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Kokanee Springs is considered as Norman Wood’s masterpiece. Carved from the wilderness and situated along the base of the Purcell Mountain range, Kokanee Springs has been regarded as the flagship of golf courses in the Kootenays. World renowned golf course architect Norman Woods had been commissioned to design the layout, having apprenticed under Stanley Thompson. (Thompson designed the Banff Springs and Jasper Park Lodge Courses in the Canadian Rockies).
With more than 300 golf courses to his credit, Woods still recalls Kokanee Springs as his greatest challenge. “The entire area looked as though it was nothing but bush, water and rocks”, says Woods, “with a towering mountain running into it, my choices were certainly restricted. I was sure the mountain was not going to move, so it was up to me to fit the course in around it”, Woods reminisced.
Woods had moved on site and was living in the historic Murray Cabin near #7 to oversee the construction. Some of his enhancements included the hundreds of feet of rock walls along the tiered tee boxes, log trestles and bridges to route traffic and the stone wishing wells. The pond at #14 was created, fed by a small streams; this pond is a beautiful hazard as well as a practical reservoir for the irrigation system. The smaller ponds on #9 and #18 were also built under Woods’ watchful eye. In fact, he designed the 120-acre course to take full advantage of its scenic beauty and to challenge the golfers who now play upwards to 30,000 rounds per year.
Sixty-six sand traps, twelve water hazards and 124,000 square feet of elevated, multileveled greens with 90,000 square feet of terraced tee surface were all a part of his plan. As if the hazards Woods created weren’t enough of a challenge, Kokanee Springs is a long course. A well played round can take you 6.5 miles. The yardages are 6604 from the blue markers, 6260 from the whites and 5747 from the reds, on this par 71 track.
The Kokanee Lodge was completed in May of 1992, offering for the first time a complex of luxurious yet casual course-side accommodations. In 2003, Kokanee Springs celebrated the lodging expansion, with the addition of “Noble Lodge” and the Clubhouse renovation which spearheaded Kokanee into the next era of development.
Click here to download a PDF of the full history of Kokanee Springs Resort.