Golf and Community go hand-in-hand at Cedar Hill in Saanich

One of my favourite places where I live is Cedar Hill Golf Course, aka Saanich Municipal Golf Course. Not only is it a golf course, open to the public, its a true community place, serving the local residents in many different ways.

Last week, early on a cool summer morning, I met with Craig Rencher, Cedar Hill’s head professional, to chat about the history of the club (it’ll be 100 years old in 2021!), and its role in the community.

Cedar Hill Golf Course is one of the busiest (if not the busiest) in the region where I live. There are 50-60,000 rounds of golf played at it, annually. A generation ago, there were close to 100,000 rounds played a year. At one point, it may have been the busiest course in all of Canada. An influx of new golf courses in the 1990’s reduced the demand on Cedar Hill. However, with economy at play (Cedar Hill is relatively inexpensive to play), closure of some courses, and improvements to the golf course (e.g., improved drainage), the future of Cedar Hill remains upbeat.

Craig has worked as a golf pro at Cedar Hill for 17 years.  I sense he has a positive, constructive relationship with the municipality, his employer. He is recognized as a community leader – not the least for starting up a golf business management program, at a local community college.

In this short (3 minute) video, Craig touches on how the course is an integrated part of the ‘Cedar Hill Campus’ community, asset mix; including the golf course, a club house, a neighbourhood house serving community volunteers, a full-service recreation centre, ball/playing fields, and a rich network of diverse, and intersecting, trails.

(Video not displaying? Watch it here, on Youtube)

When I was a teenager, I lived next to a public golf course in Hamilton, Ontario. For $100/year, I could golf as much as I wanted. The price has changed, yet many of the same opportunities, social and sporting, that public golf offered me as a youth, I see replicated in a place such as Cedar Hill.  The youth program is strong. There are 200 women taking ‘golfing for gals’ lessons, on a weekly basis. Seniors golfers abound. There are scores of kids in a ‘special olympics’ golfing program. All ages and classes. Inclusivity.

Not blind to the needs of a growing city and region, I suspect Cedar Hill golf course and environs will continue to adapt and evolve. Yet, I hold it out as an exemplary collaborative model of community living. I hope it remains a vital place for many years to come.

Here are a few more pics I took of the Cedar Hill golf course and environs:

Trails run right by the pro shop (on the left)

Cedar Hill community board – where paths intersect…

The best wood chip jogging/walking trail in greater Victoria?

Looking at the original 1800’s farmhouse (and now Saanich Volunteer Services nieghbourhood house), from the 9th tee!

Comments

  1. Soren Henrich says:

    Hi Ben,
    Here are some notes regarding the underlying natural features of Cedar Hill Park, of which the golf course is a part.

    • The Bowker Creek tributary is a form-making feature of the Cedar Hill Golf Course, including rare Garry Oak meadow and with open creek running over natural rock.
    • Golf course fertilizing and chemical use might present a significant nutrient load to the creek – causing algal bloom and eutrophication downstream.
    • There is an opportunity to improve stormwater retention in the watershed – alleviating flooding downstream and making accessible creek viewing paths and locations along the open sections in Cedar Hill Park.
    • Friends of Cedar Hill Park and Saanich Pulling Together volunteers have been removing invasive blackberry and ivy around the perimeter trails, to allow native plants to flourish.
    – best regards,

  2. Wonderful, Soren. Thanks for providing your ‘big picture’ perspectives. I know you are very involved, and passionate, about the Cedar Hill / Bowker ecosystem. You’ve provided additional helpful information and insights. All things connect!

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