Coast to coast, Canada enjoys diverse landscapes and ecosystems that golf courses in all ten provinces take advantage of. Whether that be the ocean on either side of the country, the mountains in the west or the far east, the rolling prairie land in the middle, or the rocky terrain of the Canadian Shield, architects like Stanley Thompson, Doug Carrick, Les Furber, Robbie Robinson, Darrell Huxham and more have taken advantage of the natural landscapes to produce Instagram-worthy golf courses. Here are Canada’s Ten Most Beautiful Golf Courses.
Editor’s note: Victoria Golf Club is excluded from contention as the author has not seen the golf course, and likewise for James Island in British Columbia. It seems like an obvious contender, though the author did not want to include something he has not seen.
Capilano Golf & Country Club — West Vancouver, British Columbia
Capilano is the furthest west Stanley Thompson travelled during his prolific career, and we are happy he did. You could put together a very strong argument this is Canada’s most visually appealing golf course, with views of downtown Vancouver, the Bernard Inlet coming in from the Pacific Ocean, massive Douglas Fir trees, and views of beautiful mountains to the north. There are multiple spots one stops to either take a picture or fully taken in the beauty, but Thompson’s architecture, with his very attractive bunkering style, fits into the site quite well.
Crimson Ridge Golf Couurse — Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Kevin Holmes best design according to our panel is a rocky, rolling property north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. In the fall, colours pop unlike anywhere else, but the property, with meandering streams, rock outcroppings, and long views into Michigan, is one of the more picturesque places in Canada. Oh, and a rushing river leads to a waterfall at the base of the valley the par 3, 17th crosses.
The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Club — Banff, Alberta
Perhaps an easy choice given its reputation, but Stanley Thompson’s mountain masterpiece benefits from the property located at the base of the Rocky Mountains. As a result, the golf course enjoys 360 degree panoramic views of mountain ranges, with the Bow River meandering alongside holes 8-14, an occasional glacier pond, and Stanley Thompson’s most elaborate bunkering mimicking the mountain peaks.
Muskoka Bay Club — Gravenhurst, Ontario
Muskoka Bay’s location in the cottage country of Ontario not only provides a tranquil vibe, but allows the golf course to meander around the marshy terrain, with some of the most aggressive rock outcroppings anywhere. Doug Carrick and Ian Andrew’s architecture is mellow considering the site, but that is exactly what is needed: drama is a product of the land, as is the eye-catching moments like the drop shot par 4, 4th, the par 4, 9th (above), the par 3, 11th, and more.
Greywolf Golf Course — Panorama, British Columbia
Another Doug Carrick choice, but this one comes in the eastern part of British Columbia. Situated in the beautiful ski town of Panorama, the town is aptly named: views of the Rocky Mountains are abundant here, in every direction you look. A beautiful stream runs through parts of the golf course, while Carrick’s bunker style is simple, yet dramatic in presentation. Oh, and the Cliffhanger, the par 3, 6th (above), is arguably Canada’s most stunning one-shot hole.
Cabot Cape Breton (Cliffs) — Inverness, Nova Scotia
Cape Breton benefits from a fantastic mix of ocean and mountains, meaning numerous courses could be on this list. One that just missed is Cabot Links, but Cabot Cliffs, Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw’s lone Canadian design is the more dramatic, and thus the obvious choice of the two. Everyone will talk about the finishing stretch on the coastline that includes the already-famous par 3, 16th, but the inland holes like the par 3, 14th and the par 4, 2nd are just as easy-on-the-eyes as the coastal holes.
Silvertip Resort — Canmore, Alberta
While Banff Springs plays down in the flat land at the base of a valley in the Rocky Mountains, Silvertip dramatically plays on the side of the mountain overlooking the valley to the other mountain range. Views of the Three Sister Mountains are ever-present, and Les Furber’s routing takes the golfer directly at them at the 2nd, 14th, and 18th.
Humber Valley Golf Resort — Pasadena, Newfoundland
Newfoundland is often an afterthought in discussions on golf, but not on beauty. Luckily, Humber Valley is the first of two golf courses on our list, and the third from Doug Carrick. The hilly property benefits from long views of the Appalachian Mountains and Deer Lake, and dramatically takes advantage of both.
The Fairmont Manior Richelieu Golf Club — La Malbaie, Quebec
Manoir Richelieu might have missed our Top 125, but what it is a clear show-in for is one of Canada’s best-looking courses, sitting into the hillside high above the St. Lawrence River north of Quebec City. The photo above is from the St. Laurent nine, but the entire 27 hole property enjoys some of the most dramatic views anywhere.
Terra Nova Resort (Twin Rivers) — Port Blandford, Newfoundland
A natural waterfall is a clear leg up on anything else, but even more when it sits short of the par 3, 18th green like it does at Twin Rivers. This is not a one-trick pony, however; the front nine plays down around Goose Bay coming in from the North Atlantic Ocean, while much of the golf course plays around the natural lakes upstream from the waterfall.
Did we miss a course you think is deserving to be included? Let us know in the comment section below!