Hole #7 — National Golf Club of Canada (Woodbridge, Ont)
I have a lot of respect for the National Golf Club of Canada, even if I wouldn’t want to play it every day. That said, there is no denying it has several tremendous golf holes, and I happen to believe the course’s 7th ranks among the best in the country.
The hole uses a the valley on the left to great impact, forcing golfers to make a strategic choice between playing away and to the safer right area of the fairway (but towards the fairway bunkers) or taking the more direct route to the left, but risking losing a ball to the valley. It is smart, strategic golf and damned difficult at that.
The hole is really set by the tee shot. I can’t say I’ve ever actually played it from 460, but I have played it from 445 yards and that’s plenty for mere mortals. The fairway is actually relatively generous, but to cut off any yardage, and for the best approach to the green, one has to be down the left side of the hole. A ravine runs in front of the hole, bisecting the fairway, and connecting with the 6th.
The approach is no pushover either, though the area in immediately in front of the green does allow for recovery. The ravine reappears and juts back into the fairway near the area where many mishits would end up and those missing left will find their ball plunge down the hillside never to be seen again. On the other hand, bunkers protect the right side for those that play it overly safe.
Yes, this is relatively penal golf, but it makes tremendous use of the natural landscape and is one of the most strategic holes in the country. Brilliant.