The Montane Club - Fernie, BC

We were hired in 2014 to create a plan and budget for a proposed course in Fernie, BC. Unfortunately, the developer decided to go in a non-golf direction with the land, but our accompanying plan and concept are indicative of our approach to the design and budgeting process. The same site, which had tremendous potential, had been considered for golf for nearly a decade prior to our involvement with the project. In fact, our budget was 1/5 the amount that a well-known Signature designer estimated for construction on the same site!

Our concept for the The Montane Club can be summed up as follows:

“The Montane Club will embody the timeless characteristics of great golf courses. Strategic decision making, the mental test of the game, firm and fast conditions, and uniquely artistic construction methods will combine to create an uncommon and sublime playing experience. Borrowing its name from a branch of ecology that studies mountainous regions, the course explores the natural wonders that exist throughout the alpine property as it weaves downhill, across streams, through meadows, into forests, and along elevated bluffs.”

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

This month’s Feature Interview with Rob Collins tackles the age old question: if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

By that, I mean how do you credit an architectural firm that conceives an AWESOME design on spectacular land only to see the developer go in a different, non-golf direction? I first met Rob face-to-face this past February after his round at No.2. At that time, he showed me photos and drawings for a golf course outside Fernie, British Columbia. It had all those hallmarks that Lorne Smith of FineGolf would categorize as a very high ‘joy to be alive’ quality: shared fairways, huge central bunkering, a zig-zagging stream, minimal rough, and vistas of the snow-capped Canadian Rockies. Very tasty – a modern Jasper Park! However, the developer opted to go the home/park route and golf was scrubbed. What credit will King-Collins ever receive for such an unrequited effort? Essentially none. That’s why I promptly invited them for a Feature Interview and I believe that this firm is capable of grand things, well beyond the same old fare.

Ran Morrissett
Ran Morrissett