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Overview and comments: Angus Glen North Renovation

I had the chance to tour Angus Glen North, the Doug Carrick/Jay Morrish course that has been significantly altered by PGA Tour pro Davis Love III in preparation for the Canadian Open. The course has been closed all spring, and it isn’t hard to see why. Apparently the course will reopen next week with large areas out of play and several par fours playing as par threes. Head pro Wil Koopmans says the public will accept the changes to the course since it is being done for the Canadian Open. We’ll see…

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The first hole at Angus Glen has seen its large fairway significantly altered and regraded so the players can now see their ball land.

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One of the holes with the most significant alterations, the second at Angus Glen North has seen its fairway recontoured and pushed dramatically to the left.

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Once a drive and a chip, the third hole has seen more than 50 yards added the back, and the fairway shifted to the right. It is an impressive change and one that made an average, or worse, hole better.

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I’m still not sure what’s going on with this hole. Once wide as a football field off the tee, with cross bunkering that was rarely in play for anything but the most badly hit shots, the fifth has been fundamentally altered. I’m not sure I entirely understand the changes, which included some artificial mounding on the right and a new bunker.

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The sixth, which featured a blind tee shot, used to have a target bunker about 200 yards off the tee. That’s gone now, as is half the fairway. But like every hole at Angus, Love’s crew left the green alone.

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The 10th, in my estimation one of the best holes on the course and one of the few that worked in the “links” style envisioned by Carrick and Morrish, is now less 40 yards of fairway on the right side and bunkers have been removed to compensate.

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Possibly the most notable change on the course, the short 12th, with its cross bunkers down the right and options off the tee (flirt with the bunkers? Play left of them?) has been now made a beast of a hole with the tees going back 40 yards and to the left along the pond.

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The 15th once again, like most of the holes in the renovation, sees its fairway halved and new bunkers added in the landing area. Vijay Singh apparently called this hole a par four, though it played as a par five. With new tees, the pros in 2007 will still get to the green easily, but it’ll be toughened up slightly, including the addition of a new tee box.

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What’s that you say? Oh yes — less fairway on 16 as well.

Overall: The impression I’m left is that a lot of money is being spent to make changes to a course that was a mixed bag and badly received from the start. The use of mixed bunker styles by Carrick and Morrish meant the course felt schizophrenic. I’m not sure the work by Love’s group has altered that, but the course does feel a bit more cohesive and fairways that were once wide as a football field have been altered to add some definition. That said, it is a lot of money and time spent on a course that still might not be tested by the top pros in the Canadian Open next year.

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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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