb and Emily who live at Predator Ridge and are both avid golfers. The entire staff at Predator were excellent and really showed you the meaning of customer service. From the time of your arrival at the clubhouse area you are treated very well making your time there very special.
Our golf game at Predator was during a beautiful hot day. Predator staff member Charlie (Charlene), showed Jim Lee and myself around the course, proving her excellent golf skills in the process. Predator is a great test of golf, on a nicely conditioned layout. It was fun to make some pars on this challenging layout. In the background you would always see the beautiful clubhouse and other developments going on there signifying the extreme success this development has achieved in Canada!
If you get a chance be sure to visit the Predator Ridge Golf Resort at the Thompson Okanagan Valley in BC. See www.canadagolf.com