Top 100: The Ten Hardest To Play On Our Best In Canada Ranking
This website’s popular series about North America’s most exclusive golf courses included a couple of golf courses in Canada (here, and part II here), but following our Top 100 release in spring 2022, we wanted to explore: what are the ten hardest golf courses to grab a tee time on our Canadian Top 100?
To our knowledge, nobody in the country has played all Top 100 on Beyond The Contour’s list, meaning at least one of these courses is holding people back from completing the list. The race is on: who can get there first? They’ll need these ten in order to do so.
To view the entire Top 100 list, click here, and for the Top 50 shortcut, click here.
Club de Golf Memphrémagog
2022/2023 ranking: 21st in Canada
A billionaires playground in the countryside of Quebec close enough to see Vermont, Le Club de Golf Memphremagog initially slashed into the spotlight with a Golf Digest Top 100 in the World ranking, appearing at 77th in 2016. Since then, it has debuted on SCOREGolf‘s Top 100, and our list. What makes this place so private? Unless you know one of the 50-odd members, who are likely CEO’s of some of Canada’s biggest companies, chances of playing here are slim.
Mount Bruno Country Club
2022/2023 rank: 16th in Canada
A club steeped in tradition, including long pants or knee-high socks on the golf course (no shorts) and club blazers in the clubhouse for dinner, Mount Bruno’s small, select French membership means very few will meet a member who belongs here. Mount Bruno has famously shared members with Brookline, Augusta National, and Pine Valley, and the people who hangout here are the ones who like to keep Bruno quite and private, allowing a select few to see the course yearly.
2022/2023 rank: 14th in Canada
The swanky cottage getaway north of Toronto known as Muskoka is home to a handful of exclusive private golf clubs, but one of, if not the most exclusive of Öviinbyrd, a modern, low-key club known for the ultra-wealthy, NHL players, and more. Öviinbyrd’s membership is spread out across Ontario, so unlike a city club, you can’t just hangout in the area and hope to bump into a member who will bring you.
The grandparent of all the influx of modern private retreats, for years Redtail was as difficult to find as it was to play, with directions from your host needed to find the southern Ontario exclusive club. With little members, some national, some local, and a wealthy clientele who primarily use Redtail as a second club weekend trip away, finding a Redtail member is difficult, but getting the invite that fits into their busy schedule is quite the task.
2022/2023 rank: 41st in Canada
James Island Golf Course
2022/2023 rank: 28th in Canada
Of all the golf courses in our Top 100, this was the most surprising for our editorial team because they could not believe enough panellists saw the golf course to be able to be included. At one point, this Jack Nicklaus design was a private island retreat for billionaire Craig McCaw, but he sold it to Discovery Land Company, known for Estancia, Gozzer Ranch, Silo Field Club, and more. With plans to expand membership, but you have to purchase a home on the island, we do not see this one becoming easier, and will likely cause a roadblock for all looking to play the top 100.
2022/2023 ranking: 17th in Canada
Goodwood’s structure is built on exclusivity, with no known number of members (although it is speculated there are anywhere from 75-115). With no sign, a “no trespassing” sign at the beginning of the nearly 2KM entrance road, and no clubhouse, Goodwood’s laid-back, minimalistic exclusivity is one that attracts only Toronto’s wealthiest and most golf savvy to this club north of the city.
Toronto Golf Club
2022/2023 rank: 7th in Canada
Sure, Toronto Golf Club is not a James Island or a Goodwood, but a smaller-than-usual membership paired with a group of members protective and loving of their Harry Colt design makes this one of the more difficult tee times to grab in the country. Those who are members at Toronto Golf Club also can be found at Mount Bruno, Goodwood, Redtail, and other golf courses of such exclusivity. Plus, a handful of R&A members. A great membership, but finding one might be a difficult task.
Port Carling Golf & Country Club
2022/2023 rank: 82nd in Canada
A small membership keeps Port Carling to less than 10,000 rounds a year, with a majority of those being the members who spend their summers up here to escape the city. As a result, finding those who will host you is difficult given the amount of rounds per year, and the sporadic nature of the membership and who is in town.
Rosedale Golf Club
2022/2023 rank: 29th in Canada
The closest 18 hole private golf club to downtown Toronto, in some of the most expensive real estate in Canada, is a winning combination to achieve exclusivity. At Rosedale, however, it does not come from a modern vision with limited memberships. Instead, it comes from memberships passed through generations and wealthy corporate elites coming from Bay Street.
National Golf Club of Canada
2022/2023 rank: 15th in Canada
This is an easy inclusion given the restrictions around half the population. The National Golf Club of Canada does not allow female members, and even as a guest, women are restricted to various times. Other than that, National is not much more difficult to get a guest time than a Calgary Golf & Country Club, St. George’s, or Laval-sur-le-Lac, but the additional restrictions around women make this the 10th spot on this list.