2016 in Review – Top 5 Posts

2016 in Review – Top 5 Posts

I want to thank everyone who follows and supports my blog.  Three years now and I am still enjoying the opportunity to share reviews and travel information on interesting and wonderful public golf courses in Canada.  Expect more of the same in 2017.  It was a great year of golf for me, with chances to play in British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Ontario.  I was able to play some amazing courses, meet great people and see parts of the country I have never experienced.  As is often the case there were some hidden gems and I tried hard to make a commitment to improve my photography skills and share more of these experiences with you.

Meeting and playing golf with fellow bloggers, venturing back into competitive golf after a brief absence and being able to maintain a single digit handicap are all things I look back on fondly.  Canada really is an amazing country to play golf in.  I find it so rich in golf courses that I recently increased my Bucket List of Canadian public courses from 74 to just fewer than 100.  Canada has well over 2000 courses so I have done some research, listened to Twitter followers and went with my gut in a few cases but added over 20 courses to my list.

In 2016, my top 5 posts all have an eastern Canada connection.  My 2015 PEI trip was legendary and I have written extensively on it.  Four of the top five posts were course reviews from this trip which I staggered as new blog entries over the winter of 2016.

#1. Stanhope Golf Club

Easy to walk, relaxed in nature and offering an incredible underrated and stunning back nine, Stanhope offers high marks for fun.  A benign opening nine gives way to an amazing stretch of golf holes on the back that are both challenging and awe inspiring.  Playing on an afternoon following a tough weather morning at demanding Crowbush Cove; Stanhope was a perfect course to cap off an epic day of 36.

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Not everyone gets to play golf with their best friend but at Stanhope it’s encouraged.

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#2 Oh, The Places You Will Go

Fairways Fund CEO, Tiffany Chaisson is someone I am proud to call a friend.  She also brings this amazing marriage of golf enthusiasm with unbridled passion for the game (making my own passion for the same seem pedestrian).  The opportunity to meet my Twitter friend in person, over a round of golf, came in July when we were fortunate to be hosted for a round at the incredible Ladies Club in Thornhill, ON.  The Ladies Club has a rich history and an amazing story of its inception that both Tiffany and I wanted to learn about.  Head Professional, Paddy Kelly hosted us and joined us for a round at this Stanley Thompson design which is a shorter course, but long on beauty and challenge.

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Ladies Club Head Professional, Paddy Kelly; Fairways Fund CEO, Tiffany Chaisson; and me!

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#3 Green Gables Golf Club

Sticking to Stanley Thompson, his work in Cavendish, in PEI, was my third most popular post in 2016.  Recent renovations by Tom McBroom helped bring this course back to its original lustre and an early morning fall tee time helped show off all its beauty.  The iconic Anne of Green Gables home, Oceanside views, classic Thompson design…it was there to enjoy.

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Anne’s house.

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#4 Eagles Glenn Golf Club

Practically within walking distance from Green Gables, still in Cavendish, is a more recent design.  Eagles Glenn, as I look back, is an outstanding golf course which is well framed by the rolling countryside and the design brilliance of Graham Cooke.  Superbly conditioned and on a stunning fall morning, this was a consensus favourite by our entire group.

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The Cartners won the last hole and were ready to tee it up.

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#5 Glasgow Hills Golf Club

This club of all the 10 played on our trip to PEI invoked the most discussion.  Stunning, immaculate in its conditioning and incredibly demanding, it presents a back nine which I really enjoyed.  With the most elevation changes of any course on the Island it demands accuracy and length.  But spend time before and after the round in their amazing clubhouse and restaurant and you’ll only focus on the great shots and the great views.

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This view from the patio of the clubhouse at Glasgow Hills is the best.

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Eagles Glenn – Represents all that is great of PEI golf

Eagles Glenn – Represents all that is great of PEI golf

http://www.eaglesglenn.com/

Eagles Glenn Course Review – Represents all that is great of PEI golf

Video courtesy of Eat Sleep Golf.  To view hole by hole video of Eagles Glenn click here

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Early morning light showing the expansiveness of this great layout

Canadian golf architect Graham Cooke transformed 300 acres of rolling countryside in north central PEI into a superb championship layout. Eagles Glenn, in Cavendish PEI, is a course which truly embodies the quality of golf on PEI. Following three days of golf on PEI which had us driving about far as one could to enjoy great golf on the Island (and that is not really that far) we started a stretch of courses which were all less than 10 minutes from our rental home.

While our aggressive itinerary meant carts to help ensure we would get in 36 a day, this is a course which is walkable, even with its expansiveness. First impressions are strong; the trees and rolling hills showcase the natural beauty of the area and Eagles Glenn is a true complement to this beautiful region. The staff are professional and courteous (this is common across the Island, but appreciated nonetheless). The practice facilities are easy to access and in fantastic condition.

Cooke’s attention to detail is evident throughout the course, as the tee boxes frame each golf hole exceptionally well. The various tees from which players can play off will ensure that players of all skill level will enjoy their golfing experience. I would emphasize at Eagles Glenn it is important for players to choose the proper tee box as five tee boxes vary from 5000 to almost 6800 yards. The course condition for late season was outstanding. The bunkering is exceptional, giving a favourite of mine, Stanley Thompson, a run for his money. The greens were true and fair and rolled consistently. Undulation was never severe but did demand attention; this is a course which players could see a few three putts over a round.

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Superb practice facilities are appreciated before the first tee time of the day.

The 6th and 8th holes stood out for me as memorable on the front nine. The par 3 6th is a beautiful downhill golf hole which requires precision. Mounding and a steep slope behind the green are formidable defences. The course uniqueness is its diversity; some holes are tree lined, others guarded by mounds and fescue grasses; and there is some water on the course. The par 5 8th hole is over 600 yards from the back tees and the tee shot may be one of the most intimidating on the course with a strong forced carry over a creek and trees right. But really, you could tell unique stories for almost all the holes on this course; there is no cookie cutter pattern to Cooke’s work here. The par 3’s are an exceptional mix of design and length. One of my playing partners stated this was his favourite course to date on the trip to-date, having played all the provincially owned courses. My sense is this is a course I would love more and more each time I played it.

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Attention to detail – great tee boxes, flowers and well manicured grounds throughout.

While I would contest this course lacked an overwhelming wow factor, perhaps this is the strength of Eagles Glenn – its impressive consistency in design, playability and enjoyment.

The website is excellent – one of the best of all the Island courses – and presents information clearly yet provides relevant and thorough detail on the course, its location and pricing. They also provide excellent pictures of their course. And for anyone who is going to be visiting the most popular tourist area in PEI, this course is perfected situated and adjacent to other championship courses, making the opportunity to add Eagles Glenn to your itinerary an easy one.

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Aura – 7 out of 10 – Eagles Glenn was definitely on my must play list but with 3 other championship courses within a 10 minute swath it was tough to rate this higher. That said, and as mentioned before, Eagles Glenn provides excellent information on its website to educate and inform a prospective guest.

Value (cost / experience) – 8.5 out of 10 – All four players in our group were impressed with the golfing experience at Eagles Glenn. Costs are aligned well to other courses on the Island and provide exceptional value for guests and residents. While value is a consistent thread across PEI, the superb conditioning of Eagles Glenn ups the value play. Eagles Glenn offers a unique, quality golfing experience that complements the top courses on the Island and in the Cavendish area.

Course Condition (fairways/greens, layout) – 8.5 out of 10 – Considering the round was played in early October, the conditioning of the course was outstanding. There is no repetitive feel with the diversity of golf holes and the variation of hazards that frame holes. The bunkers were some of the best on the Island and I really appreciated the conditions of the tee boxes and greens. It is clear that members and players care for this course.

Overall Experience (how did the round make me feel; would I return) – 8 out of 10 – Eagles Glenn is an outstanding golf course. The expansive layout is walkable and enjoyable for players of all levels. The people were friendly and accommodating. My playing players were impressed and pleasantly surprised with the quality of this course. Return? I’d love to.

Highlight (what is great about the course) – The greatness of this course is in its consistent quality. The Scottish heritage of this course is evident throughout, a nice touch being that holes are named after Scottish families who first settled in the area. While I acknowledge it lacks the prestige and profile of top courses on the Island, this course is a worthy, championship layout and complements the excellent course offerings on the Island. I’d be proud to be a member at Eagles Glenn.

Recommendation (magic wand…what would I change) – This is challenging, I enjoyed my golfing experience at Eagles Glenn and while it lacked any serious wow factor for me, I do not know what I would change – I’d simply be nitpicking. There is an understated beauty to this course which I really appreciated. Perhaps Eagles Glenn, more than any other course in PEI, reflects the embarrassment of riches for golf in PEI. Let me play this course a couple more times and I am confident my affinity for Eagles Glenn would only grow.

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Add a filter to the early morning images as you can see the fall beauty at Eagles Glenn before the sun is fully up for the day.