Golf Islands of the Salish Sea

The perfect itinerary for the golfing boater (or the boating golfer)

This golf cruise stretches from Salt Spring, Pender, Gabriola and Galiano islands out to Bowen Island in the east and Quadra Island to the north. In addition to these new courses, we include updates and changes we have discovered through exhaustive research and, yes, some good times.


The picturesque par 4, 8th hole at Gabriola Golf & Country Club curves around Hoggan Lake.

Gabriola Island: Nanaimo Harbour & Silva Bay
For Nanaimoites and boaters mooring in Nanaimo Harbour, it is an easy task to hop on the Gabriola ferry in town and, when you get to the other side, some kind islander will offer you a ride up to the Gabriola Golf & Country Club. Really!

When boating, head to Silva Bay at Gabriola’s southeast end. This excellent harbour has several marinas including Silva Bay Marina and Page’s Resort & Marina. You will need a ride to the golf course on the island’s west end. You can call Gabriola Island Taxi 250-247-0049, hop on GERTIE (Gabriola’s community bus service—see or, given advance notice, arrange a ride through the pro shop.

Gabriola Golf & Country Club has two sets of tees and measures 5,800 yards and par 71 when you go around twice. Pastoral in nature, just about every rolling hole offers a view of Hoggan Lake. Since opening in 1980 the small greens, sloped fairways and sharp elevation changes have made this course a challenge. The prettiest holes:—6, 8 and 9—wrap around the lake.


The toughest hole is the 292-yard, 5th. Its sharp dogleg right requires a controlled slice off the tee to get a chance at reaching the elevated green in regulation. Hit the tee shot too far and you’ll be playing ‘evergreen pinball.’

The best (or peskiest) hole is the 346-yard, par 4, 8th that curves around Hoggan Lake. On my last go, I hit a perfect high fade off the tee that rolled down the slope stopping close to the lake. This left a doable approach to the green protected by a mean-spirited arbutus tree hanging off a rock ledge. Yes, I hit the tree and ricocheted the ball into outer space. I can’t resist a challenge so I grabbed another ball. Three shots later I finally bounced one off the rock outcropping onto the green. Oh boy!

It doesn’t take long to chill out with a libation or two on the deck of the log clubhouse. Book a tee time or just drop-in and walk-on.


 Gabriola Golf & Country Club (9 Holes/Public)

South Road, Gabriola Island, B.C. V0R 1X0

Phone: 250-247-8822


Rentals: Clubs, pull and power carts

Facilities: Driving range, clubhouse, coffee shop and bar




Salt Spring Island: Salt Spring Marina

Salt Spring’s Hole #6.

Our recent Salt Spring Island visit brought a mix of news. The bad news being the fact that Salt Springs’ second golf course, Blackburn Meadows, closed in 2012. The good news is the land, Blackburn Lake Nature Reserve, is preserved and operated by the Salt Spring Conservancy. Luckily, Blackburn’s players can continue their golf adventures at the excellent Salt Spring Island Golf & Country Club.

More good news is the fact that Moby’s Pub above the Salt Spring Marina, is up and doing well under new management. In order to revisit Moby’s, we chose to tie up at Salt Spring Marina. Call 250-537-5810 for reservations.

It is a five-minute taxi ride from the dock to the golf course.

Salt Spring Golf & Country Club is the oldest course in our tour. This mature, well-manicured nine-hole, 3,086-yard course used to be a sheep pasture then a seed farm before opening as a golf course in 1928. Rolling evergreen-lined fairways, several picture-perfect greens (especially #6) and well-positioned flower-fringed lakes complete with hole names like Acey Deucey (#2) and Double Trouble (#4) provide a traditional flavour.

The course begins with a challenge. At 524 yards, the first hole is a long rolling par 5 with out-of-bounds down the right side. I am not the longest driver so I need three good shots in a row for a chance to putt for birdie on this, the toughest hole. As your drive takes you over a hill and out of sight, once you have hit your second shot, remember to ring the bell telling folks on the tee that you are clear.

I was taken with Double Trouble, the 4th hole. Most nine-hole courses, in order to make 18-hole rounds more interesting, have two sets of tees for the front and back nines. Salt Spring has white tees on the front and blues on the back. However, Double Trouble has two greens; the shorter one is on a side hill (white tees) and the second, longer green is around a lovely yellow iris-fringed lake to the left to be played on the back nine (blue tees).


Salt Spring Island Golf & Country Club (9 Holes/Semi-Private)

Lower Ganges Road, Salt Spring Island, B.C. V0S 1E0

Phone 250-537-2121

Rentals: Clubs, pull and power carts

Facilities: 250-yard driving range, clubhouse, pro shop, restaurant and bar



North Pender Island: Otter Bay Marina

Looking back to the club house at Pender Island Golf Course.

North Pender Island’s combination of marina and golf course is tough to beat. The resort-like Otter Bay Marina is one of our personal favourites made doubly so by the fact that the Pender Island Golf & Country Club is just one mile up the road.

Marina managers continue to upgrade the docks and facilities. Since our last visit, new seating areas overlooking the marina have been added along with a new heated pool to make two. Call 250-629-3579 to book a slip. Otter Bay’s shuttle takes golfers to the course.

Pender Island Golf & Country Club’s nine-hole course is rated par 34. Its 2,505 yards comprise one of the region’s prettiest tests of golf. I have a soft spot for this course since the first swing I took here as a (much) younger player. The first hole is 249 yards long. My drive ends up four feet from the hole. Most would be pleased by that but I am embarrassed because I am playing with two club board members and because the foursome on the green is still putting out. Oops!

The signature hole is the 230-yard, par 3, #8. I love the challenging tee shot required to clear a pond and tree guarding the front of the green from an 80-foot high tee deck. I have never made it. I make my par by wimping out to the right then chipping on and sinking the putt.


Pender Island Golf & Country Club (9 Holes/Public)

Otter Bay and Grimmer Road

North Pender Island, B.C. V0N 2M0

Phone 250-629-6659

Rentals: Clubs, pull and power carts

Facilities: Clubhouse, pro shop, restaurant and bar




Galiano Island: Montague Harbour Marina & Galiano Inn Visitors’ Dock

The 3rd and 4th greens at Galiano Golf Course.

The ‘normal’ thing boating golfers do when they visit Galiano Island is drop the anchor in Montague Harbour or take a slip at Montague Harbour Marina 250-539-5733 and then hop on the well-known Hummingbird Bus and ride to the Hummingbird Inn and/or the Galiano Golf & Country Club. See the bus schedule at:

Some time ago we discovered a Galiano alternative. Call ahead to Galiano Inn 250-539-3388 to book space on their dock in Sturdies Bay, spend a night and then get a lift to the golf course via the Inn’s shuttle van. This concept works well if you have a non-golfing partner/crewmate. Between the Inn’s relaxing spa treatments, Atrevida Restaurant, the lovely surroundings and nearby Sturdies Bay shops you’re guaranteed a happy crew when you return from the course. Just sayin’!

Galiano Golf Course’s origins go back to 1946. No tee time required here, just walk on and enjoy this excellent community course. At 1,936 yards, it is not the longest course out there but you will enjoy this well-maintained track sporting dual sets of grass tees, attractive sandstone tee markers, lake, and wooded fairways.

The short 292-yard, par 4, 1st hole offers a challenging ‘risk-reward’ tee shot. Long hitters will be tempted to curve a right to left shot around the poplar tree standing left of centre to the green. Us lesser mortals will lay down a 5-iron to the right of the tree thus ensuring an easy approach. Difficult eagle or easy par? Golfers’ choice.

The most unique hole is Eagle’s Lair, the par 3 4th hole. From the tee box perched on a hillside, you shoot over the 3rd green to the 4th, 91 yards away. It is a small target.

My favourite hole is the strong 335-yard, par 4, 8th hole requiring a long straight tee shot down the right side to allow an approach to the tiered green protected by trees.

I have shot 36 both times I have played this par 32 course which means it is an easy yet lovely walk leaving you feeling good at the end of the day.


Galiano Golf Course (9 Holes/Public)

24 St. Andrews, Galiano Island, B.C. V0N 1P0

Phone 250-539-5533

Rentals: Clubs, pull and power carts

Facilities: Coffee shop, light dining, licenced



Bowen Island: Union Steamship Company Marina & Bowen Island Marina

Elevation changes at Bowen Island GC.

Good news for Vancouverites—you now have a golf island in your backyard and a good one at that. Snug Cove and the Bowen Island Golf Club make an irresistible combination for the boating golfer.

Getting moored in Snug Cove is easy. The Bowen Island Marina docks are on the right as you enter the cove. Call ahead 604-947-9710.

The large marina at the head of the bay is Union Steamship Company Marina. Note that long-time owners Rondy and Dorothy Dike have handed over management of the marina and Doc Morgan’s Restaurant to Oydis and Dean Nickle, their daughter and son-in-law. Call 604-947-0707.

To get to know Snug Cove’s unique steamship history, drop by the Tourist Information Centre and pick up the Heritage Walking Tour brochure. It leads you on a 2.5-kilometre tour of ‘The Happy Isle’ 1920s style.

To arrange a ride to the course, check with marina staff and/or call the pro shop ahead of time; they will get you there.

As this is our first visit to Bowen Island Golf Club, it is a pleasure to have a guided tour with Bruce Russell who, as president of the Bowen Island Golf Association, took a lead role in the development of the course. We cruise the rolling tree-lined fairways via golf cart and quickly fall in love with the track’s natural feel. This 3,003-yard, par 35 layout is a ‘must play’ addition to anybody’s golf island roster—mostly mine. Sadly our schedule hasn’t allowed me to play it. But soon, very soon!

Designed by Russ Olson of Sechelt, BC, this nine-hole evergreen-lined track complete with impressive elevation changes, man-made and natural hazards and multi-level greens combine to make a challenging test for golfers of all skill levels. The most beautiful hole is #9 that runs over a rise and down toward Howe Sound in the background.


Bowen Island Golf Club (9 Holes/Public)

810 Beach Drive, Bowen Island, B.C. V0N 1G2

Phone: 604-947-4653

Rentals: Clubs, push and power carts

Facilities: 175-yard range, clubhouse, pro shop, restaurant and bar



Quadra Island: April Point, Heriot Bay, Q Cove Marina

Writer John Lund on Quadra’s 8th tee.

Boating golfers, we have a new Discovery golf island for you. Yes, this island is in the Discovery Island group, our furthest destination north.

No matter if you moor the boat at Quadra Island’s April Point Marina, Heriot Bay Marina, ‘Q Cove’ (Quathiaski Cove) public dock, or ride the BC Ferry from Campbell River or Cortes Island, the golf course shuttle van will meet you and deliver you to this tough but fun-to-play roller coaster course.

We played this amazing volunteer-built course in June 2015 and had a blast. Playing 3,219 yards from the blue tees (there are three sets of tees), the course sits on a steep forested hillside. Elevation changes make for challenging golf shots and spectacular views of the Sutil Channel and the snow-capped Coast Mountain Range. Creatively stacked stone formations placed here and there add to the course’s combination of art and nature.

My foursome agrees, our favourite hole is the 350-yard, #8. Standing mid-fairway, 210 yards out, is a snag tree that makes a fine target. We bet a loonie each to see if anyone can hit it. OK, I lose that buck but win the hole. Those of us who miss the tree are left with a decent approach shot to the green guarded by ponds left and right.

Another favourite is the signature #9, the 180-yard par 3 finishing hole. A pond complete with mallards and mergansers makes it both gorgeous and tough, demanding a carry of 160 yards (from the blue tees) to reach dry land on the other side. It is a challenge and a great way to finish B.C.’s newest golf island venue.

There you go, six islands, six courses. Hit ‘em long and straight!


Quadra Island Golf Course (9 Holes/Public)

950 Heriot Bay Road

Quadra Island, BC V0P 1N0

Phone: 250-285-2811

Rentals: Push and power carts

Facilities: 240-yard driving range, small coffee shop/pro shop