Stephen Ames was in Toronto for the Score Awards (despite being a contributor and a columnist, my invite must have gotten lost in the mail) this past week, and apparently he found the course that should be hosting the Canadian Open: Eagles Nest GC. At least that’s what he told Lorne Rubenstein.
Ames praised the Doug Carrick-designed course start to finish. There was something ironic about this, given that Davis Love III was nearby at the Angus Glen Golf Club’s North course in Markham, where he reviewed changes he had made to that Carrick course for July’s Canadian Open.
“This is good design,” Ames said. “I missed left and had that [treacherous] putt. Imagine if the green was as fast as it would be in a tournament. You pay the penalty for playing away from the flag.”
Ames was referring to the fact that the hole was put on the right side of the green, beyond a massive waste bunker below. He’d taken the bunker out of play with his approach to the left.
“But if you want to go at the hole, you have to take on that stuff,” Ames said of the fearsome bunker. “You don’t want to go there.”
Could the course hold a Canadian Open? Absolutely, Ames said, although he suggested a few places where cross-bunkers could be removed and a tee added. As for the final hole, a 484-yard par four with water down the right side, Ames pronounced it the strongest on the course. He hit a “little” 5-iron from 200 yards that finished 25 feet behind the hole.
“You have to shape your ball off the tees and into the greens,” Ames said, “and use your imagination around the greens,” because of the fall-offs into chipping and pitching areas. “It’s a good test. It’s a great test.”
It isn’t clear whether Eagles Nest would have enough room to host the event — I can’t picture where the corporate tents would go, for instance. But the course itself would not have a problem being a test for the best in the world. Similarly, Bill Paul, Canadian Open tournament director, investigated Coppinwood as an option and really liked the possibilities of the golf course.
Rube’s story is here.