Golfweek — Paintbrush, St. George's tops in Canada

The third hole at Devil’s Paintbrush. Best in Canada?

I’m not sure it gets much notice here, but Golfweek, which ranks pretty much everything (Players! College players! Courses! Campus Courses! Caddies!) has come out with its second ranking of Canadian courses. It is split into modern and classic, and there are some surprises:


1. Devil’s Paintbrush

Caledon, Ontario

1992, Dana Fry, Michael Hurdzan, 7.75

2. Cabot Links

Inverness, Nova Scotia

2012, Rod Whitman, 7.54

3. The National GC of Canada

Woodbridge, Ontario

1975, George Fazio, Tom Fazio, 7.52

4. Sagebrush Golf & Sporting Club

Quilchena, British Columbia

2010, Rod Whitman, Richard Zokol, Armen Suny, 7.48

5. Beacon Hall

Aurora, Ontario

1988, Bob Cupp, Thomas McBroom, 7.37

Interesting to see that the National GC isn’t ranked particularly high in Golfweek’s list — it wouldn’t crack the Top 5 once classic courses are factored in — and it is also intriguing to see Cabot Links rank behind a fake links — Devil’s Paintbrush. Devil’s Paintbrush would rank No. 4 overall, btw, which puts Cabot outside of the Top 5 on the Golfweek list. Nice to see Sagebrush continue to get some love. It deserves it, even after all the turmoil there in recent years.
Other than that, Fox Harb’r cracks the list, which is startling, since I don’t think it is the fifth best course in Nova Scotia, and Osprey Valley’s Hoot course gets a  lot of love — while on Canadian lists it usually ranks second of the three courses at Osprey Valley. And Deerhurst Highlands ahead of Oviinbyrd? One is in need of a facelift while the other is arguably the best in Muskoka. Also surprised at the lack of love for Muskoka Bay.
Now for the classic list:

Jasper Park Lodge — one of Canada’s finest golf courses.


1. Jasper Park Lodge

Jasper, Alberta

1925, Stanley Thompson, 8.00


2. St. George’s

Islington, Ontario

1928, Stanley Thompson, 7.95


3. Banff Springs

Banff, Alberta

1928, Stanley Thompson, 7.81


4. Capilano

West Vancouver, British Columbia

1937, Stanley Thompson, 7.49


5. Hamilton (West & South Nines)

Ancaster, Ontario

1914, Harry S. Colt, 7.31

This one seems sensible enough, though I find the disappearance of Highlands Links perplexing, especially since it hosted one of Golfweek’s raters boondoggles last year. It came in at No. 7. Interesting to see Jasper rise — a great course for sure, though conditioning was tough for much of last year, which is surely also the knock against Highlands, which was in better shape than its mountain counterpart in 2012 (at least on my visit). And it is nice to see some affection for Lookout Point, Mount Bruno, Scarboro and Rosedale — but at what point do we admit Royal Montreal’s Blue Course — or Lambton, for that matter — are not “classics,” but completely renovated modern designs (there are several similar courses on the list). And Radium Springs can’t be done by Les Furber in 1958 — Les would have been 10. So it too is a re-do.

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Jeff Lancaster

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Do we know who was in the group of rankers? It cerainly is a curious list.

    Do Lambton, St Andrews by the Sea and Royal Montreal really belong on the classic list given their substantial renos in recent years?

    The Toronto Terror wins the ODG competition with all of the top four courses and six of the top 10. If that Colt guy would have stayed home in England he would have the top six.

    Redtail is behind Taboo, Fox Harb’r and Crowbush???

    Thornhill at #17 on the classics, ahead of Weston, St. Thomas, etc.???

    Just eyeballing the lists this course seems to have less geographic diversification than Score – in other words there are more Ontario courses in the top.

    Not unlike the Score rankings there is no love for Ottawa courses.

  • Instead of your continually negative comments regarding Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa, I suggest you come and visit the resort again and see why those that play the course continue to rate it so highly!

    James Miller
    Resort General Manager
    Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa

  • Robert, two interesting lists! I think they were better (easier) with their Top 40 Classic courses, although I disagree with their order, prefer just a Top 40. They tried to appease the whole country, but even our politicians can’t do that correctly. I agree with Wayne, Thornhill is not as good as Weston and St. Thomas. And they really missed Highland Links, a TOP 5 course for sure.

    Their Modern Top 40 wasn’t even a good start! Maybe Paintbrush is as top 5 but only after the National is #1 and Sagebrush and Beacon Hall are relocated further down the list. I’m OK with Fox Harbour, I’ve only had good to great reports. Mad River is better than many top 25 courses, nice to see it on a list. But London Hunt being 40th is wrong, much better than most, should be top 25 on an international list of Canadian courses.

  • Until such time as ALL the golf magazines provide transparency on their respective processes, there is of little value to the various rating results. We the gofers/readers need to know they’re not comparing apples and oranges. What one publication may view as important component to a great course could be dismissed by another. Only by disclosing to the readers their rating criteria, and who is doing the ratings, will we the golfers know which magazine’s ratings to adhere to. Based on GW’s latest I can safely say their criterion is unlike any others. It is the only way to explain some of the bizarre results produced. Or perhaps they do it intentionally to spark controversy and thus sell more copies. Either way, GW’s results are really questionable.

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