Osprey Shores Golf Resort – Relaxed, Oceanfront Golf
This review completes the four Nova Scotia courses I had the pleasure of being able to play last summer. You can click to see my past reviews of Cabot Links, Highlands Links and The Lakes. But the focus now is a personal favourite of mine. In my 36 years of playing golf I don’t believe I have returned to a course where the combination of hospitality, scenery, fun and relaxed enjoyment for the game exists like it does at the Osprey Shores Golf Resort. You will not find this course on Top 100 lists, but this 9 hole par 35 layout is not without its challenge. But more on that later…
Golf is meant to be fun; that is my philosophy on the game. And here, Osprey Resort earns top marks. Formalities around dress code and tee times are exchanged for general values of respect – for the course, and others playing the game. The staff that works at the course may be some of the nicest people I have ever met through this game. In both of my trips to Guysborough, Osprey staff were genuine and accommodating to the unique needs I had – once as a solo traveler looking for a relaxing, golf-filled day, and second, as part of a group of 16 friends celebrating the 25th year of our loosely based competition. Make no mistake; the people are what make this a location I am pleased to share as one of my favourites for golf in Canada!
The scenery is my next accolade. Osprey Shores golf course is set on a peninsula that provides views on each hole of the incredible Chedabucto Bay. I had written in an earlier post, and stand by these remarks, that Osprey has “some of the most scenic vistas I’ve experienced on a golf course”. Speaking with General Manager, John Stapleton, this year at the Toronto Golf and Travel Show, he shared plans to amend some holes and build an island green on the northern side of the course between current holes 6 and 7. This would open up their 2nd hole into a par 5 as it would capture holes 2 and 3. John, it’s not like I had not noticed the water on the other 8 holes!!
And this takes me to my assessment of the course itself. To be fair, the course does not try to compete with Cabot Links, Highlands Links or other world class Nova Scotia courses. It does complement these courses, offering a family-friendly option or a course to use as a warm-up before taking on these larger courses. But with a par 35, you can use the entire bag. I really love the layout of this course, it is a gentle and enjoyable walk (although the uphill walk on 9 gets the heart going). There is no feeling of this being an overly tight layout, though there are some risks of balls going onto adjacent fairways off of the first hole, and possibly 3rd. The greens are small and very lush, and on the slow side but consistent and fair. There are some bunkers but not many. All in all, the course will allow you to enjoy yourself and this ideal location! With some holes oceanside, be sure to error on the side of accuracy!
Having been there twice, I will not let myself play the superior courses of Cape Breton Island and not make the time to stop in and visit my friends at Osprey Shores. The accommodations are clean and comfortable and if it’s lobster season I may even venture over the DesBarres Manor for an amazing dining experience. If not, I’ll make my way to the Rare Bird Pub for some of their finest beer (they brew their own!) and a bite to eat.
I wish I was there now; Osprey Shores has earned its place as one of my personal favourites!