Score’s Top 100 Courses in Canada was announced at 11 am with a show featuring Bob Weeks, Lorne Rubenstein and myself. The list will surely hit their site soon, but here are the highlights, with my notes about winners, losers, movers and shakers. The entire list is here.
The Top 5 is intriguing for a couple of reasons:
1. The National GC of Canada
2. Hamilton G&CC “ West, South
3. St. Georges G&CC
4. Highlands Links (PUB)
5. Jasper Park Lodge GC (PUB)
The National being #1 is not surprising as it has plenty of fans, but it is a bit odd considering how badly the new 16th hole has been received. It is a wart on the face of Jessica Alba — in other words, it isn’t my type, but I respect it and am not thrilled by the blemish. St. George’s below Hamilton? Odd, considering that Hamilton, while a great course, is in dire need of a restoration of its bunkers. Nice to see Highlands Links at #4 — how far up this list could the course go with a full restoration? And lastly, Jasper at #5? Terrific course — but too high perhaps? It says that the panelists really enjoy the remoteness of the course and the overall experience.
6. Beacon Hall GC
7. Capilano G&CC
8. The Links at Crowbush Cove (PUB)
9. Royal Montreal GC “ Blue
10. Devils Paintbrush
Beacon Hall is perenially in the Top 10, but it doesn’t knock me out, nor was it in my Top 10. Crowbush Cove is a good Tom McBroom course with a handful of holes on the ocean. Does that make it Top 10? No way. And while I understand the placement of Royal Montreal at #9 — strictly because of the Presidents Cup — this is a course tht gets little love from me. Devil’s Paintbrush, on the other hand, is a little low. This course offers more options for a greater variety of players than any other near the top of this list.
11. Banff Springs GC (PUB)
12. Shaughnessy G&CC
13. Toronto GC
14. Rocky Crest Resort (PUB)
15. BlackHawk GC
Interesting grouping. Banff moves way up the list and I’m not sure why — I think it is a great course and should be Top 10 in Canada, but is in deperate need of a restoration. Rocky Crest as the best in Muskoka? I don’t see it — better than Oviinbyrd and Muskoka Bay? BlackHawk is a tremendous achievement by designer Rod Whitman, and deserves its spot — up a handful from the last list.
16. Royal Colwood GC
17. Westmount G&CC
18. Taboo Resort (PUB)
19. Glen Abbey GC (PUB)
20. Wolf Creek Resort (PUB)
I don’t understand why Taboo is held up so high. It is a good golf course, but a bit repetitive. My other surprise? Wolf Creek at 20. A good golf course, and one that might even be better with the new nine that’s being built. Royal Colwood, which was #27, rises to #16. Wonder why? It might be the best candidate for a restoration in all of Canada.
Beyond the Top 20
I’m sort of surprised to see Eagles Nest at #23 — I have it near the Top 10 in my list … Humber Valley in the Top 30? Well done, and could go higher as more people see it. A solid course and clearly the best on The Rock … Coppinwood at #28 in Canada: This must be hugely disappointing to the owners who founded this course. The pre-opening hype had it Top 10 in Canada, but it barely squeezes into the Top 30 … Coppinwood is one step ahead of Oviinbryd, which makes the list for the first time. Up until now not enough panelists had been witness to it, though those that had ranked it highly … Redtail at #24? How the mighty have fallen … What in the world is Glencoe doing in the Top 50? … Kananaskis Country GC has got to be one of the biggest let downs in golf design in the country. At #40 it is about forty spots too high … Dakota Dunes at #44 suffers from being in Saskatchewan. Otherwise it could well be in the Top 20 … Nicklaus North at #46, Really? I mean really? … Nice to see Scarboro up from #67 the year previous considering the excellent restorative efforts of Ian Andrew and Gil Hanse, but St. Thomas at #52 is about twenty spots too low …
Copper Creek falls from #23 to #45 … Fox Harb’r slips from from #25 to #47 … Kananaskis drops from #26 to #40 … Magna falls from #38 to #56 … Cataraqui falls from #57 to #80 … Brantford, which has undergone a Graham Cooke renovation, falls from #29 to #41 … Predator Ridge falls from #32 to #65 … Heron Point drops from #52 to #73. No thoughts as to why.
New to the List
Debuts include Cobble Beach, Ridge at Manitou, Black Bear Ridge, Coppinwood, Oviinbyrd, Wildfire, Humber Valley, The Club at Bond Head, Dakota Dunes, Muskoka Bay, Eagles Nest.
The highest debut was Eagles Nest at #23.
How is it that Saskatoon’s Riverside isn’t on the list? Same with Peterborough’s terrific Kawartha. Also interesting to see the Terra Nova course in Newfoundland, easily one of the better courses in the country, miss the list, as did St. Andrews By the Sea. Others missing include a reworked Cutten Club, and Firerock in London.
Mad River returns to the list.