These public Canadian courses are the best there is, each unique in its own right — serene, unusual, remote, championship and beyond. Tee up and tell the tale.
At press time, restrictions on travel as a result of COVID-19 were still in flux. So we’re sharing the travel stories in this issue as inspiration so you can dream now and travel later.
Cabot Cliffs & Cabot Links, Inverness, Cape Breton
Claim to fame: Best in show Here between the Atlantic Ocean and the charming town of Inverness, visitors tee up for extraordinary golfing. Considered two of the best courses in Canada, they also enjoy world-class status, due to challenging holes paired with the East Coast’s stunning natural beauty. Carved out of the landscape, the Cliffs sports panoramic views, its rolling fairways designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. At the Links, which was designed by Rod Whitman, every hole has an ocean view, with five holes right next to the beach. A new, short 10-hole course called The Nest sits at the very top of Cabot Cliffs.
Cliffs stats: 18 holes, par 72, 6,186 metres, slope 144
Links stats: 18 holes, par 70, 6,267 metres, slope 132
Extracurricular: Canada’s number-one island has lots to see and do. If you ever tire of the Cabot Resort (which you won’t), you can hike, fish, kayak, even square dance. But be sure to experience whisky tastings, lobster boils and live local music, too.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper
Claim to fame: The majesty of Old Man Mountain With spectacular, jaw-dropping scenery to the point, you’ll be hard-pressed to keep your mind on your swing. The view from the second tee is particularly arresting. The beautiful, expansive and in some spots unconventional design by Stanley Thompson is well known for being both fun and challenging — an elusive combination.
Stats: 18 holes, par 71, 6,093 metres, slope 130
Extracurricular: Guided fly fishing and whitewater rafting, mountain biking and horseback riding, glacier walks and icefield helicopter tours — there’s lots to do here. The Fairmont also has a sumptuous spa, a boathouse full of paddling gear and its own planetarium — Jasper National Park is the world’s largest accessible dark-sky preserve.
Muskoka Bay Resort, Gravenhurst
Claim to fame: The amazing clubhouse Ninety minutes north of Toronto, this championship course set in the Canadian Shield is an architectural masterpiece of rugged rock and marshland. Like a fine wine, it has a stimulating start, gets more complex in the back half and finishes with gusto. Golfers enjoy natural views and changes in elevation, punctuated with rocky outcroppings and wetlands. Keep an eye out for beaver — how Canadian can you get?
Stats: 18 holes, par 72, 6,736 metres, slope 146
Extracurricular: The resort itself has plenty of luxe amenities: a full spa, tennis courts and an infinity pool, not to mention firepits and fine dining. Visitors can also hop on a steamship or take in the opera in Gravenhurst, count the stars at Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve or hike the Hardy Lake Trail.
Le Diable, Mont Tremblant
Claim to fame: Vexation!
Two things: 1. Tremblant is not just a ski resort. 2. They don’t call the golf course The Devil for nothing. Expect a ton of unexpected surprises at this playful course, one of several in the Mont Tremblant area. Designed more than 20 years ago by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry with trademark red-sand bunkers, large greens and long, narrow fairways, Le Diable will challenge your skills in intriguing ways.
Stats: 18 holes, par 71, 7,452 metres, slope 135
Extracurricular: Exhilarating activities abound on the mountain with hiking and mountain biking, and on the lakes with paddling and boat cruises. There’s also a 12-kilometre paved cycling path that’s great for walking and in-line skating. Pop into the casino for a game of chance or dive into sensory forest experience Tonga Lumina for a magical trail of light and sound.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
The Links at Crowbush Cove, Morell
Claim to fame: The terrific value Undulating rolling fairways, pot bunkers and challenging multitiered greens all come together here for a golf experience with a view of Prince Edward Island’s north shore dunes. Designed by Thomas McBroom, Crowbush Cove is popular with locals and visitors alike, who tee up for the nice layout and variety of hole lengths — and the great value for your green fee.
Stats: 18 holes, par 72, 6,312 metres, slope 146
Extracurricular: On the north shore, Prince Edward Island National Park sports an interpretation centre to discover the area before heading to Greenwich Beach for the sand and surf. Lakeside Circle T Trail Rides can take you horseback riding around the region, or you can head over to St. Peters Harbour Lighthouse for a heritage hit.
The Algonquin, St. Andrews by-the-Sea
Claim to fame: New and improved Established in 1894, reworked in the 1920s and renovated recently by Rod Whitman, this historic course has been elevated once again to national star status. Adjacent to Passamaquoddy Bay, it sports breathtaking ocean vistas, excellent putting surfaces and bunkers in tune with the natural surroundings.
Stats: 19 holes, par 72, 6,524 metres, slope 131
Extracurricular: Canada’s oldest seaside resort village is an 18th-century settlement and a bit of an icon. Visitors go whale-watching, take a kayak tour, explore the historic houses on Ministers Island, wander through Kingsbrae Garden or simply relax at Katy’s Cove Beach. The elegant Algonquin Resort itself is a Marriott with a wonderful spa.
Greywolf, Panorama Mountain Resort
Claim to fame: The Cliffhanger — the dizzying sixth hole There’s little wonder they call it Panorama. This dramatic course at the base of the expansive Panorama ski resort in the Purcell Mountains of southeastern B.C. has ample alpine appeal and is exquisitely sculpted, with changes in elevation to keep golfers on their toes. The monumental view from the clifftop hole, described by the club as “diabolical,” is well worth the price of admission. The course was designed by Doug Carrick, one of Canada’s top architects.
Stats: 18 holes, par 72, 6,529 metres, slope 144
Extracurricular: Hike the mountainside or the Monument Trail Network, or simply take the chairlift up the 1,600 metres for a good look around. Nearby Toby Creek Adventures can set you up with an ATV or UTV thrill-ride tour, and the same goes for Kootenay River Runners’ whitewater rafting.