Note: This is the fifth 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.
In many ways, Angus Glens South Course changed Ontario golf. Sure Lionhead had tried and tested the corporate golf model prior to 1995, but it was Angus Glen, led by effervescent general manager Kevin Thistle, that corralled Canadian companies into taking their tournaments to the club. Since then it has hosted a Canadian Womens Open and a Canadian Open. Practically everyone who is anyone has played the course.
None of that, however, has anything to do with the actual design. This was the coming out party for Doug Carrick, and in many ways his style as a designer has been based on the template created at Angus Glen. Interestingly Carrick wasnt the first designer on the site “ Rod Whitman was asked to do the project but fell into a dispute with Arthur Stollery, who started the project.
Angus Glen is pure Carrick; carry bunkers tempt the long hitter and protect the angles, but wider-than-average fairways provide alternate routes to the green. The land is nice, but not outstanding. The par-3s are strong, but not overwhelming. This is a course that has to be viewed in its entirety, as a sum of its parts rather than on an individual hole basis. This is straight-forward golf, and theres nothing wrong with that. There is really not a bad hole on the course, though there are some plain ones (the 11th and 15th spring to mind). Theres also not a single remarkable hole, though the tee shot from the elevated 9th is pretty grand.
Angus Glen South wont win any beauty contests, but you wont be embarrassed taking this one home to mom.
Time Will Tell: Ive played Angus Glen dozens of times and still enjoy the course. Carricks use of chipping hollows, and distinct swales in greens (#2, #3, #5, #6, etc.) make it interesting time and again. I wonder if many people now take the course for granted, especially given all the new product that has hit the market in recent years.
Where It Ranks: 53rd in Canada, according to Score. Probably a little low, but not far off its rightful place.
Should It Have Won?: Yes. The runner-up, Westwood Plateau, is built on an extremely hilly piece of property and while it has some fine holes, there are several that dont function well given the slopes of the land. Additionally once it nears the houses, its appeal is quickly lost.
What Was Overlooked? 1995, by all accounts, was a year in which very little opened.
Tomorrow: Jack’s northern sojourn.