Course Preview: Turnberry GC, Brampton, Ont.
Designer(s): Doug Carrick/Cam Tyers
Brought to you by the fine folks who created all 7,450 yards of Eagles Nest GC in Maple, Ont., is Turnberry, with total yardage for 18 holes of, well, 3,000 yards?
That’s right — Turnberry is a short course, but don’t try to call this one an “executive” track. From the appearance of the holes that have been fully shaped, as well as those that are in the final stages, Turnberry is like a mini-version of Eagles Nest in places, while in others it is like that manufactured links of steriods. It sounds like a strange mix, but the two par-4s (the opener and the 18th) have massive fake dunes that are grander in scale than anything at its longer sister course.
The decision is this — given limited land (about 90 acres, where most 18 holes courses take at least 150 these days) does one build a nine hole course or gamble and make something that might capture a part of the golf market that is so far untouched.
The Eagles Nest ownership (again employing Carrick Design’s Doug Carrick and Cam Tyers, who created Eagles Nest) decided to try for the alternative. In this instance (and though the routing and details changed numerous times), they landed on the concept of creating two par-4s as bookends to 16 one-shot holes. That doesn’t mean these par-3s are simply run-of-the-mill holes. Instead, using fill from throughout their development empire, the Eagles Nest team have crafted a wild series of par-3 holes that utilize archetypes from the canon of golf architecture.
It’ll be interesting to see how many clubs players carry on the course, especially since it opens with a 400-yard plus par-4 that slings through some massive faux dunes and then slightly doglegs to the left. It’ll be a test out of the gate, but will be the last time one picks up their driver until the final hole of their round.
From there it is mish-mash of par-4s that range up to 200 yards in length. Special care has been given to making the greens both large and intriguing. Holes include an attempt at a biarritz, and Tyers’ use of greens he saw at places like National Golf Links in Long Island, NY. There’s a double green, and another with a large and aggressive swale in the front middle portion.
For me, walking the holes in a random order, it was easier to gain general impressions than specifics. And in general, this looks like an intriguing course that could be fun to play. The problem with most courses of this length are that they are considered third-tier (below even nine holers). That isn’t the case here. Tyers has obviously placed a lot of thought in the design of each hole. Each is different and the ability to move and import massive amounts of land means each has its own spot within the landscape, neither feeling jammed in or cramped.
Will people embrace a course that shouldn’t take more than 2.5 hours to play, but will offer many of the same thrills as a longer course? That’s the question. I’m intrigued at 16 chances at holes-in-one during a single round. And the options Tyers has crafted into the course — interesting bunkers, chipping hollows, smart greens — could well be a hit with higher handicap players and stronger golfers alike.
Check out the gallery — a handful of holes on the back nine are still being shaped, but their essence can be clearly seen.