By global stereotypes, Canada is oftentimes associated with winter sports, and rightfully so. This is probably thanks to the consistent results Team Canada has secured at the Winter Olympics and our naturally-cold climate (not to mention the brutally long winters). However, while our talents on the ice and slopes are unquestioned, an often overlooked aspect of the Canadian landscape is its capacity to house some of the most stunning golf courses the world has to offer.
Did you know that Canada ranks 3rd in the world in total golf courses behind only the United States and Japan? So, with the arrival of warm weather and the lifting of national travel restrictions, what better way to enjoy yourself than to dust off your favourite clubs and take a trip to the most stunning courses the country has to offer. After years of resorting to local links, enjoying the amenities and experiences associated with Canada’s most celebrated courses is perhaps as enticing as the rounds themselves.
With that in mind, we’ve curated a breakdown of 10 of Canada’s most unique courses that offer experiences sure to last a lifetime.
Banff Springs (Banff, Alberta)
Despite Banff Springs having a rather limited club membership of fewer than 300 people, the course itself is open for public play. Completed by Bill Thomson, a Scottish expatriate hailing from the motherland of golf itself, Banff Springs has offered first-class services to visitors and members alike since 1911. The fourth hole – Devil’s Cauldron – is particularly well-known for its beautiful scenery nestled amongst the mountains.
Capilano Golf & Country Club (West Vancouver, British Columbia)
Consistently ranking among the province’s top golf courses, Capilano Golf & Country Club has been recognized internationally, ranking 51st in Golf Digest’s “World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses outside of the United States.” With the lush forests surrounding the course, you’re sure to feel secluded peace while playing throughout your rounds. Designed by the renowned Stanley Thompson and featuring a uniquely west coast style, Capilano Golf & Country Club is a must if you’re golfing in British Columbia. Just a short trip from the course is the renowned Shangri-La Vancouver. Exuding sleek sophistication and a feeling of Zen, the Shangri-La is your urban sanctuary nestled between the mountains and the sea. The hotel occupies 15 floors of downtown Vancouver’s tallest building and is surrounded by the city’s most popular entertainment areas. Venture to nearby Robson Street for luxury shopping, take in the stunning nature Vancouver is known for at Stanley Park, or enjoy a round on one of Canada’s most celebrated courses.
Northview Golf & Country Club (Vancouver, British Columbia)
If you’re in Vancouver and looking for a course close by that can offer a quick commute from the city and a view of the distant mountains, then Northview Golf & Country Club may be the perfect trip for you. It is the official golf course of the Vancouver Canucks and has hosted PGA Tour Events and has consistently ranked among the top golf courses in Canada. Finish the day off by visiting the club’s signature restaurant, Duffey’s Sports Grill, for a wide selection of American cuisine. From striped bass to baked cheesecake, the grill can help heal even the most devastating double-bogeys.
Cabot Links (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)
Cabot Links lines the coast of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia for over a mile of beautiful beachfront. With a staggering 46 holes to play, Cabot Cape is one of the most luxurious golf experiences in not only Canada but the world. Visitors can choose from three upscale on-site restaurants on-site and enjoy relaxation at any one of the 72 award-winning accommodations or 19 upscale golf villas. The ways in which parts of the course jettison out alongside the cliffs to overlook the ocean will leave you breathless. Featuring not one but two World Top 100 courses, the intimacy and remoteness of Cabot Links only underscore how special this course truly is.
Links At Crowbush Cove (Morell, PEI)
Receiving a five-star rating from the likes of Golf Digest, Crowbush Cove offers an experience everybody should mark down on their map. With the course connected directly to sandy beaches, this Prince Edward Island gem is truly breathtaking. Beautifully managed bodies of water and greens, Links at Crowbush Cove can offer an experience like no other. Designed by Thomas McBroom in 1994, the course’s aesthetics, architecture, and conditioning are amongst the country’s best. With fantastic accommodations available at the neighbouring Rodd Crowbush Resort, this is a destination that should be on every golfer’s bucket list.
Dakota Dunes Resort (Whitecap, Saskatchewan)
While the prairies aren’t necessarily known as a travel destination, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find a location offering high-quality services coupled with a great golf experience. Dakota Dunes Resort might be just what you’re looking for, and it’s conveniently located a mere 20 minutes from downtown Saskatoon. Annually voted as one of Canada’s best public courses, Dakota Dunes is laid out spaciously throughout natural sand dune formations and the natural prairie grasses that surround its edges. Featuring striking architecture in the resort, golf course, and the casino, Dakota Dunes has delivered an all-encompassing experience to its guests.
St. George’s Golf and Country Club (Toronto, Ontario)
One of the most well known in the region and ranking 30 in Golf Digest’s “World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses outside of the United States” is St. George’s Golf and Country Club. Established by Stanley Thompson and established in 1929, St. George’s Golf and Country Club may have one of the most unique clubhouses on the entire list. With well-kept greens and a load of other activities included with membership, it’s no surprise it continuously ranks amongst the best golf courses in all of Canada and is held in such high regard. For those visiting the course with a member, the club is situated conveniently close to the city. But for those not wanting to compete with Toronto traffic, St. George’s historic clubhouse combines old-world charm with modern amenities, giving you the perfect excuse to enjoy some post-round fine dining.
Muskoka Bay Club (Gravenhurst, Ontario)
If you’re looking for a public course that offers a top experience and is a little more secluded from the bustling city, you need to check out Muskoka Bay Resort. Offering a wide variety of packages that can fit anyone’s needs, Muskoka Bay Resort not only offers the lush greens that you expect from a top-of-the-line resort but it’s also far more tranquil than most other large Ontario courses. Surrounded by stunning lakes and lush wooded areas, Muskoka Bay is the perfect getaway for those looking for the seclusion of a cottage trip with the amenities of a major course.
Golf Le Geant (Mont Tremblant, Quebec)
One of the main attractions of Quebec is the famous Mont Tremblant, but did you know that its associated Le Geant golf course offers some of the best golf in the country? The course itself is situated on top of a mountain. Played at dusk, the downhill approach with the stunning backdrop of Lac Tremblant provides a sunset you will never forget. And with Mont Tremblant’s world-class resort directly connected to the course, you can experience some of the best accommodations Quebec has to offer with an array of hotels and restaurants to choose from.
From the luxury of the west coast’s most magnificent clubs to the humble yet breathtaking natural landscape of the east, Canada plays host to some of the finest natural environments a golfer could ask for. But after years of limited travel, make your next golf expedition more than just a trip to the links with the most memorable courses the country can provide.