I’ll do a full review in coming days, but let’s say this: Memphremagog, the ultra-private course conceived of by Paul Desmarais Jr. and Jean Monty and designed by Tom McBroom is as solid a course through 18 holes as I’ve seen in some time. Interestingly, it seemed more a sum of its parts than a golf course with flashy individual holes, and in many instances reminded me of McBroom’s work at Oviinbyrd in Muskoka. The terrain is similar and while I feel I’ve seen a couple of the holes pulled from McBroom’s design book for earlier courses (including one at the Ridge at Manitou and another similar to that of a hole at Firerock), I’d say Magog is a solid contender for Top 20 status in Canada. A great collection of holes — and I’ll provide more detail soon.
Today I took my struggling golf game to Laval Sur-Le-Lac, the Willie Park design outside of Montreal, for the Da Gaan Golf Society dinner. Matches were played in the afternoon (the society consists of members from Laval and Mount Bruno) with dinner and conversation this evening. The Mount Bruno side of the matches got thumped (we lost our match on the 16th hole when our opponents made a birdie to my par after we came back from 4-down), but the whole affair was classy and fun. I spoke on a recent project I’ve been involved with and discussed the future of golf in Canada with several members about the difficulties facing private clubs going forward. The members of Da Gaan are a fascinating crew, coming from all areas of Montreal business, from bankers to investment gurus to inventors. My opponent in my match drove a Bentley — so that gives you a sense of how successful some of these members are.
Laval is a classic Park design that probably deserves more love than it gets. Score had it pegged at #87, but that’s too low. It is a subtle course, with some quirks (including a large hedge in front of the tee of a par-4 on the back nine), but a great set of greens and some fascinating one-shot holes.
Many of the members heard about my visit to Magog the day before and wanted my take — apparently the course has set the Montreal golf community abuzz.