SCOREGolf officially released its new Top 100 Courses in Canada list. I’ve been a member of the panel for a decade and have watched SCOREGolf editor Jason Logan really rework the panel, adding some good names and making it less prone to strange fluctuations. Of course, like any other year there are some big misses — where is Kawartha, Wildfire, Tarandowah, Montebello, Pine Ridge, Lake Joseph Club — and lots to debate.
This summer I played the remaining courses I hadn’t seen on the list, becoming, I think, the only one of the panel to have played all 100. I’m not sure playing 100 different golf courses rates as an accomplishment, but it means I’ve seen them all and can compare them. Frankly, outside of the Top 40 or so, I find it very difficult to separate the remaining courses.
Anyway, for those interested, here’s my top 10:
Note that the new Cabot Links isn’t on the list yet — but I’d have it above Sagebrush in my list. I haven’t run the numbers yet, but it’ll be interesting to see where it ends up.
With that in mind, here’s my remarks:
- I don’t have the National at No. 1 in my list – but I’ve kinda given up on the notion that my peers will see it any other way.
- Nice to see Sagebrush move to No. 11. The question with this one is what kind of culture will develop around the club now that founder Richard Zokol is gone? Still a great golf experience.
- Highlands Links behind Capilano? No way. One is world-class, and one is simply very, very good. There’s a distinct difference.
- Royal Montreal’s Blue Course continues to slip. It should drop another 50 spots and then it would be about right.
- Has anyone actually gone to see Wolf Creek in the last five years? They’ll find a dated course that is in dire need of tree removal, where playing corridors have shrunk and trees sit in the middle of fairways. Awkward and doesn’t hold a candle to the new course at Wolf Creek, which isn’t even ranked. I’d put Wolf Creek’s original course in the bottom 50, and the new one in the Top 30.
- Shaughnessy holds a good Canadian Open, the players rave about it and it drops eight spots? Figure that one out.
- Predator Ridge’s new course makes a splash at 25. Probably about right.
- Calgary G&CC comes in at 33, making a big jump. Shows what a good restoration can do for a club.
- Is Taboo in free fall? How did this course go from top of mind, to no one paying any attention?
- Nice to see St. Thomas get some love. A great course that has struggled as a club recently. As I’m moving to the London area, I’ve thought long and hard about joining Union.
- Mount Bruno moves up a bunch to 56, but how can it possibly behind the bland and overdone Kananaskis or Fox Harb’r
- Dakota Dunes drops 15 spots? Any idea why? I don’t. It isn’t great — but the land is exceptional.
- Bear Mountain’s second course in at 68, and Wyndanace at 73. Wyndance should be there, and Bear Mountain’s second course is better than the first, but still just slightly better than average.
- What is Eagle Creek doing on this list? Heck, all three courses at Osprey Valley are better and only two of those makes the list. Tarandowah, which fell off the list, puts the mundane and overdone Eagle Creek to shame. There are people in the Ottawa area who think Eagle Creek is better than Royal Ottawa, which proves there is no accounting for taste. Or maybe some don’t have any taste. Could be either.
- Cherry Hill re-enters at 77. See comment on Calgary G&CC. That said, I don’t see how it is ahead of Lookout Point.
- Rideau View’s back nine puts it on the list.
- Seems no one cares who played at Marine Drive now and the panelists have come to recognize it is too tight, too penal and not much fun to play. Great players came out of the club though — guys who could hit the ball very straight because you have to. #bowlingalley
- Lookout Point at 85? Do Score panelists not like to hit big downhill tee shots and play some of the most intriguing greens in Canada? I guess not.
- Northern Bear? 25 spots too low at 98