Whistler/ Pemberton Golf season in full swing

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Golf and bears pair up at Fairmont Chateau Whistler resort

Bear at Fairmont Chateau Whistler golf course

Bear on golf courseGolfers at a Whistler, B.C. hotel and resort may hear "roar" instead of "fore" during their time on the links thanks to a few furry visitors.

Golf and bears are piquing the interest of tourists at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

The resort's golf course has been repeatedly visited -- and vandalized -- by a number of roaming bears since the golf season opened earlier this month, but bear sightings are fairly common for the area.

Lynn Gervais, spokeswoman for the resort, said the damage has been minor, with a few flag poles on the course's green broken by playful bear cubs.

"For some reason, they are captivated by those flags," Gervais said. "They're little kids and they like to play with them.

"They're black bears, they're herbivores," she added. "They really can't be bothered by humans, but we caution our guests before they go out to keep their distance and they respect that. The bears aren't a threat by any means."

Gervais said seven or eight different bears have been spotted on the course since it opened on May 7, adding golfers are almost guaranteed to see one of the massive animals during an 18-hole game.

She said a number of the bears must certainly be familiar with the area, having been spotted many times before.

"Whistler is known for having quite a large bear population and several of the bears have been around for many years," Gervais said.

"We're very familiar with them, but there's just been a lot of sightings on the golf course this year."

Gervais said the bears have not had a noticeable impact on the flow of business at the resort -- for better or worse.

She said, however, when people travel from all over the world to Whistler and get to see the large animals, in addition to the attractions that brought them to the region in the first place, it's icing on the cake.

"We haven't seen a jump in business from the bears, but they definitely enhance the guest experience," she said. "It's incredible to see the look on our guests' faces when they see bears, particularly our international guests."