The more I play design Doug Carrick’s Ridge Course at Predator Ridge, the more I’m convinced it might well be the designer’s best work. It is a great deal of fun to play, it has enough challenge to be intriguing and the vistas are stunning. And yes, the final holes are lifted from Les Furber’s earlier work and may not have the same visual appeal, but they are strong closing holes.
At the very least the course ranks up there with Carrick’s finest — Humber Valley in Newfoundland, Osprey Valley’s Wasteland course, Eagles Nest, Muskoka Bay and Bigwin Island. I like the fact that it has plunging fairways and really doesn’t look shaped — even with it is. He judiciously used bunkering, picking his spots and not overlaying it with too many sandy hazards. And yes, there are a lot of holes that benefit from the fact you drive up to high points to hit downhill tee shots, but nonetheless those holes are solid. In fact, until you get to the slightly awkward 16th — part of Les Furber’s routing that Carrick reworked — there’s nothing weak on the course, though I’d note you may not need to pound drivers off the tee to be successful. The course does reward a degree of finesse — and the greens are large, subtle and receptive.
There’s also little doubt that when it comes to amenities, accommodations, and two golf courses that are highly regarded, Predator is also the premier golf resort in the country. Yes, the Ridge course is an impossible walk, and Furber’s course would be a tough slog, but with fewer people walking, I often wonder if that’s even an issue.
I’ve made five or six visits to Predator over the last decade — I love the feel of the place, the service, and the clubhouse. This afternoon I chatted with both former LPGA player AJ Eathorne and PGA Tour winner Dick Zokol, both of whom hang their hats at Predator. Zokol is sort of a roving ambassador for the resort, while Eathorne leads the “Swing like a girl” instruction program that has really resonated with guests. It is easy to understand why — Eathorne is a delight and fun to talk with.
Tonight I had the opportunity to sneak in almost all 18 holes at the Ridge Course as the sun went down. And with the sun in the sky and the wind down, it was hard to imagine it isn’t one of the top golf experiences in Canada.