Ranked 26th in Canada
Royal Colwood Golf Club Review
Royal Colwood Golf Club was founded in 1913 and designed by architect Vernon Macan who’s famous around the Pacific Northwest for designing some truly amazing golf courses. The course received its Royal designation in 1931 after King George played. The trees around Colwood are over 100 years old and the trees are a factor on the majority of holes. If you have played or seen or played Sahalee, Royal Colwood is very similar in design. Colwood consistently ranks in the top 100 of Canada because of its history and amazing layout. Victoria in general is blessed with some very fine layouts that date back to the golden age of golf. I have played Colwood several times but always find the greens to be the biggest challenge. In celebration of their 100 year Royal Colwood co-hosted the Canadian amateur and it just happened to be when I took the pictures. One rising Canadian star we followed was Corey Conners who finished second here and the next week lost in the semi finals of the US amateur, that’s him on the splash picture up top.
1st Hole 392 yds Par 4 – The first hole at Royal Colwood is a straightaway tree lined hole, it allows players to get their round of to a gentle start. What you notice on the 1st tee is the very tall trees that line the fairway and surrounding holes, you can tell the club has been around for a long time. There is a bunker on the left in the landing area that tends to attract balls. The hole is flat and you have to take into account that you are at sea level here so adjust accordingly. An accurate shot is required in order to hit this green, the green has two bunkers left and right that guard the front of the green. The green itself as you find out on the majority of holes has lots of slope to them, the green speed I found has always been fair given some of the undulation you’ll find. You’ll want to keep you ball below and to the left of this pin for the easiest putt.
2nd Hole 409 yds Par 4 – The second hole is again straight and has two bunkers on either side in the landing area that you must navigate through. Stay away from the right side as there is tall grass that runs the length of the hole and finding your ball and having a shot out will be very rare. Your second shot will be hit to a slightly elevated two tiered green that is guarded by two bunkers on the right side if the green. The left side runs off downhill so avoid that side if possible.
3rd Hole 422 yds Par 4 – Probably the toughest tee shot on the course as a result of the creek that you must carry at the green on your second shot. The fairway is on a slight angle to the left which makes the tee shot a bit awkward. The best and bravest line here is to hug the right side of the fairway for the shortest second shot. If you get in tree or bunker (left side of the fairway) trouble here your only option will be to lay up. Your second shot must be carried over a 25 yd wide creek that guards the entrance to the green and there are hazard stakes right up to the trees on the left side of the green. The further right you go here the safer and shorter your shot will be, the bank in the front of the green has rough on it so you ball usually won’t go in the water unless your short of the bank. The green us relatively flat and if you miss the green getting up and down is not difficult.
4th Hole 182 yds Par 3 – This medium length traditional par 3 here the green is guarded by water on the right side and two bunkers short left of the green. The left side of the green slopes towards the water with the rest of the green being fairly flat. If you can hit the green here its considered a good shot, the safest miss is obviously to the left side of the green.
5th Hole 522 yds Par 5 – A reachable par 5 if you can bend your tee shot around the tall trees on the right side of the fairway and stay out of the trees on the left hand side of the fairway. You’ll have better luck advancing the ball out of the left trees the right trees are very dense. Your second shot is straight away the fairway is wide and there are only a few smaller trees on the left side to impede your progress. Your club choice on the second shot isn’t limited you can get it as close to the green as you want. The third shot into the green is guarded by two bunkers left and right with the right bunker guarding a back right hole location. This green has a bit of undulation to it and is fairly large for a shorter par 5 green. The only trouble spot around the green here is the left bunker, its a downhill slope from the bunker so be careful to stay out of that bunker.
6th Hole 429 yds Par 4 – The tee shot on the 6th hole requires a straight drive. There are trees on the left that are perfectly placed to catch a stray shot, if your in those tree the only shot will be to get your ball back into the fairway, the right side has a bit more room to make a recovery shot into the green. Your second shot is uphill to a green guarded by a bunker on the right side of the green well below the putting surface. There are also two bunkers 60 yards short of the green to catch any layup shots finding the left side of the fairway. The left side of the green slopes to the middle of the green so you’ll have a fast put if your above the hole on that side of the green.
7th Hole 162 yds Par 3 – This is a short downhill par 3 played from an elevated tee 20ft above the green. The green has 4 bunkers on it one on the left and 3 on the right. The green is kidney shaped and you’ll find a variety of pin placements here, some of them can be more challenging as a result of the bunkering on the hole. The green has a variety of undulation on it in various spots the front and back left slope towards the middle of the green and it flattens out as you move towards the right hand side.
8th Hole 328 yds Par 4 – This short par 4 can give you headaches if you don’t find the fairway. The hole tightens as you get closer to the green about 30yds out. The best approach is to lay up with something that you’ll find the fairway with. Your second shot to the green will most likely be with a short iron or wedge, there are three bunkers that surround the front and sides of this green. The green itself is narrow and long so your shot into the green has to be accurate and the right yardage to have a good look at birdie here.
9th Hole 444 yds Par 4 – The longest par 4 on the front side, the hole gently bends to the right of the tee, there are two bunkers left in the landing zone and if you hit it down the right trees you’ll most likely have to chip out as the trees are thick on that side. The second shot is hit to an elevated green guarded by bunkers left and right and a bunker 70 yds from the green to catch any layup shots hit too far. The green itself has a bit of undulation on it and can be tricky to putt depending where your ball lands.
10th Hole 430 yds Par 4 – The first three holes on the back nine at Royal Colwood Golf Club are the toughest stretch of holes on the course. Two par 4’s over 430 yds and a par 3 over 225 yds. The tenth hole doglegs to the right, from the tee your aiming point is at the bare tree on the left side of the fairway. The large tree on the right tends to draw people away from that side of the fairway but if you can bend your shot around the tree you’ll be in good shape for you second shot into the green. Your second shot into the green here is guarded by two bunkers left and one on the right side. This miss here is either short or long, both allow the player a clear look at the green with nothing impeding the recovery shot. The green itself is fairly flat and doesn’t contain any major undulation.
11th Hole 236 yds Par 3 – The longest par 3 at Colwood and the middle hole in the tough three hole stretch. From the back this is one tough shot, you have to bend it from right to left in order to hit the green here or take on the left bunker. From the back tees a left back pin placement requires your shot to fly directly onto the green. The safe play here is to aim at the right bunker and if you manage to hit the green good if you don’t you have a clear chip up to the pin. The green itself has two tiers with the back being the harder to reach on your tee shot, both tiers are relatively flat.
12th Hole 446 yds Par 4 – The first thing you notice about the tee shot here are the incredibly high and large trees that line both sides of the fairway. The tee shot is blind but its fairly obvious where you supposed to hit it here. Your line from the tee is to aim at the sky between the trees, there are no bunkers in the landing area here so that makes the tee shot a little easier. Your second shot into the green is guarded by a large bunker on the right side of the green. The green is here is where par is protected, it slopes from back left to front right and if your ball ends up left of the pin here you’ll have a very tricky downhill sliding putt. The best play here is to stay right of the pin or even short of the green just stay right of the pin.
13th Hole 397 yds Par 4 – This hole is straight away runs gently downhill, your tee shot is hit from and elevated tee down to a generous fairway. There are three bunkers down the left side to catch any stray shots. Unlike most holes at Colwood if you go in the trees here you can still have a shot to the green, its the only area on the course where your not surrounded by the 100 ft giants. The second shot to the green must be played over a small creek that runs perpendicular to the fairway just short of the green. The green like that last green has some severe slopes on it, first rule here is always be short of the pin or your risking a three put not matter how good your putt is.
14th Hole 491 yds Par 5 – The tee shot on this par 5 sets up the entire hole, from the tee the fairway looks very tight as a result of the large trees 70yds of the tee on the right side. The aim point here is at the far left bunker close to the green, if you miss it left you’ll still have a good chance at advancing the ball fairly close to the green, if your down the right its more of a crap shoot as there is OB past the trees. For the shorter hitters who can’t reach the green there are two fairway bunkers on either side around 50yds from the green, for the longer hitters there are two bunkers left and right that guard the green. A good miss here is to the right side will give you a more or less uphill shot. The green itself gently slopes from back left to right front with the left 20ft being flatter than the rest of the green.
15th Hole 156 yds Par 3 – This short par 3 is slightly elevated from the tee, there are two bunkers on either side of the green to catch any miss hits. The rule here is always stay below and to the left of the pin. The generally slopes from right to left here and puts from right of the pin will usually have a good swing to them. If you had to choose which bunkers to hit into the left bunkers are easier to get up and down out of than the right set.
16th Hole 385 yds Par 4 – I remember when the PGA championship was played at Sahalee Country Club and Gary McCord blurts out on the opening tee shot the fairway is so narrow the players have to walk single file, this tee shot at the 16th kind of reminds me of the that, there’s not much off the tee to do expect find the fairway or you’ll be chipping out or be playing a provisional. The left side of the fairway is the optimal here as the over hanging tree on the right can block your second shot. The second shot in has to carry a bunker that guards most of the front of the green. There is a bunker back left which usually doesn’t come into play unless you miss club. The green generally runs from back to front here with a few plateaus left and right back.
17th Hole 398 yds Par 4 – Your tee shot here is hit from an elevated tee 20ft down to the fairway, the hole gently dog legs to the left but as a result of the giant Douglas fur just of the tee box left can be tougher for right handed players that fade the ball, for us lefties is a gentle fade. The line off the tee is at the small fur tree located in the right rough with a fade or draw depending what side you play from. The second shot into the green is guarded by two bunkers left and right of the green and two bunkers left and right short of the green to catch and layup shots. The green itself has lots of humps and bumps on it especially on the right side and finding a flat put here won’t be easy.
18th Hole 448 yds Par 4 – The longest and toughest hole on the back nine at Colwood, your drive is hit uphill to a plateau 20ft above the tee box to a fairway that bends to the left. The aim point here is right of the large trunk on the right side of the fairway. Any shot going long right is ok and will have a shot to get on or close to the green. Going left of the tee here is jail and will leave a difficult chip uphill just to get back onto the fairway. The second shot has one bunker guarding the green front left, otherwise the green is wide open. The green itself is fairly flat with a slight bowl bottom left near the bunker.