Golfweek Wades into the Canadian Course Ratings Game

The second hole at Highlands Links from last year.

Score  and Ontario Golf already do it — and even the Globe and Mail tried it at one point — and now U.S. mag Golfweek is presenting a Top 30 Modern (post-1960) and Top 30 Classic (pre-1960).

You can find their lists here.

What’s interesting? Well, Highlands Links is #1 in GW’s Classic list, and #6 in ScoreGolf’s overall list. Based on Score’s list it would be #5 Classic using GW’s criteria. I must admit I like seeing it that high — and with the ongoing restoration, it wouldn’t surprise me if Highlands gets another jump once people see the completed work later this year.

1. Highlands Links

Ingonish Beach, Nova Scotia

1939, Stanley Thompson 8.25

2. St. George’s G&CC

Islington, Ontario

1928, Stanley Thompson 8.16

3. Jasper Park Lodge

Jasper, Alberta

1925, Stanley Thompson 8.14

4. Hamilton G&CC (West & South)

Ancaster, Ontario

1914, Harry S. Colt 7.41

5. Capilano G&CC

West Vancouver, British Columbia

1937, Stanley Thompson 7.17

6. Toronto GC

Mississauga, Ontario

1912, Harry S. Colt 7.14

7. Mount Bruno CC

St. Bruno, Quebec

1918, Willie Park Jr. 6.71

8. Victoria GC

Victoria, British Columbia

1893 Harvey Combe 6.60

9. Royal Montreal GC (Blue)

Ile Bizard, Quebec

1959, Dick Wilson (1959); Rees Jones (2006) 6.50

10. Banff Springs

Banff, Alberta

1928, Stanley Thompson 6.48


Banff is No. 5 overall on Score’s list, but only #10 on GW’s classic list, quite surprising frankly. Maybe the raters at GW are suggesting the haphazard way in which Fairmont has supported the course (it has been in dire need of a proper bunker reno for years) has caught up with it. I love the course, but I must admit I thought it was high in the Score list. If properly restored, I’d suggest it is a candidate for Top 100 in the world — but not in its current state.

Of course there are the obvious strange bits in GW’s ratings, which must be largely American raters since the magazine has not done a Canadian ranking before. There are three courses in GW’s Classic list — Royal Montreal’s Blue course, Manoir Richelieu and The Algonquin — that are all recent renovations and have basically nothing to do with the “classic” courses they were built on. All three are, to my way of thinking, modern courses.

Nice to see Mount Bruno get the love it deserves — the Montreal-area course is very quiet and only ranks 72 on Score’s list — much too low. GW puts it at #7 on its Classic list, just ahead of Victoria GC.

The 18th at the National.

The modern list is, in some ways, more interesting and troublesome at the same time. The strange ones — Fox Harb’r at #11 when it might be the worst modern course on a great site (and also sits ahead of Eagles Nest and Oviinbyrd, which is just wrong) — are head shakers. That Shaughnessy is a modern course, though it still uses Vernon Macan’s routing, while Royal Montreal, which was completely redone five years ago is a classic is bothersome. Nice to Sagebrush get some love, but behind Devil’s Pulpit? Who are we kidding?

The National was the top modern course in GW’s list. Interestingly its rating — 7.62 — would put it well behind Highlands, St. George’s and Jasper — and just ahead of Hamilton, where it is #1 in ScoreGolf’s list. Blackhawk at #16 is too low, but fascinating to see all three of Rod Whitman’s courses (I suppose there are two at Wolf Creek) in the Top 30 on the GW list. Want to bet he goes four-for-four when Cabot opens?

And where is Tobiano, which ranked #16 on Score’s list, but is no where to be seen on the GW list. Odd.

Here’s the Top 10 modern:

1. The National Golf Club of Canada

Woodbridge, Ontario

1975, George Fazio/Tom Fazio 7.62

2. Devil’s Paintbrush

Caledon, Ontario

1992, Michael J. Hurdzan/Dana Fry 7.58

3. Rocky Crest Resort

Mactier, Ontario

2000, Tom McBroom 7.3

4. Beacon Hall

Aurora, Ontario

1988, Bob Cupp/Tom McBroom 7.17

5. Muskoka Bay Club

Gravenhurst, Ontario

2006, Doug Carrick 7.13

6. Shaughnessy G&CC

Vancouver, British Columbia

1961, A. Vernon Macan 7.00

7. Devil’s Pulpit

Caledon, Ontario

1990, Michael J. Hurdzan/Dana Fry 6.69

8. Sagebrush Golf & Sporting Club

Quilchena, British Columbia

2010, Rod Whitman/Richard Zokol/Armen Suny 6.66 

9. Coppinwood

Uxbridge, Ontario

2006, Tom Fazio 6.60

10. Humber Valley Resort (River)

Deer Lake, Newfoundland

2006, Doug Carrick 6.57

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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.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Although I agree Manoir Richelieu is mostly changed from it’s original, there is one 9…the Tadoussac I believe?…that still has many classic elements and is my favorite at the course.

  • Great Rankings from Golf Week. It is nice to get a third party ranking of the wonderful courses, rather than always from Score.

    BTW, how old is that picture of the 18th at The National?? The clubhouse on 18 makes it even better than it was.

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