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Canada’s best par 5s: The experts weigh in

It wasn’t hard for our panel to find great three-shot holes scattered across Canada, and there was some general agreement on a couple of truly genius designs, namely Stanley Thompson’s incredible 7th (Killiecrankie) at Highlands Links, as well as the 15th (interestingly, the 6th hole is often considered among the Top 500 in the world as well) and the closing hole at the majestic Capilano G&CC in Vancouver. But that doesn’t mean the opinion is limited. Other holes getting love include the 11th at Devil’s Paintbrush, the 14th at Summit, 5th at Elmhurst, 12th at the National, and the 7th at Banff.

Here’s our list of top par fours.

Here’s our list of top par threes.

One of Canada's great closing holes, the finishing par 5 at Capilano is epic in every regard.

One of Canada’s great closing holes, the finishing par 5 at Capilano is epic in every regard.

#18 at Capilano (Young, Andrew, Thompson, McKay, John W., Cutten, Mingay)

If you could paint a golf hole on a canvas with only your imagination to

guide you the 18th and final hole at British Columbia’s mighty Capilano,

Whamultchasum might well end up your finished product. In my opinion this is an

Artist’s rendition of the perfect Par-5.

  • Rick Young
The 7th hole at Highlands Links was George Knudson's favourite par 5 in the world.

The 7th hole at Highlands Links was George Knudson’s favourite par 5 in the world.

7th at Highlands Links (John W., Mingay, Thompson, Young, McKay, John W. Dykeman) 

Really hard to pick just one hole at Highlands, but this might be as good as it gets in Canada for the combination of aesthetics, drama, strategy and challenge for three consecutive shots. Its name of Killiecrankie is Gaelic for “long, narrow pass,” and that’s what this hardwood-framed alley feels like until you’ve holed out.

-Ted McIntyre

The quintessential closing hole, rambling alongside Capilano’s stately clubhouse. This is pure genius by Stanley Thompson in devising a hole that is arguably the course’s best, and having it as the home hole in the routing. It immediately makes you want to return to the first tee and play the course again, if only to get to try the closer one more time.

  • Robert Thompson
The restored 15th with its spectacular downhill approach.

The restored 15th with its spectacular downhill approach.

15th at Highlands Links (Andrew, Cutten)

 Nothing more fun than a rumply rollercoaster of a hole punctuated by fantastic Thompson bunkers and view of the ocean beyond.

  • Ian Andrew

 

The 15th at Cabot Cliffs is one of the most dramatic par 5s anywhere.

The 15th at Cabot Cliffs is one of the most dramatic par 5s anywhere.

15th at Cabot Cliffs (Johns, Thompson)

 

Leave it to Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to create one of the most interesting tee shots I have seen on a par 5 in Canada.  The wider right-side of the fairway creates a blind approach, but a perfectly placed right-to-left second shot can find one of several kicker slopes and its way around the central bunker and onto the green.  The aggressive golfer can play for the well defended upper plateau, where she/he will be rewarded with one of the best second shots in golf.    

  • Keith Cutten
The 15th at Blackhawk is a great hole on a course with several standouts.

The 15th at Blackhawk is a great hole on a course with several standouts.

15th at Blackhawk (Mingay, John W.)

Draped over a nice piece of ground in a beautiful setting, there’s so much latitude at this hole, something really different happens every time I play it. It’s a hole that presents its challenges the way great holes do – using terrain and angles rather than superfluous, manmade hazards.

  • Jeff Mingay

 

 

 

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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