Note: This is the fourth part of a 17 day series looking at Golf Digests 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.
1994 Best New Canadian Courses
1. The Links at Crowbush Cove, Morell, P.E.I., Tom McBroom.
2. Big Sky G. & C.C., Pemberton, B.C., Bob Cupp.
Others: Harvest, Northview
Tom McBroom was on the rise prior to creating Crowbush Cove, but in many ways it is the course that has defined his career. Before it there were courses like National Pines and Camelot that demonstrated he had talent, but many found the extremes in his putting surfaces to be a bit difficult to stomach. And frankly, he had yet to build a course on a great site.
Crowbush Cove was almost a great site, certainly much closer to an outstanding location than he’d had to that point. It had sand dunes and ocean inlets and spectacular views. It was also slightly crowded, with several ordinary holes on the front nine and some odd environmental elements on the back nine.
There are several great holes on the course — the 6th, a slight par three playing down into a marshy area, and 16th, a par four that plays along the dunes — but there are also awkward holes like the 11th, where the shots don’t measure up. As well, standing on the 11th tee and looking down the coastline you’ll see a huge stretch of sand dunes and wonder what might have been.
Regardless, to many it is still regarded as McBroom’s best work to date.
Time Will Tell:Crowbush has actually aged well. The architecture — with the exception of a couple of holes — is solid, and the greens are intriguing. But it isn’t a great oceanside golf course — and one has to wonder what might have happened to PEI’s golf market had it been Canada’s version of Ballybunion.
Where It Ranks: 10th in Canada, according to Score. Likely a little high in my books, considering there are several terrific holes, but that is balanced out by five average openers, and the awful 11th.
Should It Have Won?:Yes. There was very little competition, and even if there had been, Crowbush would likely take the day. Bob Cupp’s Big Sky has its fans, but it is a flat, marginal piece of property that is long on strategy and short on charm.
What Was Overlooked?Nothing much. Graham Cooke’s Harvest in Kelowna is average, and the Arnold Palmer-designed Northview has few fans.
Tomorrow: The quiet designer lets his first stunner do the talking for him.