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Canadian Golf Course Review: Robert Heaslip

The latest in a continuing series exploring Canada’s golf designers.

Heaslip's Understated Fox Meadow in Prince Edward Island

Heaslip's understated Fox Meadow in PEI.

Robert Heaslip:

Years in industry: 20

Recent work: Heaslip has a project heading into approvals located north of Toronto.

Best Course: Fox Meadow, PEI; Woodington Lake GC, Tottenham, Ont.; Eaglepoint in Kamloops, BC; The Wilds at Salmonier River, Newfoundland

Quote: “Once you’ve worked in Newfoundland, you can build a golf course on asphlt.”

Strengths:

  • Has built straight-forward, affordable golf courses throughout Canada
  • Several of his Newfoundland courses have been well received, though few outside the province actually have seen them
  • Worked with businessman-turned-Premier Danny Williams on course projects

Weaknesses:

  • Not particularly adept at marketing, many are unaware of Heaslip.
  • The owner of Heaslip’s best known course in Ontario, Woodington Lake, has altered his initial design.
  • His designs are often low-key. Many enjoy them, but few talk about them.

Comment: An interesting, outspoken designer, Heaslip is content to continue under the radar, while his peers, McBroom and Carrick, gain bigger and more prestigious jobs.

What’s possible?: Don’t be surprised if Heaslip builds an affordable design in Ontario that is attractive to the weekend hacker. But even then, most won’t recognize he built it.

Grade: B

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • I would be curious to hear his thoughts about Eaglepoint in Kamloops about the course in 2011 after the Pine Beetle incident caused removal of over 20,000 trees versus his original design amongst the trees. Eaglepoint must have been one of his first designs as I understand the course began about 1991. Now that trees are not as prevalent the views of the mountains are available but the uniqueness of the course and each hole by itself has been lost. The course still plays difficult as the rough has become fescue and the winds are not protected by trees. In my opinion the strength and signature of the course are the four par threes.

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