Champions Will Continue To Be Crowned At Duncan Meadows

B.C's Top Female Amateur Golfers Will Compete At The Challenging Duncan Meadows Layout This June - Image Credit Jeff Sutherland

by Bryan Outram, Inside Golf

Duncan Meadows first opened for play in the early 1990's. In its early years, the course was operated by various owners, under different names, and without much success, until Grace and Ming Hui purchased the property out of bankruptcy in the fall of 1996.

By then, the course had been allowed to deteriorate to the point that it appeared well on its way back to its dairy farm origins. However, Grace and Ming saw the potential of the rolling terrain, abundant wildlife, the impressive backdrop of Mt. Prevost and the solid existing course layout.

During the next several years, the Hui's incorporated a hands-on management style and put in endless hours of good old-fashioned work to essentially rescue the course, and develop it into a site that became capable of hosting elite level events.

To that end Duncan Meadows will play host to this year's British Columbia Golf Women’s Amateur & Mid-Amateur Championships starting on June 30th.

Appropriately dubbed ‘Where Champions Are Crowned’ Duncan Meadows has been termed a strong "technical" course by both B.C. Amateur golf legend Doug Roxburgh and former PGA TOUR player Frank Lickliter.

Both saw Duncan Meadows as a layout where keeping your ball below the hole would generally lead to good scores.The putting surfaces are uniquely soft yet fast, so if you find yourself above the hole, it is recommended that you concentrate on lagging the ball as close as possible.

While the 'heroic' play is often rewarded, calculating risk versus the potential benefit is also wise. The course itself offers an exceptionally strong mix of parkland and links-style holes sculpted from the gently rolling landscape.

The many lakes and ponds are home to several types of waterfowl and from virtually every tee golfers are greeted with beautiful mountain and valley views.

Interview with Duncan Meadows Owner Ming Hui

Certainly nobody is better qualified to talk about the strengths and characteristics of this challenging layout than co-owner Ming Hui, having spent literally countless thousands of hours breathing life back into the facility and raising it to a championship level golf course. We posed some questions to Mr. Hui with respect to what may confront the competitors for the B.C. Women's Amateur Championships this summer

Q: What can you tell us about some of the other championships Duncan Meadows has hosted in the past?

Ming Hui: We have hosted quite a number of high level events…for example in 2011 we hosted the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship and in 2009 the B.C. Men’s Amateur Championship… and of course in 2002 a 15-year old Paula Creamer shot a ladies’ course record 67 to win the AJGA Future Links Championship here… and as far as British Columbia Golf championships go, we’ve also hosted the 1999 B.C. Mid-Amateur and 2001 B.C. Junior Championship. Also we will be hosting the Canadian Men's Amateur in 2018.

Q: What do you see as the golf course's best defence? Be it length, strategic hazards, overall design, prevailing conditions or how the course can be set up…

MH: I think, especially in the summertime when the course is hard and fast…the greens are very demanding…depending on the their speed. So the greens can be very challenging, particularly because there are a lot of subtle undulations which can cause a ball to break back towards the mountains when you don’t necessarily see it that way…sort of an optical illusion. Also, a lot of players have said ‘Gee, you don’t have a level lie on this golf course’.

Q: Which particular holes do you see as the ones that will provide the most challenge to the players?

MH: Well, the challenges…there have been a lot of write-ups about our ‘Amen Corner’ which is number 13, 14 and 15, the tournament can be won and lost in those three holes. A prime example was the 2009 B.C. Men’s Amateur where Brady Johnson made a triple bogey on the 13th and he wound up losing to Daniel Brown who had been 4 or 5 shots behind…so that stretch of holes can be real trouble. Thirteen is our number 1 handicap hole and with a water feature at 270 yards off the tee it usually forces players into a 180-yard or so approach to a well protected green so it is a very demanding hole. Number 14 is a long par 3 and from the back tees plays to about 220 yards, so it can be a real tough tee shot to hold the green and the front has a heavy slope so you can’t bounce the ball on. The 15th hole is a shorter par 4 but it has a very tight, narrow fairway. With trees on both sides players may have to hit a shorter club just to get the ball on the fairway.

Q: What do you think will be the keys to a player coming out on top? Do you need to drive the ball long or more accurately?

MH: I think accuracy is probably more important than length. The course sets up very well from the back tees, if you play forward of many of those back tees you can be hitting into some of those hazards and trouble. Don’t try to hit it long, because trying to hit it long will get you in trouble.

Q: Is it a course you can attack, or is one better off to play conservatively and wait for opportunities to arise?

MH: I think you can attack on some of the holes and some of the holes you have to play conservative. A Good example is with the 1st and the 2nd holes, there’s a creek out at the landing zones so you have to lay up short of that. On those first two holes if you hit it long, you can get to the green in two, but it also opens up that creek where you can put it in there…so it’s a real risk/reward type of situation.

Q: Is there another layout you might compare Duncan Meadows with for those who are not familiar with the course?

MH: Not particularly, it is fairly unique in that the property is basically rolling hills …the front nine has a lot of uphill and downhill shots, the back nine is more of a flat terrain.

Q: Does the course favour any particular shot shape? Draw, fade, high, low etc.?

MH: Straight is best.