The Rise Opens in Vernon, B.C.

The Golf Club at The Rise, a Fred Couples Signature Golf Course, has opened to the public. PGA Tour veteran Fred Couples helped unveil Okanagan's newest layout with a "Freddy and Friends' Course Dedication." A self-described hockey fan, Couples played the opening round at The Rise with Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla; Boston Bruin Chuck Kobasew; and former NHL'ers Brent Gilchrist and Jeff Finley.

Couples conducted a golf clinic for media and invited guests and then hit the first ceremonial drive before playing the exhibition round. Wearing a wireless microphone, Couples provided commentary on each hole through a mobile loudspeaker for the crowd of 150 following the players around the course.

"The lake views up here are so incredible. I have such a passion for golf that we really wanted to take our time and build a course that is as stunning as its location," Couples said, "It's exciting now that it's open because I know golfers from all over will want to get up here and experience it for themselves."

Walking the course with Couples was architect Gene Bates, who assisted "Boom-Boom" in the design. Construction on the 18-hole course was handled by BMR Golf, whose credits also include Greywolf at Panorama Mountain Resort and The Dunes in Kamloops, both in British Columbia.

"The course has turned out even better than we could have dreamed. It is a beautiful addition to the community we are building here at The Rise and a wonderful expansion of the recreation opportunities in Vernon," says Leona Snider, the president and CEO of The Rise.

Speaking at the dedication, Iginla said of the course, "The views are amazing and it looks like it's in mint condition. It's a course that I'll look forward to coming back to."

"Freddy's Friends" are no strangers to the Okanagan as Iginla once played for the Kelowna Rockets, currently coached by Jeff Finley. Kobasew is a native of Osoyoos, while Gilchrist is a Vernon resident.

For more information or tee times, call 250/545-7425 or email Green fees during peak hours are $115, including cart, and twilight tee times are $65.