FORE Where to tee it up from coast to coast in Canada
FORE Where to tee it up from coast to coast in Canada
"Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated," Arnold Palmer once remarked. "It satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening—and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind ever invented." Canadians love their golf; one in five plays the game. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, you will have no problem finding award-winning challenges.
TOWER RANCH, KELOWNA, BC
Just minutes from downtown Kelowna, Tower Ranch, opened in 2009, made the SCORE Golf Top 100 list in 2014. Canadian architect Thomas Broom transformed a cattle ranch into a rugged gem covered in golden fescue and fragrant wild sage. Plenty of bunkers, including numerous deep ones fringed with wild grasses, are a McBroom trademark. I’ve been in enough of them to give them my own nickname—“McBrunkers.”
THE FAIRMONT BANFF SPRINGS GOLF COURSE, BANFF, AL
In 1928, Stanley Thompson was hired to design the Banff Springs Golf Course in Alberta’s Rockies. Banff held the distinction of being the first track on the planet to cost more than one million dollars to construct. Thompson’s genius was in refusing to impose a course on its setting. Indeed, it’s hard to concentrate on your swing with snow-frosted mountain peaks, azure glacier lakes and elk, bear and geese that have the right of way. Devil’s Cauldron, the par-three fourth hole best exemplifies Thompson’s mastery of design. Emerging from a pine forest onto elevated tees, one must carry the ball over a boulder-filled glacial lake against a backdrop of mountain peaks.
ELK RIDGE, WASKESIU LAKE, SK
Elk Ridge Resort situated at the doorstep of the renowned Prince Albert National Park, reigns as one of Saskatchewan’s premier resort destinations. The three nines (Aspen, Birch and Tamarack, named after indigenous trees) are cut into a hilly boreal forest. You might find yourself sharing the tee box with an elk or chasing a fox that has trotted off with your ball.
COBBLE BEACH, OWEN SOUND, ON
At Cobble Beach, Toronto-based golf course architect Doug Carrick has created a rugged masterpiece that meanders around the shoreline and bluffs of Georgian Bay, with views of the water from every hole. Small pot bunkers, closely mown chipping areas and hollows surrounding the greens provide the fast-running, bump-and-run characteristics typical of the great links courses of the British Isles.
LE DIABLE, MONT-TREMBLANT, QC
At Le Diable American architects Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry designed long fairways meandering through a red-pine forest on the front nine. Numerous waste bunkers and 44 fiery red sand traps make you feel a bit like a Japanese Zen gardener. If you can make it to the ninth without landing in one of the multitude of waste bunkers and regular sand traps, you must be having a devilishly good round. I think the back nine is the most spectacular, especially Oh Boy (number 14), where your drive must cross an enormous ravine, and Gray Rocks (number 15), with a superb view of sparkling Lac Ouimet.
ROYAL OAKS GOLF CLUB, MONCTON, NB
At Royal Oaks architect Rees Jones, son of the legendary architect, Robert Trent Jones, has converted a horse ranch into a golf course unlike any other in the Maritimes. With numerous bunkers and rolling fescue-covered berms, he describes it as a links-style course without the ocean. Rees declined to pick a signature hole; every one is memorable. It’s the kind of tract you’ll want to play over and over, no matter how high or low your handicap. Royal Oaks also features an award-winning practice facility and academy.
CABOT CLIFF, INVERNESS, CAPE BRETON, NS
When Cabot Links opened in 2012 it caused a sensation in the golf world as Canada’s first and only true links course. Last summer, the folks who own Cabot Links opened Cabot Cliffs by the acclaimed design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Global Golf Post described it as reminiscent of “Pebble Beach on steroids.” The official opening is summer 2016. Fairways tumble and twist down from a forested glade high above the sea. They meander up and over dunes, cross meadows and ravines and skirt ragged cliffs. There’s an empathetic harmony between the golf course design and the rollicking terrain—an ebb and flow with endless sea views. And although there’s no lack of WOW factor, a romp over Cabot Cliffs feels natural. There’s a rhyme, a reason and a natural rhythm to this masterpiece. If Cabot Cliffs isn’t ranked the number one course in Canada, if not North America, I’ll eat my putter.
THE LINKS AT BRUNELLO, TIMBERLEA, NS
At the new (opened June 15/15) Links at Brunello, fifteen minutes from downtown Halifax, I discovered not only a fabulous new courses designed by Canadian architect Thomas McBroom, but also some smart marketing ideas designed to make the game fun and affordable for all ages and handicaps. If you don’t have time to play nine or 18 holes you can just play and pay by the hole. They also have great programs for kids including “4 Fun” tees for beginners. The course winds its way through stands of pines and over wetlands and rocky outcroppings. Big greens, wide fairways and only 38 bunkers are all part of the plan to make golf at Brunello fun, fast and playable. Golf as it was meant to be played
DUNDARAVE RIVER GOLF COURSE, GEORGETOWN ROYALTY, PEI
At the Brudenell Resort, Dundarave, designed by the award-winning team of Dr. Michael Hurzdan and Dana Fry, is the ideal course to hone your target skills or practice your sand wedge in its multiple bunkers. The course is deftly carved through forests so dense that at no point on the course can you see another hole. One of Dundarave's most memorable risk/reward moments is the par-four eighth, requiring a tee shot over a tidal marsh and an accurate second shot to the green as there is no wiggle room and only water at the back of it.
THE WILDS, HOLYROOD, NL
Aptly named, The Wilds, designed by Robert Heaslip, is a swath of giddying golf playing up, down, over and through mighty rock outcroppings, stands of fir and spruce, ponds and rivers. It’s arguably the toughest test of golf in Newfoundland. Number 18 has to be one of Canada’s best finishing holes. The gushing sound of a waterfall is a tad distracting at the tee of the 508-yard, par-five. You must fly your ball over a gorge to a landing pad and then cross the Salmonier River to get to the green.
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You will visit the following 11 places:
Kelowna is a city in the south of Canada’s British Columbia province. Serves as the head office of the Regional District of Central Okanagan, its name derives from an Okanagan language term for "grizzly bear". It’s in the Okanagan Valley, on the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake, surrounded by provincial parks, pine forest, vineyards, orchards and mountains.
Halifax, legally known as the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), is the capital of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is a major economic centre in Atlantic Canada with a large concentration of government services and private sector companies. Major employers and economic generators include the Department of National Defence, Dalhousie University,Saint Mary's University, the Halifax Shipyard, various levels of government, and the Port of Halifax. Agriculture, fishing, mining, forestry and natural gas extraction are major resource industries found in the rural areas of the municipality. Halifax was ranked as the fourth best place to live in Canada for 2012, placed first on a list of "large cities by quality of life" and placed second in a list of "large cities of the future''. Additionally, Halifax has consistently placed in the top 10 for business friendliness of North and South American cities. Waterfront warehouses known as the Historic Properties recall Halifax’s days as a trading hub for privateers, notably during the War of 1812.
Toronto, a prominent centre for music, theatre, motion picture production, television production, is home to the headquarters of Canada's major national broadcast networks and media outlets. Its varied cultural institutions, which include numerous museums, festivals and public events, entertainment districts, national historic sites, and sports activities, are key attractions to the over 25 million tourists that visit the city every year. Toronto is well known for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, in particular the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, the CN Tower. As Canada's commercial capital, the city is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange, the headquarters of Canada's five largest banks, and the headquarters of many large Canadian and multinational corporations. Its economy is highly diversified with strengths in technology, design, financial services, life sciences, education, arts, fashion, business services, environmental innovation, food services, and tourism. Toronto is placed among the Global Leaders in the Global Financial Centres Index, and is also consistently rated as one of the world's most liveable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.
Saskatchewan is a prairie and boreal province in west-central Canada, the only province with entirely man-made borders. It is a landlocked province with large distances to moderating bodies of waters. As a result, its climate is extremely continental, rendering severe winters all throughout the province. Southern areas have very warm or hot summers. Saskatchewan has been inhabited for thousands of years by various indigenous groups, and first explored by Europeans in 1690 and settled in 1774. It became a province in 1905, and in the early 20th century the province became known as a stronghold for Canadian democratic socialism; North America's first social-democratic government was elected in 1944.
The Town of Banff was the first municipality to incorporate within a Canadian national park. The town is a member of the Calgary Regional Partnership. Banff is a resort town and one of Canada's most popular tourist destinations, known for its mountainous surroundings and hot springs. It is a destination for outdoor sports and features extensive hiking, biking, scrambling and skiing areas within the area. Sunshine Village, Ski Norquay and Lake Louise Mountain Resort are the three nearby ski resorts located within the national park
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island (or PEI) is one of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. It is Canada's only island province. It is the smallest province by both area and population, but is also the most densely populated province. "The Island", as locals call it, is well known for its beautiful sandy beaches and dunes. It is also the home of the gregarious Anne Shirley from Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic Anne of Green Gables. It became the "Cradle of Confederation" after the Fathers of Confederation met there in 1864 to discuss the possible union of five British North American colonies. Canada was formed three years later in 1867.
Owen Sound, the county seat of Grey County, is a city in Southern (Southwestern) Ontario, Canada. Owen Sound is located at the mouths of the Pottawatomi and Sydenham Rivers on an inlet of Georgian Bay.
Moncton is a Canadian city located in Westmorland County, New Brunswick. The city is situated in southeastern New Brunswick, within the Petitcodiac River Valley, and lies at the geographic centre of the Maritime Provinces. The community has gained the nickname "Hub City" because of its central location and also because Moncton has historically been the railway and land transportation hub for the Maritime Provinces. Moncton, with a 2006 metropolitan population of 126,424, is the most populous census metropolitan area (CMA) in New Brunswick. It is the second largest CMA in the Maritime Provinces, after Halifax, and the third largest in the Atlantic Provinces following Halifax and St. John's.
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It is part of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. Located east-northeast of the mainland with its northern and western coasts fronting on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, it supports a vibrant, but seasonal tourist industry with a mix of cultural and historical attractions. One of the world's larger salt water lakes, Bras d'Or ("Arm of Gold" in French), dominates the centre of the island.