Golf courses

Top 59: SCOREGolf ranks the best public golf courses in Canada

SCOREGolf began ranking Canadian golf courses in 1988, surveying primarily golf professionals to compile a registry of the country’s top 15 courses. The list grew to 25, then 50, then 100 in 2000, becoming the biennial Top 100, with Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Highlands Links named No. 1.

In 2015 the Top 59 was born, a ranking of public courses solely to satisfy criticism that the Top 100 included too many private clubs that most readers would never play. Why 59? Because it’s the magic number in golf, carded at the highest level of the game a handful of times, including by Canadian Adam Hadwin, who pulled off the trick in 2017. Also because 59 is more fun than 50. We felt it added spice to the public-order pecking order of the courses.

SCOREGolf now has a panel of 105 golf course architecture enthusiasts who travel as they please to assess courses based on the following criteria: beauty, strategy, challenge, design, par 3, par 4, par 5, conditioning and factor of pleasure. Categories carry different weight percentages of a course’s overall grade, with the highest fun factor at 20%. For the Top 59, a course must have been rated by at least seven panelists over the past seven years to be eligible.

It’s no surprise that Cabot Cliffs is at the top. The Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw design at Cabot Cape Breton in Inverness, Nova Scotia has only enjoyed pole position since its debut in 2015. It is Canada’s most spectacular course in the most spectacular setting , perched atop cliffs overlooking the Northumberland Strait. While its ocean holes are the must-sees, Cabot Cliffs’ inland holes are equally enjoyable, the course’s layout taking golfers through marshy lowlands, through massive dunes and over a wooded plateau before returning home along some water.

A course had to be rated by at least seven SCOREGolf panelists to be eligible for this ranking. Appeal indicates that golfers must stay at the attendant resort to access the golf course. Peak rate is the highest green fee on the course (or with mandatory cart if applicable) and includes taxes.

1. Cabot Cliffs

Inverness, NS

Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw, 2015

SG Rating: 8.8849

Maximum rate: $442.75

2. Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Jasper, Alta.

Stanley Thompson, 1925

SG Rating: 8.7631

Maximum rate: $239

3. Cabot Links

Inverness, NS

Rod Whitman, 2012

SG Rating: 8.7109

Maximum rate: $442.75

4. Fairmont Banff Springs

Banff, AB.

Stanley Thompson, 1928

SG Rating: 8.5729

Maximum rate: $313.95

5. Links to the Cape Breton Highlands

Ingonish Beach, NS

Stanley Thompson, 1940

SG Rating: 8.4181

Maximum rate: $155.25

6. Gray Wolf

Panorama, BC

Doug Carrick, 1999

SG Rating: 8.2073

Maximum rate: $173.25

7. Muskoka Bay

Gravenhurst, Ont.

Doug Carrick, 2006

SG Rating: 8.2039

Maximum rate: $224.87

8. Kananaskis Country — Mt. Kidd

Kananaskis, Alta.

Robert Trent Jones, 1984 (Gary Browning)

SG Rating: 8.1363

Maximum rate: $141.75

9. Stewart Creek

Canmore, AB.

Gary Browning, 2001

SG Rating: 8.0430

Maximum rate: $231

10. Predator Ridge — Ridge

Vernon, BC

Doug Carrick, 2009

SG Rating: 8.0200

Maximum rate: $210

11. Humber Valley

Deer Lake, NL

Doug Carrick, 2006

SG Rating: 8.0113

Maximum rate: $115

12. Tobiano

Kamloops, BC

Thomas McBroom, 2007

SG Rating: 7.9885

Maximum rate: $157.50

13. Rocky Crest (Resort)

MacTier, Ont.

Thomas McBroom, 2000

SG Rating: 7.9720

Maximum rate: $207.36

14. Big Sky

Pemberton, BC

Bob Cupp, 1994

SG Rating: 7.9642

Maximum rate: 166.95

15. TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley—Hoot

Caledon, Ont.

Doug Carrick, 2001

SG Rating: 7.8859

Maximum rate: $135.60

16. The Links at Crowbush Cove

Morell, PEI

Thomas McBroom, 2000

SG Rating: 7.8677

Maximum rate: $136.85

17. Eagle’s Nest

Maple, Ont.

Doug Carrick, 2004

SG Rating: 7.7566

Maximum rate: $231.65

18. TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley — North

Caledon, Ont.

Doug Carrick, 2002

SG Rating: 7.7094

Maximum rate: $135.60

19. Black Bear Crest

Belleville, Ont.

Brian Magee, 2005

SG Rating: 7.7084

Maximum rate: $96.05

20. TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley—Heathlands

Caledon, Ont.

Doug Carrick, 1990

SG Rating: 7.6980

Maximum rate: $135.60

21. Tower Ranch

Kelowna, BC

Thomas McBroom, 2008

SG Rating: 7.6832

Maximum rate: $156.45

22. Manitou Ridge

McKellar, Ont.

Thomas McBroom, 2004

SG Rating: 7.6760

Maximum rate: $109.61

23. Nicklaus North

Whistler, BC

Jack Nicklaus, 1995

SG Rating: 7.6724

Maximum rate: $183.75

24. North Bear

Sherwood Park, AB.

Jack Nicklaus, 2002

SG Rating: 7.6558

Maximum rate: $114.45

25. The Algonquin

St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, N.B.

Thomas McBroom, 2000/Rod Whitman, 2018

SG Rating: 7.6546

Maximum rate: $143.75

26. Wolf Creek—Links

Ponoka, Alta.

Rod Whitman, 1996/2010

SG Rating: 7.6443

Maximum rate: $89.25

27. Glen Abbey

Oakville, Ont.

Jack Nicklaus, 1976

SG Rating: 7.6427

Maximum rate: $272.33

28. Pebble Beach

Owen Sound, Ont.

Doug Carrick, 2006

SG Rating: 7.6388

Maximum rate: $196.62

29. Taboo

Gravenhurst, Ont.

Ron Garl, 2002

SG Rating: 7.6319

Maximum rate: $152.55

30. Copper Stream

Kleinburg, Ont.

Doug Carrick, 2002

SG Rating: 7.6134

Maximum rate: $209.05

31. Eagle Ranch

Invermere, BC

Bill Robinson, 2000

SG Rating: 7.6132

Maximum rate: $139

32. Bear Mountain—Valley

Victoria, BC

Jack and Steve Nicklaus, 2008

SG Rating: 7.5637

Maximum rate: $250.95

33. Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Whistler, BC

Robert Trent Jones, Jr., 1993

SG Rating: 7.5427

Maximum rate: $232.05

34. Copper Tip — The Tip

Invermere, BC

Gary Browning/Wade Horrocks, 2004

SG Rating: 7.5343

Maximum rate: $140

35. Predator Crest — Predator

Vernon, BC

The Furbers, 1991

SG Rating: 7.5330

Maximum rate: $210

36. Wolf Creek — Old

Ponoka, Alta.

Rod Whitman, 1984

SG Rating: 7.5296

Maximum rate: $89.25

37. Kananaskis Country — Mount Lorette

Kananaskis, Alta.

Robert Trent Jones, 1983 (Gary Browning)

SG Rating: 7.5215

Maximum rate: $141.75

38. Shadow Mountain

Cranbrook, BC

Graham Cooke/Wayne Carleton, 2009

SG Rating: 7.4844

Maximum rate: $104

39. Dundarave

Roseneath, PEI

Michael Hurdzan/Dana Fry, 1999

SG Rating: 7.4833

Maximum rate: $102.35

40. Tarandowah

Avon, Ont.

Martin Hawtree, 2007

SG Rating: 7.4753

Maximum rate: $67.80

41. The Nest at Friday Harbor

Innisfil, Ont.

Doug Carrick, 2018

SG Rating: 7.4544

Maximum rate: $221.14

42. Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu — Saint-Laurent, Richelieu

La Malbaie, Que.

Herbert Strong, 1926/Darrell Huxham, 2004

SG Rating: 7.4464

Maximum rate: $97.75

43. Seguin Valley

Parry Sound, Ont.

Ted George/Chris Hudwell, 2003

SG Rating: 7.4317

Maximum rate: $112.94

44. Fox Harber

Wallace, N.S.

Graham Cooke, 2001

SG Rating: 7.4292

Maximum rate: $207

45. Wild Stone

Cranbrook, BC

Design by Gary Player, 2011

SG Rating: 7.4200

Maximum rate: $82.95

46. ​​Whistler GC

Whistler, BC

Arnold Palmer, 1983

SG Rating: 7.4093

Maximum rate: $177.45

47. The Devil

Mont Tremblant, Que.

Michael Hurdzan/Dana Fry, 1998

SG Rating: 7.4003

Maximum rate: $118.42

48. Deerhurst—Highlands

Huntsville, Ont.

Bob Cupp/Thomas McBroom, 1990

SG Rating: 7.3906

Maximum rate: $135

49. Silvertip

Canmore, AB.

The Furbers, 1998

SG Rating: 7.3850

Maximum rate: $157.50

50. Heritage Pointe — Desert, Heritage

Calgary, Alta.

Ron Garl, 1992

SG Rating: 7.3845

Maximum rate: $103.95

51. Links to Brunello

Halifax, NS

Thomas McBroom, 2015

SG Rating: 7.3704

Maximum rate: $178.25

52. Mount Fairview

Olivier, BC

The Furbers, 1991

SG Rating: 7.3700

Maximum rate: $116.90

53. Waskesiu

Waskesiu Lake, Sask.

JH Atkinson/Stanley Thompson, 1935

SG Rating: 7.3475

Maximum rate: $68

54. Bear Mountain — Mountain

Victoria, BC

Jack and Steve Nicklaus, 2003

SG Rating: 7.3331

Maximum rate: $282.45

55. Talking Rock

Chase, BC

Graham Cooke/Wayne Carleton, 2007

SG Rating: 7.3307

Maximum rate: $89.25

56. Gallagher’s Canyon

Kelowna, BC

Bill Robinson, 1990

SG Rating: 7.3283

Maximum rate: $156.45

57. Greater Niagara

Niagara Falls, Ont.

Rees Jones, 2005

SG Rating: 7.3185

Maximum rate: $129.95

58. Upstairs Stream

Campbell River, BC

The Furbers, 1989

SG Rating: 7.3171

Maximum rate: $83.95

59. The Bond Head Club—South

Bond Head, Ont.

Michel Hurdzan, 2005

SG Rating: 7.3077

Maximum rate: $141.25

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