In honour of McBroom’s win for Best New Course in the annual Golf Digest awards this week, this week’s Top 10 list is a roundup of Tom’s best with quick comments. One has to wonder whether his next courses (Tobiano, Memphremagog) will eclipse his current work. (ed note: I reworked the listing after it was pointed out that I had overlooked Heron Point — clearly one of McBroom’s best. Glencairn now gets honorary mention.)
10. Firerock — To some, a minor McBroom effort. But with an intriguing piece of property that ranges from bad to great, the course gets better every time its played.
9. Wildfire — it hasn’t been a success as a private club, but this was a success as a golf course. Subtle and smart and fun to play.
8. Lake Joseph Club — The first of McBroom’s solo cracks at Muskoka is the most akin to Golden Era architecture. An interesting mix of modern holes and those with blind shots, it is a love it or hate it affair.
7. Bell Bay — Its best hole is its 17th, but there’s plenty to keep a player involved until then. Interesting for McBroom’s tendency to have fairways fall with the grade of the land.
6. Heron Point — an early McBroom design that uses its property well. The best holes are also the most heroic – namely the 9th and 18th.
5. Ridge at Manitou — solid without ever being exceptional. The best holes are finished by the 14th, and the closer, while pretty, is too short to be considered anything but a long par four. A failure as a business to date, the course has still received numerous accolades.
4. Rocky Crest — One has to wonder whether this course will be held in as high esteem in 20 years as it is now. Some great holes overshadowed by many average ones.
3. The Raven at Lora Bay — a collaboration with Tom Lehman, McBroom elevates his bunker style and created a fascinating routing.
2. Crowbush Cove — the course that put McBroom on the map, Crowbush Cove still has one of the most intriguing pieces of property McBroom has worked with to date. Now imagine if he’d been able to work more toward the seashore…
1. Oviinbyrd — One hardly anyone has seen, but sporty and smart, with an intriguing mix of hole, the best of which (like #2, #12, #13, and #14) are as strong as anything McBroom has done in his career. The course holds together nicely, making for a consistent experience. Its only clear flaw is the average closing hole.