Review: Predator Ridge Golf Resort (Ridge)

Information:

  • Vernon, British Columbia
  • Public – Daily Fee
  • Doug Carrick (2009)
  • 28th in Canada (ScoreGolf)

At the end of the 2000’s, the interior of British Columbia got a huge boom of golf courses built. Tobiano in 2006, Tower Ranch in Kelowna in 2007, The Rise in 2008, Sagebrush in 2009, just to name a few, with even more planned in the city of Kelowna and Peachland, just south of Kelowna. The best one of the courses still open (sorry Sagebrush, but it’s still closed) is Doug Carrick’s Ridge course at Predator Ridge Resort, opening for play in 2009.

The course features original holes from Les Furber’s 9 holes here prior, but features little resemblance to the Predator course (which I’m told is what they looked like). Holes 1, 2, 15, 16, 17, 18 feature the same land, with 2, 16, 17, 18 being the same routing.

I will say that a trip to the Okanagan would be a mistake without a round at the Ridge. It is the créme de la créme of golf East of Vancouver and West of Banff, Alberta.


The golf course opens with a newly renovated 1st hole, playing 421 yards, slightly uphill.

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For those of you who are confused because you’ve played here and it looks nothing like the first hole you knew, that’s because it’s a brand new golf hole. That bunker on the right of the tee shot is 300 yards off the tee, and that’s one of the old bunkers in the driving zone on the outside corner of the dogleg right. Here’s a view below of the old hole:

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It’s an entirely different golf hole, and I would say it’s better. There’s nothing wrong with the previous one, but it felt like a weird opening hole to me. Now, it’s a gentle opener up the hill. Predator Ridge has done some extensive renovations, moving over hole 4 & 9 on the Predator course to make room for the new 1st hole on the Ridge so they could build new houses up the right.

A low profile green complex, fronted by two bunkers right and some short grass to the left are the defining features on the 1st.

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Below is a screenshot of the old routing with lines drawn on where the new holes are routed (blue is Predator, red is Ridge, green is the old hole routing).

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After the first, it’s back to the good ‘ol same Ridge course. The 2nd is a tumbling 450 yard par 4 down the hill, with the first taste of some of the massive rock outcroppings that are a predominant feature here.

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I like hitting it to the 150 here otherwise the lies get pretty dicey from a harsh downhill slope, but other than that huge rock outcropping that isn’t in play for the tee shot or the approach really, the green is naked. It does feature some good movement in the front portion, and behind it falls off a bit behind the surface.

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Your can see the dramatic elevation change looking back up the hole.

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A bunker-less third, moving up the hill a yard shy of 400 yards is next. It’s a fairly tight tee shot, so hitting it to the 150-130 marker here is the best call. It starts to get pinched at about 280 off the tee.

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A small false front and some good movement here make this one of the best greens on the course.

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The 4th starts one of the best three hole stretches of holes in Western Canada. It’s a mid length 4, nothing too long, moving to the right with two bunkers on the outside corner of the dogleg. This is also why I felt the original 1st was a little weird, as the tee shot here was almost the same, and this is clearly used better.

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To an infinity green, it’s a pretty spectacular approach shot.

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The 5th moves down the mountain, and is a long par 3 at 244 yards. A huge ridge, chocolate drop, thing (I have no idea what to call it) is short of the green, giving you options if you want to fly it to the green, or take your chances off the undulations.

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you can see how severe the ridge short is looking back up the hole.

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The 6th is then a blind tee shot over a massive rock outcropping. It’s a longer hole, at about 440 yards, but plays so downhill you can hit a big one. For reference, I had 75 yards in to a back pin. Wait until the next group is on the green so no one dies!

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A good view of the hole from the front tees. There’s no trouble in the fairway, but the main hazard is hitting a good one to a blind landing area from the back tees.

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More views of Okanagan Lake are behind this hole, which is another fun approach shot to a big green.

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now there’s nothing wrong with the holes after hole 6, they’re actually quite good, but 4-6 is quite world class in my opinion. The 7th is the first par 5 on the course, headed downhill at about 560 yards.

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What I really liked about the Ridge that I didn’t notice until I most recently played it is it’s quite wide off the tee, and starts getting more pinched towards the green. The playing corridors are quite wide being a resort course, but more bunkering, more aggressive land movement, the holes get better the closer you get to the green.

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There was a lot of subtle movement in the front portion of the 7th green as well, with one of my playing partners roll it off the front from the middle. One of the sneaky quick greens here.

The 8th is another long par 3 at 229 yards, with a completely different dynamic than the 4th. It’s a faux redan—the right side bounds the ball towards the green, with bunkers short left, but the green doesn’t slope to the back. A few options on a long par 3 is always nice, and the two on the front give you multiple.

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The 9th is a reachable par 5 at just over 500 yards. There’s multiple rock outcroppings that make this a very cool hole to end the front.

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It’s a good chance at a birdie. There’s not a bunker on this hole, and it’s more intimidating with the rock outcroppings that actually being a hazard in play.

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The green complex is two-tiered, with some good movement for this ‘ol resort course.

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The 10th is one of the more visually stunning holes, a par 4 down and up, only 375 yards or so. 4 fairway bunkers spread out around the hole are the main issues to navigate, and obviously concentrating after the view.

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An uphill wedge is left for most.

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The 11th is a par 5 around 570 yards, with some really extreme undulations and rumples in the fairway that the Tiger golfer can carry, but the average person likely has to navigate.

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As you roll up to the green, there’s some good movement as well, but more in the lay up area. You can barely see the top of the 150 stake below.

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This is a fairly simple hole, however it’s enjoyable over some good land.

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The 12th is a drop shot par 3 at about 180 yards. The green has a ridge running off the right edge off the front bunkers, which makes putting across it difficult.

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The 13th is another fairly mundane par 5. The tee shot plays downhill, but it’s another mid length par 5.

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The layup is the most boring shot on the golf course, and the green complex is fronted by a bunker left and a rock outcropping left as well. This is probably my least favorite hole here.

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There’s nothing bad about it, but it’s not a great hole. I wish Doug Carrick would’ve either found an interesting way to make this a strategic, reachable par 5, stretched it out longer so it’s an authentic three shot hole, or made a double green. There’s lots of room left of the rock outcropping to do it, and it looks like a very natural green complex. A rock outcropping is a nice little way to divide the two green complexes.

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Of course, as a resort golf course, I understand why, and it might cause confusion. But it could’ve been pretty cool and a nice ode to Tokyo Golf Club, Pine Valley Golf Club, and any other golf course with two greens on one hole.

The 14th is another great bunker-less par 4, with some good movement around the 150.

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Rock left of the green and a hazard over the green are the main defences against this slightly less than 400 yard hole.

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At 155 yards, the 15th is the shortest par 3 on the course. It plays over the swamp, where the old 15 went, to a very wide green with a bunker left.

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The 16th is a quirky little 330 yard par 4 bundling down the hill. Carrick did his best here, but it’s obvious this used to be one of the Furber holes.

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A hazard short and left of the green make you think twice about hitting driver. Unless you can fly it 300 flat, I wouldn’t suggest going for it. It feels a lot longer than it is.

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The 17th is the longest par 4 on the golf course, playing a couple yards over 470 yards. Water runs down the entire left side of this hole, and the golfer has to choose where they want to cross the hazard.

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Two bunkers on the right and the hazard up the left make this a difficult long iron or wedge, depending on how aggressive the player gets.

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the 18th is another long par 4 at 461 yards, playing down the hill. Most people, from the proper tee, will have a short iron or wedge here. A hazard at 360 off the back deck, and a bunker left are in play. The one on the right looks like it is, but it’s not in play.

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An uphill approach shot to finish at the base of the clubhouse, two bunkers on the right and one on the left side are the main defence to the final iron of the day.

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Predator Ridge is an enjoyable round of golf with some great holes, and a lot of good ones. There’s a few dull moments throughout the round that hold it back from being on the edge of that “world class” category, but it is a damn good golf course and one of the best places to spend half a day.

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