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Top Six Canadian Courses That Should Be Restored

Following yesterday’s post on restoration, here’s a list of courses that in my opinion would be better if restored:

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1) Hamilton G & CC.
One of the best courses in Canada, this beautys fairway lines should be extended to their previous widths, and bunkers and greens should be reestablished. This is a great course that has been tinkered with “ and since the club has the original greens drawings, there would be no problem putting it back to match Harry Colts vision.

2) Banff Springs
It may be hard for some to imagine, but at one point this was the best course in Canada, and it was the most expensive course ever built when it opened. Whats happened? It has been tinkered with, the routing has been altered and bunkers are in awful shape and not accurate to their roots. Fairmont has a jewel here, but the luster has been lost. Itll be costly to fix, but the upside would be renewed interest in the facility and justification for a green fee of more than $200.

3) Royal Mayfair
Once regarded as one of Stanley Thompsons better courses, Royal Mayfair has been the victim of a badly done modernization. Take out the 1980s and 1990s changes and bring this one back to mirror Thompsons vision.

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4) Highlands Links
The victim of a half-assed renovation in 1996, this course needs significant tree removal and a bunker restoration that returns it to the look created by Thompson. The history is there “ tons of photos from the opening “ so lets put this one back, making it the countrys greatest course.

5) Pine Ridge
This Winnipeg course still has some great Donald Ross elements, but several holes have been tinkered with, adding a pond here, a stream there, and generally ruining the consistency of the course. Thankfully some of the old greens exist. Go back to them!

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6) Chateau Montebello
This is still a very cool course, but awful cart paths and some unwisely chosen additional water hazards have really hurt this course. A nice tree pruning, and reestablishing the bunkers that Thompson initially had at this gem would drastically raise its profile. This is a damned good course hardly anyone knows.

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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.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • The feds should never have let Graham Cooke anywhere near Highland Links. It’s a shame they still own it and let it deteriorate.

  • I love the old courses, but the equipment to maintain them has changed. Aren’t we all happy that cars, medicine, radio, tv etc. continues to change? Then again maybe not, as I walk around St Andrews I see a lot has not changed, but much has.
    A golf course is alive, it has to evolve. It can be pruned, but not taken back to its beginnings.

  • I agree with the comment regarding Graham Cooke and The Highlands…I have played the course dozens of times and it continues to be my favorite course (that I have played) in Canada. Unreal Golf experience…however, it does need some TLC with attention to detail. Cooke did some good things but lacks the impact that this track deserves….anyone can build some cart paths and restore bunkering….the clubhouse is inadequate and tee decks are an issue. Some improvement to playability for the average golfer would help. New forward tees are essential. The underlying factor to The Highlands lack of progress is Parks Canada. A private developer would be a godsend to this gem of a course as long as they consider the local market. Keeping long-time Pro Joe Robinson out of the GM position was a mistake. Give your head a shake Parks Canada!!

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