Queen Elizabeth Park Pitch n’ Putt


I had an opportunity to play Queen Elizabeth Pitch n’ Putt today for the first time and it gave me that giddy, butterfly, excited feeling like when you’re a kid going somewhere fun.  Basically, I was a kid again today.  There is something about the modest little kiosks at these pitch n’ putts, the ones where you pay through the window and kink your neck to see what kind of chocolate bars and snacks they have on offer behind the counter, that brings up this feeling, for me.

That excitement seemed to sustain itself throughout the round today.  One reason might be that I hadn’t played in a while and had a new “swing theory” to test out.  The other was that I played as a single and this meant I could hit a couple balls off the tee and practice my chipping as I went along.  Oh, and I was catching a Canadians baseball game afterward with an old friend.  Oh, and I drove Norabel (my old convertible Chrysler LeBaron) to the course today. Oh, and it was a perfect 25° day.  Happiness was tee’d up high today my friend.

I birdied the first hole with both balls. Nice start! I played the first round with a new used putter I bought off a friend (usually a mistake).  It didn’t take long before I ran into a beginner foursome, which is totally great to see.  I am a low handicap golfer playing as a single so I know to be as patient as I need to be and let time just do its thing out there. A nice couple caught me on the the 5th tee.  They were originally from Germany and mentioned “back home” they make you pass a test before they let you onto the course.  You need to understand etiquette and take a lesson before trying the game.  My initial thought was that this would be a huge barrier to entry for new golfers, but then I recalled an entirely amazing program posted on the window of the kiosk. Fraserview Academy has a “Get Golf Ready – Par 3 League” program they are running from August to mid-October that covers skill development in interested golfers, and it’s only $30!!  Why wouldn’t ya?!  What an offer!! Probably best that learning the ins and outs of the game be a voluntary endeavor.

There was a lot I admired about the course today.  It was in the middle of a beautiful park setting surrounded by other activities like disc golf, tennis, walking and riding bikes.  The course meandered brilliantly in every direction and utilized strategic interest from the effect of being on a significant hillside.  The fairways were dried out so you could anticipate fun bounces or could try playing the “ground game” (with the ball hit low to run along the ground), and the fully grown trees were a brilliant place to plant your gaze or grab some shade.

I thought the course was fantastic.  It had a good mix of yardages, the greens were in good condition and the teeing areas were level with mostly new mats.  The thing I think I loved most about the course today though were the dry fairways.  I love, love, love the philosophy of not watering when it’s not required.  The days of Augusta National Golf Course being the benchmark for how a golf course should be kept are long gone.  In the modern game we all know that water conservation is sexy and that golden brown fairways contrast spectacularly with the deep green of the trees, bushes, and the golf greens.  I personally love the textural complement of taller fescue grasses grown into places that balls don’t often go.  The tall wispy grass moves in the wind and adds a third grass height to the playing area. Fun.

I played over my head today, I think.  I got on a run and had it under par but blew it coming home.  I needed to birdie the 18th hole but when I got there it was closed! I failed to read the sign or acknowledge the discount they gave me for this little inconvenience.  But I still needed a birdie to finish even par and had only played 17 holes so I pleaded my case to Natalia in the kiosk.  Instead of shutting me down, she surveyed the area, saw nobody was on the first hole and told me “If you’re quick you can play the first hole one more time”.  Natalia, you are the greatest!  The birdie roll took a peek inside the cup but in the end the golf Gods just teased me and the ball stayed out. 

Some of you may ask, “how did you keep a score whilst playing two balls?” True, this is somewhat unofficial, but I always played and kept score with the first shot on each hole.  I also missed 4 putts within 3 feet which makes me kind of wonder if my friend has a return policy on this putter…

Either way, it was a day of magic at Queen Elizabeth Park.  I’m stoked to do an official tour of the pitch n putt courses through Metro Vancouver.  There are a few beauties out there and a couple more that I haven’t played yet.  I’ve been around golf most of my life and I see the game trending this way, toward the smaller game – less time, less money and much less intimidating than the larger, more recognized game.  I want to understand it better.  I want to make golf a game that everyone can enjoy.  So thank you QE and Vancouver Parks for getting me started on my pitch n putt quest! 

More to follow…

Lastly, I have to mention I am stoked to see The First Tee program running in Vancouver.  Golf Canada and others are working hard to launch this program in Canada and I’m proud to say I took the NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) through Golf Canada and the PGA of BC to become a Certified Community Golf Coach.  So, any local courses running The First Tee Program please let me know if you need a volunteer because I would love to help out!! 

8 thoughts on “Queen Elizabeth Park Pitch n’ Putt”

  1. Wonderful description of that gem of a course tucked inside a big city park. I love that the Lower Mainland has these beautiful par 3 courses, sometimes it’s all you need for a perfect day, which it sounds like you had!

  2. That’s great you had so much fun
    Definitely return the putter
    I have a beauty Mazda putter you may be interested in?
    Pitch n putts sure are fun

      1. Your blog is great! I’ve always been intimidated to get out and play the “grown up” courses for fear of making the people behind me angry. It’s nice to know good golfers such as yourself are out there and are encouraged to see people get into the game. Sounds like this pitch and putt might be the way to practice without being overwhelmed. Thanks for your review!

  3. One of the best places to learn the game is a pitch n putt, especially for kids. Your post has rekindled fond memories for me, playing at various pitch n putts with my grandfather.

  4. Most of my favourite memories of the game involve a Pitch n Putt with friends. We’re lucky to have so many good ones in the Lower Mainland. Thanks for the great read.

  5. I have played this course a few times, and had great experiences also. I was able to bring out friends who are new to golf, and it was the perfect course for everyone to just have fun.

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