Toronto's wonderful 15th green site
So what makes them great?
1. Great routing – hardest element to measure, but best described as the holes seem to all work perfectly one after the other.
Example: Highland Links is a wonderful run where each hole seems in the right spot (I'll touch on this tomorrow by discussing the Highland routing)
2. Great architecture – from greens to bunkering
Example: St. George’s bunkering is so good it can almost carry the course single handed
3. Great setting – there is no comparing an Oceanside course to a housing course
Example: Dakota Dunes versus Eagle’s Nest
4. Mixture of hole types and hole lengths – 18 holes in a valley setting or a 7,400 yard course is dull
Example: Devil’s Paintbrush provides the seemingly impossible with the seemingly too easy all day, a testament to good design and fun
5. Balance of strong and fun holes – can beat your brains in or be too easy either
Example: Hamilton does a wonderful job of testing all your skills and giving you plenty of opportunity, a perfect mix of brains and brawn
6. Great par threes – It is almost a must
Example: Jasper Park has a perfect set from pitch to driver and all yardages in between
7. A full mixture of par fours from drivable to unmanageable
Example: Toronto Golf has the perfect mix of all yardages green types and settings
8. Par fives that are interesting rather than just long
Example: No course in the world can top the mixture of great par fives at Highlands
9. A golf course that makes you think – 18 clearly defined holes with one option per shot lacks strategy – the course must invite you to take risk and play smart
Example: Kudos to Rod Whitman for giving you a million options at Blackhawk.
10. A course that has continuity – from architectural style through to feel, too many ideas or too many elements ruins a good piece of architecture
This is the weak point of Canadian architecture, the new courses have an advantage because they haven’t been tinkered with. This is also the reason so many of the courses like Mayfair have gone from the top to off the list.
My Top 25
Osprey Valley Heathlands