On September 4, in advance of my golf trip to PEI I shared this post which outlined my top 10 list of PEI courses based on my research. Having played all 10 courses now, I am pleased to share my ‘after’ list. There are revisions, which is natural. But understand this list for what it is; a personal and subjective list of golf courses. Golf course beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder, as I will share some sentiments from my playing partners who, in many cases, share differing opinions of these courses. But that is why I love lists; they provide fodder for debate and conversation. So with all that said, here is my Top 10 PEI Courses List, after the trip:
10 – Anderson’s Creek – Perhaps a little unfair, as this course did suffer the most extensive winter kill of any of the other 9 we played. However, the layout was not as dynamic as others on the Island. I found the par 3’s drew too much on design with wide greens that lack depth. The creek is a prominent feature of the course and adds to the natural beauty and challenge of this course. Others had this 9th or 10th, which spoke more of the depth and diversity of courses than anything else.
9 – Stanhope – I don’t think I’ve ever loved something ranked 9th as much as I love this course. Relaxed and unique, this course draws extensively on strong dog legs. I did not prefer this design element and our group was in consensus with this. But a benign opening leads to a stunning stretch on the back nine which will demand your attention on the golf course because, trust me, the visual distractions are beautiful. This course placed anywhere from 7 to 9 in our foursomes selections. It was one of the most fun courses we experienced.
8 – Glasgow Hills – This course provided our group the most diverse opinions. Personally, I liked the course. After an impressive and stunning opening nine, and strong and unique design elements on the back, the 17th hole was a challenge to play and understand from a design perspective. And given the quality options we had to choose, this moved this course down on my list. One other playing partner felt similar, placing it at 8. The other two did not enjoy the layout and placed this at 10. I’d gladly play it again and would approach the 17th with knowledge and understanding to better appreciate that stout uphill hole.
7 – Eagles Glenn – Here, the list tightens in terms of group appeal. The differences from this selection to number 3 are subtle and very subjective. For me, I had to reflect back and ask myself if this was properly placed? It is, as while the course lacked any significant shortcoming, it also lacked aspects which would move it up in relation to others. My playing partners disagreed, all placing this course in positions 4 or 5 on the Island. Make no mistake, I’d be proud to be a member at Eagles Glenn and play that course every day.
6 – Fox Meadow – This was ranked low on my initial list (#9). I failed to find any wow factor to this course and it lacked the cache and appeal of others on the Island. Well, let me dispel that. Fox Meadow is a superb championship course. Best practice facilities on the Island, extremely close to Charlottetown and a wonderful design which provides diversity of golf holes and a strong closing stretch. For one playing partner, this was his number 3 course on the Island. I was pleasantly surprised with this course and look forward to a return visit.
5 – Brudenell River – Clustered in the middle of a group of courses placed #3 – 7, Brudenell River is unique and enjoyable to play. I have posted a review of this course and loved the experience of playing it. I really believe it was one of the strongest layouts, and certainly one of the more walkable courses on the Island. Add the fact it is part of a 36 hole facility with Dundarave and it becomes a must play for travelers.
4 – Mill River – I ranked this 6th in my initial listing in September. After playing this course, it has moved up which is not a surprise to the people who are fortunate to play this course regularly. Set on the western side of the Island it is well worth the drive to go play this course. From the superior service to the immaculate conditioning, this course has it all. From the opening hole, I knew this would be one of my favourites. My playing partners were split on this, with one other placing this higher up on his list; the other two setting it lower on their lists. The range – from 3 to 8 – is the highest of any course we played.
3 – Green Gables – The genius of Stanley Thompson can be seen in Cavendish on this championship course. The course fits the land perfectly, meandering around PEI National Park and making its way past Anne’s house toward the ocean on the back nine. Matt Ginella states that great courses have a combination of fun, wow factor, and prestige. Perhaps the prestige of this course is lost somewhat among the quality of play on the Island and even within Thompson’s vast portfolio but for me this was a real highlight set amongst great courses throughout the Island. If you’re sensing a theme within our foursome you’re correct in that two of us had this very highly ranked and the other two set it lower. For one playing partner, this course was placed 2nd. I can see a case for it.
2 – Dundarave – Set within a listing of great national courses, Dundarave holds a rightful place. This design is the sister course for Brudenell River but location and quality are the only two similarities. Dundarave is more a brute; a demanding championship course with its iconic red clay bunkers. Expansive in layout and immaculate in conditioning it was a clear second ranked course within our group. Three of us four placed this as our number 2 ranked course. It is that good.
1 – Crowbush Cove – to no one’s surprise this course emerged as a consensus number one pick. A worth national top 10 public golf course, the unique location is matched with a dynamic layout and outstanding conditioning. We hadn’t pulled out of the driveway when I started thinking and wondering when I could get back and play this course again. I have drafted a review which will likely be posted on my blog over the holidays.
Well, there you have it, my top 10 list of PEI golf courses. If you have played on the Island, let me know your thoughts. If you’re planning to visit the Island at some point, I highly recommend the PEI Green Card. For $379 plus taxes we were able to play all 10 of these courses. What a great golfing experience.