Investing In Canada’s Burgeoning Golf Resort Market


Better known for its slope-side bounty, Canada’s burgeoning golf resort market is offering dual-season earning power to a new round of investors. Laura Henderson checks out the Maple Leaf’s tees and leaves

Not so long ago, weedy fairways and weathered greens epitomised country golf Canadian style. But these days, a flourishing economy and a concerted national push for four-season tourism, have moved the game out of the municipal dark ages and into the golf-rich league; fair-weather destinations which stretch the season by several months, offering a roster of outstanding courses with a domestic market now topping five million registered players and rising. “Canada has a promising golf career ahead of it,” says Brian Page of Century 21 Nordic Realty. “A sizeable percentage of development is affiliated to recreational property, with upwards of 20 per cent capital appreciation in golf-centric locations like Canmore. The cost of living in Canada is also significantly lower than in Europe with few barriers to foreign ownership, all of which smoothes the way for inward investment.” So where are the high altitude swingers heading?

Fairways framed by Rocky Mountain peaks and bunkers edged by glacier lakes - Alberta has its panorama well and truly sussed, with a choice selection of golf communities raising the province’s profile and property values up by a healthy 30 per cent since 2007. Situated in Bow River Valley, Canmore is the natural gateway to Banff National Park, 18-hole Stewart Creek Golf and Country Club forming the community backbone. Those on a major golf binge, can also play the world famous Banff Springs Golf Club, with Canmore Golf and Curling Club’s challenging mix of par 4’s and par 5’s and well-bunkered greens close by. To the valley north, the luxury residential trappings of Silver Tip Resort (www.silvertipresort.com) come with a bold layout course boasting 360-degree mountain views. Custom-built four-bed estate homes backing onto the pristine fairways are selling for £1.5m.

British Columbia
Offering a superb natural backdrop; snow-capped mountains, alpine meadows and sparkling blue sea, Canada’s westernmost province boasts a portfolio of signature courses designed by the likes of Robert Trent Jones and Arnold Palmer. “British Columbia is crowd pleaser,” says Canada travel specialist Nicole McEwan. “The golf is great, but you can also head off and go whale watching, hiking or horse-riding if the mood takes you.” Drawn by a temperate climate and possibly the whiff of celebrity endorsement, player investors are flocking to an island that not long ago slumbered as a backwater, until that is, the opening of Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club (www.bearmountain.ca).

Carved through ridges, woods and timberland valleys, this 400-hectare community on the northwest outskirts of Victoria, has almost single handedly turned Vancouver Island into a golfers’ fantasy playground, with help from Jack Nicklaus and son Steve, who jointly designed the high-stakes course located at the foothills of Mount Finlayson. The community will boast a wide range of ownership options from luxury homes, townhouses and condominiums. Prime fairway plots start from £250,000, with a pick ‘n mix of golf membership options available dependent on season and frequency of play.

Britain’s oldest ex-colony and North America’s easiest reach destination, has one of the laziest property markets in Canada-prices well below the national average, but with pockets of growth set to buck the trend. At just over five hours flying time from London, ultra-smart wooden homes on a scale rarely seen in Europe have been selling like hot cakes in the province’s keynote international resort Humber Valley (www.humbervalley.com). Located just twenty minutes from Deer Lake International airport, this evergreen residential playground is a hive of laid-on activity with everything from fishing and kayaking to skiing and snowshoeing, a prestigious Golf Academy and stunning par-72 18-hole Doug Carrick course set amongst Canadian Spruce forests; links, valley land and riverside holes rising 400 feet up to the clubhouse. “Property comes in around 40 per cent less expensive than key resorts in the Rockies,” confirms local agent John Somerville. Buyers can select from a range of architect-designed styles, the majority of homes featuring wrap around balconies, spa baths and open fires. Prices start from £290,000 for a spacious, three-bed chalet.

Billed as the region’s ‘four-season saviour’, Mont Tremblant in neighbouring Quebec is working hard on building its golf brand. Located just 90-minutes from Montreal and surrounded by a 1000-acre wilderness reserve, Lac Desmarais Resort (www.lacdesmarais.com) boasts three championship courses within a twenty-minute radius. A limited number of large lake front and mountain lots (1.5 acres minimum) are available from £225,000 rising to £830,000 for a nine-acre plot. On-site facilities include a boutique hotel, spa, fitness centre and steam baths. Fresh air pursuits include canoeing, fishing and horseback riding, but if it’s down to dusk golf you are after you won’t be disappointed, with no less than seven championship courses in the vicinity, two listed in Quebec’s top 10. You have been warned.

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