Golf architecture in Canada is surprisingly healthy after roughly 20 years of downtime, with projects like Hamilton (Mackenzie & Ebert), Brantford (Whitman, Axland, Cutten), Cutten Fields (Mingay), Rivermead (Mingay), and Lakeview (Tyers) all opening in the past two years or so. Looking ahead, St. Charles (Urbina), Beaconsfield (Mingay & Fraser), Richmond (Mingay), and Cabot Revelstoke (Whitman, Axland, Cutten) are all highly anticipated projects set to open in the next couple of years. New builds are still rare, but it’s a good time to be a golfer in this country.
Doug Carrick Continues to Find Work, Part I
Announced on September 29, Golf North is investing in Fergus Golf Club, located about 30 minutes north of Guelph, Ontario by bringing in Doug Carrick for, as the press release described, a “complete rebuild.” Details are minimal on specifics and no plan was provided, but the below aerial shows minimal interest in the current golf course. None of the Beyond The Contour writers have been to the site to check it out, but consider us intrigued in the future of this rural Ontarian golf course and what Carrick is able to turn out.
Prince Edward Island’s Abegweit Links
First announced in a third-party Facebook post on September 17, a proposed golf course near the Confederation Bridge in Prince Edward Island is the talk of the town in Canadian golf these days, with developer Kris Taylor’s pitch including a “links-style” course. That terminology is terrifying, with numerous inland golf courses thinking “links-style” means containment mounds and irrigation ponds in play (for some reason). Numerous issues exist on converting this to a golf course, including the cleanup cost of the site, which was used to build the bridge connecting Prince Edward Island to mainland Canada, and the size, clocking in at just about 111 acres. That’s a small property for today’s asking, but Victoria Golf Club (72 acres) and Marine Drive (90-some) in British Columbia have turned out Top 100 golf courses on a similar size. Merion, perhaps the most famous small-parcel golf course in the world, is a bit bigger at 128 all in.
With all that said, Prince Edward Island desperately needs a high-quality golf course, with Crowbush Cove losing favour with modern standards and Green Gables being chopped up from the original Stanley Thompson golf course. Both are enjoyable, alongside Dr. Michael Hurdzan & Dana Fry’s Dundarave, but none of them fail to compete with any of the surrounding province’s best golf courses. In fact, Prince Edward Island had the least amount of golf courses of any province on Beyond The Contour‘s Top 100 with just Crowbush (51st) making the cut.
There was a community meeting for the golf course on September 28, with feedback seemingly in favour of the idea.
Doug Carrick Continues to Find Work, Part II
In Cameron, Ontario in the Kawartha’s, Doug Carrick impressively continues to get work as developer Robert Carroll pushes to have a residential golf course, one that he calls “world-class.” Carrick has failed to turn out anything exciting in at least a decade, with all of his high-ranked golf courses coming between 2000 (Greywolf) and 2009 (Predator Ridge). That could all change with Fox Harb’r, but as it stands, “world-class” and Doug Carrick are years removed from each other. It sounds like the project has not been as well-received as the PEI project, so who knows. My guess is this one doesn’t go. The rough draft of the proposed development itself below is very uninspiring as golf takes a backseat to houses.
Other Notable Updates
As mentioned, it is a good time to be a Canadian golfer, with numerous projects on the go. Specifically, Cabot Revelstoke will likely bring a lot of eyes to the project as we inch closer to its opening. Out east, Whitman, Axland, Cutten—the same firm who is building Revelstoke—are handling the Hillsdale renovation in Montreal. Quebec happens to be a happening place in the country these days, with Rivermead finishing up, Beaconsfield currently under renovation, Andy Staples at Grand-Mere and Mount Bruno, La Tempete’s second course from Darrell Huxham opening, and more.
Around the country, St. Charles’ famed Donald Ross & Alister Mackenzie restoration will open sometime in summer 2024. Ian Andrew’s work at Edmonton Country Club is underway, which includes a new bunkering scheme, among other improvements. LOBB + Partners continue to fine tweak the Bill Thomson and Stanley Thompson designed Waterton Lakes, Jeff Mingay continues to fix up A.V. Macan golf courses out west, which moves onto Richmond Country Club in Metro Vancouver, and Vancouver Golf Club is currently exploring a Gary Browning master plan. Oh, and Andy Staples is also on tap to restore/renovate Willie Park Jr.’s Weston Golf & Country Club in the famed golf neighbourhood of Etobicoke, Ontario.