I was going to do a list of the Top 10 Graham Cooke courses, but I’ve come to the realization that I simply haven’t played enough to make that distinction. I haven’t played any of his work in Quebec, for example, and only a handful in Atlantic Canada and Western Canada. I can say that his work to date has only impressed me on a couple of occasions — Dakota Dunes, Willow Valley and Hunters Pointe — but I can’t really say much more than that. Somehow, to me, he seems a distant third to the work of Carrick and McBroom, but that’s only based on what I’ve seen.
Certainly many feel strongly about some of his work — including Glen Arbour near Halifax and Fox Harb’r near Tatamagouche, NS. Maybe because of the dominance of Doug Carrick and Thomas McBroom in Ontario, Cooke has done relatively little work in the province.
Here’s the best of what I’ve played, in no order:
[photopress:dakotaresized_1.jpg,full,alignleft]Of the list, the best was likely Dakota Dunes. Though I find some aspects of the course perplexing, I think overall it is a strong design. It should be noted the course was created by Cooke and partner Wayne Carleton. I found Oslerbrook to be a mixture — the front nine has strong elements, while I thought the back nine was a wipe out. Hunters Pointe is very consistent and a lot of fun to play — but I don’t see it among the best in the country.
In fact, I guess my peers agree — according to Score Golf, the top ranked Cooke design in 2006 was Glen Arbor at 24. McBroom has a couple ahead of that, Carrick has one, and both of Rod Whitman’s designs in Canada are also ahead.
I’ll follow this up next week with a list of the Top 10 courses by living architects working in Canada — sort of a Best of Modern Courses selection.