Note: This is the second part of a 17 day series looking at Golf Digest’s Best New Course in Canada award winners, presenting a perspective on those courses that received their due, those pretenders to the throne, and those that were overlooked.
1992 Best New Canadian Courses:
Winner: Devil’s Paintbrush G.C., Caledon, Ont., Michael Hurdzan & Dana Fry.
2. Camelot G.& C.C., Cumberland, Ont,. Tom McBroom.
3. Greystone G.C., Milton, Ont., Doug Carrick.
It has been pointed out to me that some fail to realize the Devil’s Pulpit Golf Association, as the two private courses under the banner are known, have been around for more than 15 years now. Somehow they seem newer than that, as if they were part of the more recent boom in golf design in this country.
The only surprise in the second year of GD’s Best New awards for this country is that so many embraced a course full of quirky weirdness, a place where the designer (primarily Dana Fry in this instance, part of the Hurdzan/Fry team) took such extensive risks in crafting this project.
It could have been a disaster. Golfers could have been turned off by the hillock in front of the second green, or hated huge ridge in the middle of the sixth green, or found the walls that run throughout the course pretentious.
Time Will Tell: Unlike Devil’s Pulpit, its modern-looking sister course, the Paintbrush has become more appreciated over time. Some even think, with its faux-heathland style, options galore and charming quirks, that the Paintbrush is among the handful of best courses in the country. Globe and Mail columnist Lorne Rubenstein thinks it is the course that provides him with the most enjoyment of any in Canada.
Where it Ranks: ScoreGolf had the course at #4 in the country in its 2006 ranking, its highest rank to date. Interestingly, this is a course that is held in higher regard now than ever before — while most new courses start highly and fall slightly over time.
Should it have Won?: Absolutely — the other nominated courses don’t measure up. Camelot is regarded as a fine example of Tom McBroom’s early work — work that has as many detractors as fans. Doug Carrick’s Greystone has some interesting holes, but is built on an extremely severe piece of property.
What was Overlooked: Not much, frankly. McBroom’s Deer Ridge near Kitchener is also typical of his early work — not a bad course by any stretch, but one few think of as one of the designer’s best layouts.
Tomorrow — 1993, the year of one of Canada’s most exclusive haunts was bettered by a mountain goat.
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The Paintbrush also has one of the best par 3s anywhere…the 13th. The course is simply fun to play….as Ben Kern used to say…built for speed and fun. Simple clubhouse, iron only range, hidden bunkers, in your face bunkers (20 foot wall on the 8th hole), double greens, the list goes on.
It is a fun experience.
I agree with Paintbrush all the way . . . but I have played the other three several times and I would take Deer Ridge all the way. I just don’t think enough people get to play it to appreciate the strategy and variety of holes . . . always in great shape with slick greens and walkable to boot.