Golf Vale Golf Club Review
Gorge Vale Golf Club is located in Victoria, British Columbia just out of the downtown core of Victoria, the course was designed by Pacific Northwest architect Arthur Vernon Macan in 1927 and renovated by another well know Canadian architect Les Furber in 2001. Gorge has always been one of my favorite courses to play in Victoria and it ranks right up there with Victoria Golf Club and Royal Colwood. The layout with the exception of a few green sites and some bunker placement hasn’t changed since the original design. The new layout is nice improvement over the old layout in my opinion. Furber has given the course a nice facelift and a very golden age appearance to it. One thing that hasn’t changed are the trees that line the fairway, the trees have been allowed to grow nicely here just adding to the look and feel. In 2013 Gorge Vale co-hosted the Canadian Amateur with Royal Colwood, AV Macan’s first course. I played and took these photos the day after the Am was done at Gorge so the rough is very high in some places. Gorge Vale is also part of the PGA Tour Canada Victoria event course rotation so the course has seen plenty of PGA stars walk its fairways. I remember watching the last round of the PGA Canada Tour – Times Colonist Open where Mike Weir failed to get up and down on the 18th green to lose by one shot to another Canadian Rick Todd. All in all if you get a chance to play Gorge Vale you won’t be disappointed it will challenge from the 1st tee to the 18th green.
Hole Descriptions and Pictures
1st Hole – Par 4 359 yds
The first hole is short on the scorecard but plays steeply uphill once you get to the fairway, the tee box is elevated which gives you a good chance to get reasonable close to the green with a good tee shot. The best tee shot here is one that is hit right of the 150 stake, any shots finding the far left side of the fairway or rough may be block out from the green. The second shot into the green is steeply uphill and you won’t find anything regarding a flat lie, you won’t be able to see the green just the flags tick, take an extra club to make sure you put your ball on the green. The green has two bunkers protecting it left and right that aren’t visible from the fairway. The green surface here has some nice undulation to it, for front pins stay to the right and back pins stay left.
2nd Hole – Par 5 514 yds
The first par 5 is dogleg left par 5, the hole is setup by the tee shot. The longer hitters have to take it down the left side of the fairway and make it past the last mound to have any chance of going for the green in two. A good shot here will favor the right center of the fairway giving you the best angle for your second shot. Any shot short of the last tree on the left side of the fairway will have to either go around the tree or over it. The second shot here is fairly wide open, you don’t want to be too close to the green here as full third shot is easier that a shot from 30-40yds from the green. The green surface itself has some pretty good undulation too it depending on where the pin is.
3rd Hole – Par 4 368 yds
One of the trickier holes at Gorge, you don’t need a driver here to get you into a good position. A 3 wood or long iron/hybrid will suffice. The key here is to stay away from the left side bunkers and rough. If aim point should be at the large tree near the right side of the green. The second shot into the green is uphill here and you should add an extra club for the elevation. The green is on the smaller side so an accurate shot is needed, any shot above the hole here in general you will have a pretty quick putt. The green has two distinct tiers to it one left and one right with the left being higher that the right.
4th Hole – Par 4 324 yds
This hole is the ultimate risk reward hole at 324yds you can definitely reach the green off the tee if you can carry your ball about 290 yds from an elevated tee. For the good majority of players you can take an iron or hybrid to get you in good position, a shot of 200 yds is all you need here. The second shot into the green here can be difficult when the pins in the back left corner but there is lots of room to the right here. If you hit it in one of the bunkers getting up and down won’t be easy. The green surface has three tiers to it one front, and one back left and right and its better to be short of the pin if its on the right side of the green.
5th Hole – Par 3 187 yds
The only par 3 on the front nine at Gorge Vale Golf Club its an all or nothing type hole where the majority of the time you have to carry the pond that fronts the green. From tee to green its an approximate 180 yds carry to reach the green. The only bail out area here is short and right of the green. The green surface is fairly flat there’s a bit of undulation but nothing that will give you any trouble with a good first put
6th Hole – Par 4 336 yds
Another one of Gorge’s short holes, its an uphill dogleg left hole where the landing zone canters from left to right. Your aim point here is to stay to the left of the 150 yds stake you can see in the fairway. A shot of 200 yds will put you in good position to attack the green from. The second shot into the green is uphill add at least 5 yds to your shot. The green is protected in the front by two deep bunkers and a bunker back left, there is good amount of surface area on this green so don’t be afraid to take an extra club.
7th Hole – Par 4 426 yds
The seventh is the one of the toughest holes at Gorge Vale golf club it plays longer than its yardage as a result of the gently uphill slope that runs up to the green. Your tee shot on this hole should be aimed at the left side of the green. The fairway here is very generous even though from the tee it doesn’t look it. Your second shot from the fairway is uphill again and taking another club plus yardage should get you on the green. The miss here is to the left, the right has some deep bunkers and you’ll be below the green surface. This green has 3 distinct tiers to it, make sure you on the right tier or below or you’ll have a tough time getting the ball close to the green.
8th Hole – Par 5 601 yds
The longest hole at Gorge from the tips its a beefy hole. Your tee shot is hit from an elevated tee box down into a generous fairway. There is ample room here between the trees left and right so don’t be afraid to go after your tee ball. The second shot must be layed up short of the pond which is 130 yds from the green, for the daring player you can take your shot right of the pond to give you a shorter shot in. The green here is open in the front giving you a good chance to have a put on your next shot. The green surface itself has some slope on it but its a generous green given that its a par 5.
9th Hole – Par 4 410 yds
The last hole of the front side gently bends to the right. The rough is grown up here before you get to the fairway so you may not be able to see a good part of the top of the fairway. Aim your ball between the cart path and the path leading to the fairway. The fairway slopes downhill into a small swale and with a good shot you can have a short iron into this green. Your second shot is gently uphill to a green guarded by a bunker on the right side and some tricky mounding on the left. The green surface has a gentle wave contour and putting can be tricky if get out of position.
10th Hole – Par 3 164 yds
A short par 3 awaits you on the start of the back nine. Your tee shot here must carry a small pond that fronts the green approximately 145 yd carry over the pond. A good tee ball here will always be below the hole. In certain spots being above the hole will leave you with a very speedy putt or chip. The green surface is fairly flat at the front and has some serious slope back left and right.
11th Hole – Par 5 534 yds
The first par 5 on the back nine is reachable by only the longest of hitters. Its a true 3 shot hole. The drive here must favor the right side of the fairway. The pond down the left side is 250yds off the back tee and is in play with decent drive from the regular tees. The second shot here is uphill, the best angle of attack is to aim just right of the bunkers on the left at the top of the hill. Any shot that finds the right rough will have troubles some sizable side hill stance and lie. The third shot into the green here is fairly easy, there is one bunker short and one bunker long but the green is big enough that you should find the putting surface with a decent shot. The green surface has some gentle slope to it but nothing major.
12th Hole – Par 4 423 yds
One of the more intimidating and toughest holes at Gorge Vale Golf Club. Your tee shot is it uphill to a fairway that slopes uphill all the way the to the green surface. There is out of bounds on this hole to the right and trees on the left that will gobble up your golf ball. Finding any part of the fairway here is a good shot. The second shot is again up a steep hill. You’ll most likely need a couple extra clubs in order to reach the green surface here. This is probably the toughest second shot on the golf course, there are two bunker left and right that catch all wayward shots and these bunkers can be very tricky depending on the location of the pin. The green surface is very long from front to back and fairly wide from side to side. In general it slopes from back to front and from left to right.
13th Hole – Par 4 400 yds
This medium length par four doglegs from right to left. The tee shot should be played down the very left edge of the fairway here, a good line here is left of the fur tree on the right side. The fairway here slopes away from tee so your ball will travel further down the fairway if your drive finds the fairway. There is not trouble facing you on the second shot to the green here. There are a couple of bunkers left and long but those are out of play with a good shot. The green surface itself has a couple of tiers left and right, the tiers are gradual making the green surface flow very nicely.
14th Hole – Par 3 166 yds
The tee shot at this par 3 requires an accurate shot in order to hit the green, any shot not finding the green can make for a difficult par. The green is elevated slightly here and angled from left to right, there isn’t a lot of space between the right and left side of the green. The green surface has 3 soft tiers to it and generally slopes from back to front making it important to stay below the hole.
15th Hole – Par 5 541 yds
The last of the par 5’s at Gorge Vale is a hole that plays as a three shot hole for all but a few people. The hole is straight away and requires two good shots to set up the third shot to the green. The tee box is elevated from the fairway and the fairway itself slopes gradually towards the green. There isn’t any magic to this hole, keep your drive and second out of trouble and you’ll have a good opportunity at par here. The third shot into the green is elevated 10ft above the fairway and you should account for another 5 yds for your shot into the green here. The bunkers in front of the green are tough if you find one of them its almost better to be long that in the bunkers. The green surface itself has some slope to it but it more of a gentle slope than anything.
16th Hole – Par 3 208 yds
This devilish hole is a hole you’d expect to see in a US Open or PGA championship, there is no bailout here, either hit the green or most likely end up in a bunker or rough with a tough up and down awaiting you. The green here is on the smaller side as a result of two tiers half in the front and half in the back. Again a good ball here will always be below the pin, ff you ball finds the top tier and the pin is down below you’ll be in for a very speedy putt.
17th Hole – Par 4 412 yds
This dogleg right par 4 requires a good drive to find the fairway, the longer hitters can challenge the bunker to get into wedge distance, for all others getting as close to the bunker will give you a nice look at the green for your second shot. The second shot into the green here is guarded by two bunkers left and right, there is a nice opening between the bunkers but if your going for the pin you will have to contend with the bunkers. The green surface itself has flowing undulation with the back left corner being on a raised tier above the rest of the green.
18th Hole – Par 4 447 yds
The last hole at Gorge Vale Golf Club is the longest par four on the golf course. Your drive here is hit from an elevated tee down into a fairway that runs back uphill on the second shot. Your aiming point of the tee is between the two green side bunkers or just to the left of the fairway bunkers you can see at the bottom of the hill. Your second shot up to the green requires you to add at least 5 yds to your actual yardage. There are two bunkers at the green left and right with the right bunker being the tougher of the two to get up and down from. The green here has a couple of tiers that run from the front up to the back. The green surface itself generally runs from back to front here.