Length isn’t everything at Tsawwassen Springs

New course – totalling 5,400 yards but still a par 70 – features plenty of  water, and places a premium on shotmaking

Michael Bublé is a minority owner of the Tsawwassen Springs development.
Photograph by: Ian Smith, PNG , Vancouver Sun

Hybrid golf clubs have become extremely popular in recent years and golf  architect Ted Locke likes to think there’s a market for what he calls a hybrid  course.

That’s how Locke describes Tsawwassen Springs, a new course he designed on  the site of the former Tsawwassen Golf Club.

Tsawwassen Springs, which is scheduled to open this July, is not an executive layout, but it’s not what you would call a full-length championship course either.

From the tips, the par-70 track will measure about 5,400 yards and offer a  mix of four par 5s, six par 3s and eight par 4s.

“I’d have to say it’s pretty unique because it’s a shorter-yardage layout,”  says the Vancouver-based Locke, whose local work includes Redwoods in Langley  and North Belling-ham in Washington state.

“It will play between 5,300 and 5,400 yards. It’s a par-70, though, so that  makes it different right away. The best way to describe it is as kind of a  hybrid course. The par 4s are a bit on the short side, but the par 3s and 5s  have a lot of variety.

“There’s a lot of open space and there are some areas with trees, so when you  move from one area of the course to another, it’s changed. I think it adds to a  more adventurous linkage of 18 holes. It’s interesting that way. There’s a  little bit of length, a little bit of traditional, a little bit of target  golf.”

In an era when the majority of newer courses are measuring as much as 7,500  yards or even longer, Locke thinks Tsawwassen Springs might just be a welcome  change for many golfers.

“I think it will appeal to everybody,” he says. “The better player has to  take a more benevolent approach to it, where if they try to blast one out and  hit big tee shots it’s not going to fit well. I’d like to see the better players  just hit hybrids off the tees, on the par 4s and 5s, and then have some good  shots into the greens.

“For the kids we’ve got some really short tees where they can play it for the  appropriate length for the type of tee shots they are going to hit and for  seniors it’s an easy walking course and lends itself to their kind of touch and  feel around the greens.”

Locke isn’t big on signature holes, although he acknowledges the par five  18th hole could well become regarded as one at Tsawwassen Springs. Course owner  Ron Toigo told Locke he wanted a dramatic finishing hole.

“Ron really wanted to have a dramatic finish, so there’s a semi-island green,  kind of a peninsula green, so that might be one that people will talk about  more,” he says.

There’s also lots more water on the course.

What Locke calls “a serpentine channel” winds its way through much of the  course and there are 10 other ponds located on the property.

Toigo’s Shato Holdings Ltd. is the majority owner of Tsawwassen Springs, but  the likes of former Canucks player and coach Pat Quinn, singer Michael Bublé and  entertainment agent Bruce Allen also have stakes in the development.

Tsawwassen Springs is more than just a golf course.

It’s a residential community that one day will include nearly 300 condos and  200 houses spread over the 55-hectare site.

“You can drive your golf cart right into your garage,” says head professional  Murray Poje.

A 35,000-square-foot club-house is planned that will include a sports bar  overlooking the 18th green.

Eleven holes were seeded last fall and the remainder of the course will be  seeded this spring.

“We have all the greens done, just the fairways and tees to do on seven  holes,” Locke says.

“We should be open some-time in July.”

bziemer@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

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