Highland Pacific Comes In Under Radar
It's on the third tee, the lowest point on the course that you notice that the back (blue) tees are significantly further back than the whites... around 40 yards.
Add in a drive that must travel significantly uphill to reach the optimal landing area and you realize that this nine while not long, is technically demanding and plays much differently from one set of tees to the next.
Doug Hastie responds,"This really is two different courses from the regular and back tees. It is pretty straight forward from the whites but the positioning of the blue tee boxes make it more of a technical challenge."
A review of the scorecard affirms this.
The blue yardage, while only 3,167 yards plays more in the range of 3400 yards with the number of demanding uphill shots. A rating/slope of 35.5/120 just reinforces that if you are not a solid mid-handicapper, the slightly more humble 2738 yard white tees with a rating/slope of 33.3/115 would a more enjoyable choice.
Something unexpected is the solitude. There is clear separation between the holes provided by rocky outcroppings dotted with red barked Arbutus and Garry Oak trees. Also with the course backing onto two parks, huge Firs provide dominating backdrops.
Two holes on the Pacific are personal favourites.
The 353 yard dogleg right par-four sixth plays uphill to a sloping green that is nestled on a hillside while the 221 yard par-three eighth plays again from an elevated tee with views across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the snow-capped Olympic Mountains in Washington State. It is this view that gives you an hint of what vistas are to follow on the Highland Nine.
The Highland starts out at near the same elevation as the Pacific but its first hole, a 360 yard, par-four has an uphill approach that rises more than 50 feet to a smallish elevated green that gets you up to the level of the uppermost plateau.
The holes that follow are a dream.
A longish par four with views of Victoria's skyline precedes a demanding par three where you could end up with putts that leave the 250 area code.
Then you walk over to a semi-island tee box to start a sequence of four holes that may be among the most memorable on Vancouver Island.
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