In the early 1990s, Chick and Marilyn Stewart teamed up with the former General Manager of the Vancouver Golf Club, Pat Duffey, to pursue developing the finest 36 hole PUBLIC golf facility in British Columbia. Hiring world-renowned golf course architect and seven-time major tournament champion Arnold Palmer, to design two 18 hole courses, was the first step in achieving this dream.
Breaking ground in 1992 and setting a grand opening date of July 1st 1994, the team began with a clean slate of over 400 acres of various terrains… and tribulations. The soil make-up and elevation changes of the terrain challenged the design group but ultimately a suitable routing for the courses began to unfold. As work progressed, new and more inventive ideas presented themselves and Mr. Palmer took advantage of every opportunity to create exciting vistas and exceptional golf holes. Bringing his ” go for broke ” style of playing golf to his course designs, Mr. Palmer, (or “the Boss ” as his employee’s affectionately call him) developed several signature holes on both courses, now officially named “The Ridge” and “The Canal“. With the two courses shaping up well, the clubhouse portion of the project began. Featuring a classic west coast design, with it’s soaring post and beam western cedar and granite motif, the upper level of the building contains two restaurants, meeting rooms and banquet space that can accommodate 300 people. The lower level features the Golf shop (with the latest in golf fashions and equipment), locker rooms with full shower facilities and still more meeting rooms!
As opening day grew near, it became apparent to everyone that Northview Golf and Country Club was going to make a significant impact on the local golf scene. The Ridge course opened on schedule to rave reviews from the media and golfers alike.
The Palmer Room quickly found an audience as fine dining in a comfortable atmosphere proved to be a welcome addition to the restaurant landscape. Like-wise, Duffey’s restaurant (named for the late Pat Duffey, who managed the facility through it’s early years) offered casual dining over-looking the 18th hole of the Ridge course where watching golfers attempt the shot over the lake is always entertaining.
The PGA comes knocking…
In September of 1994, Arnold Palmer arrived to play the Ridge course to give it one more look and found the course played very much to his liking. In the post round media interview, Mr. Palmer described his pleasure with the final product and offered that the Ridge may some day be home to a PGA Tour event. Only four months later his vision would come true as a local group approached Northview management about the possibility of hosting a Tour event in August of 1996. Of course a series of site visits by the PGA Tour was required but in short order the “thumbs up” was given and serious planning began.
On May 15th 1995, the Canal course opened, offering a completely different test of golf from the Ridge course. Featuring flatter wide fairways and large greens, the Canal played as if it was miles away from it’s sister course but was only across the Serpentine canal, from which it derived it’s name. The Ridge course was the PGA’s choice for the Greater Vancouver Open, they were surprised at the quality of the Canal course as they wondered aloud if; perhaps they had chosen the wrong course! High praise indeed. As with the Ridge the year before, Mr. Palmer checked in to play a round on the Canal and was very satisfied with what he saw. The many large lakes that were created for drainage purposes also provided enough material to change a flat property into a gently undulating landscape that suggested the links land of Scotland or Ireland. While allowing wide fairways, the placement of those same lakes begs the golfer to try to cut a corner and have a run at birdie (or even eagle) and that’s where the challenge begins. Beware biting off more than you can handle because the Canal can bite back!
August of 1996 saw the return of the PGA Tour to Canada’s west coast for the first time in 30 years, and this time, to a totally public facility. The Greater Vancouver Open was welcomed by record crowds throughout the week matched only by the perfect weather. A PGA Tour record crowd saw hockey’s Team Canada play in the celebrity pro-am on the Monday followed by a Wednesday pro-am record crowd, all topped off by over 40,000 people watching Guy Boros win his (and our) first PGA Tour event on Sunday!
Northview says Goodbye to the PGA…
The PGA Tour stopped in Surrey for 7 years, ending in 2002, but not before providing all of us with the thrills and memories of playing host to some of the games greatest players. Northview Golf Club is proud of its role in attracting a world-class event to our community and is committed to continuing to serve our guests in the style that surpasses their expectations.