Kings Links by The Sea


This Championship Par 72 cozy’s up to Boundary Bay, a lovely little inlet off the Strait of Georgia, and the Pacific Ocean.  As you settle in to sashay your first tee ball of the day you can’t help but notice you are in the great wide open – like nowhere else in the lower mainland, you have a 360 degree panorama view of it all.  As you feel anything from a one to four club wind blowing you are entirely distracted by the beautiful surrounds.  Looking North you’ll see city sky lines and the backdrop of the north shore mountains.  Panning east you’ll catch twin prop engine planes gunning hard to take flight from Boundary Bay Airport.  You’ll see the continuation of the mountain ranges that seem to only bookend themselves at the glorious site of Mount Baker and Mount Rainier.  Now staring South you gaze across the Strait of Georgia at the silhouetted Gulf and San Juan Islands while Vancouver Island backdrops it all.  Finally, looking south east you see the unmistakable outcropping of Point Roberts and the sand cliffs of Lily Point Marine Park.  With eyes wide open you are witnessing one of the most beautiful panoramas anywhere.  Bring your gaze in a little closer and you’ll see you are in one of the most incredible bird habitats in Canada.  I have personally been regularly awe struck from the flight of the Great Blue Herron; the majestic hunt of a Northern Harrier, who can hover almost motionless just above the tall fescue as it searches for field mice.  I even saw a live catch once.  Bald eagles are plenty.  I have counted as many as 14 in the same tree, and you get a close up of a nest with two adults just behind the 18th tee.  Most special of all sightings perhaps was a snowy owl chilling out in the bay.  Apparently, they migrate South only once every four or five years.

If that’s not enough beauty for you, you now have the golf course to look at.  The first thing you’ll notice when getting ready to swing it and ding it is the stunning contrast of green grass fairways against the tall, yellow fescue.  You’ll see perfectly pronounced mounding and well-designed bunkers built into the hills in such a way that reveal their existence to the player before taking them on.  As you pour into the course, you’ll get large, reflective ponds which, on a calm day will perfectly mirror the seemingly endless sky. You’ll get more intriguing vistas of the Strait and the Islands, and you’ll see strategic aiming trees sitting lonely atop mounds, wind-swept as they lye exposed to the elements.

Do you actually play golf at this course or just stare at stuff?  Well, yes, golf is played here.  I must preface that before coming to Kings Links I never thought I would feel as embraced by the love that golf can offer as I had when playing Peace Portal or other tree-lined golf courses, especially during twilight hours, as the sun is setting.  But Alas! Early morning or late into the evening, this is the place where I call home for playing golf, and I’ll tell you why.  Aside from all that I have mentioned, you can show up to the course any given day and it can be playing one of a thousand different ways.  You see, depending on which way the wind is blowing and at what strength, the course can already be playing a variety of different ways but, add in the fact that these green complexes are freaking awesome and have 3 or 4 distinct pin locations defined by exquisite mounding on each hole, then what you get is a course playing hundreds of different ways.  But!!!  If you add in the season, you’ll get anywhere from 1 yard of roll out to 40 yards of roll out on a 7 iron!!  And now, what you are looking at is a course that plays thousands of different ways.  I’m not even going to add on what we are looking at when you have to consider whether you are going to land your 7 iron, with 40 yards of roll out, into an upslope or downslope, into the wind, or down wind.  What trajectory should you try and hit this shot? High? Low?  Can you draw it? Can you fade it?  If you can, it might help!  The course will never never never bore me.  You don’t have the luxury of working on the mechanics of your swing out here, which is a blessing, because all you are trying to do is navigate.  Consider the elements, be aware of the danger, and navigate.  To most golfers that might mean just putting your foot on the gas and white-knuckling it until you get back to their world-class patio and clubhouse for a well-earned coca cola, but to the golfer who embraces the nothing-less-than-spiritual experience of Kings you’ll be best served to embrace the challenges, smile at the risk and swing as freely as you can regardless of consequence.  Feel the wind, breathe deeply and experience nature at its finest – allow golf to be secondary to your experience and the day will treat you right.

Legend has it that Bob Ahoy, the original owner of the course did the entire design.  They say he worked the machines to shape the course before the zoning was even approved.  At first, I didn’t believe it, it HAD to be a professional design – every single mound and slope is so well thought out its absurd.  The routing is brilliant and the holes are all distinct – there isn’t a “throw away” hole on the course.  And the par 5’s!  All “gettable” for the lowish handicapper, but not if you swipe at one – you have to hit it on the screws.  So, back to the design; I have resolved to believe that perhaps it had to be Mr. Ahoy himself all along as only the person with the land, the vision, and the time to spend could have thought this course through so much as to have it end up the way it did. It must have come from deep inside the mind of the man and expressed perfectly into this physical reality we now call Kings Links.  Thank you Mr. Ahoy for this gift to golf. 

Lastly, I have to make mention that the reason it is what it is today is because of the love that is poured into it from the Newell Family.  Brad and Maria have made every decision based on the value of the golf experience.  They have supported the vision of golf course superintendent Mike Kiener in making well thought-out adjustments to the course in regard to design, maintenance, and playability.  They added all measure of drainage and sanding protocol to have the course play well in the shoulder seasons and they all agreed on the addition of a 15,000 square foot putting green complete with gnarly mounding and fun backstops to make the all-important putting contest a reason to visit all on its own.  Head in and say hi to the amazing shop staff- Mike White and Co. And finish it off with a meal and a beverage in what is one of the best kitchens in town. 

All around, I rate this course five stars on the “Why Wouldn’t Ya” scale.      


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