There are few courses in the world as idyllic and magical as Capilano and even less with a finishing hole as perfect as Stanley Thompson’s West Coast charmer.
In fact, the finishing six holes are amongst the best closing holes in the world of golf, wrapping around the English Tutor style clubhouse. There are few spots in Canada that churn up a feeling as special as here.
The finishing hole is one of two holes at ‘Cap’ that you can tell you’re dramatically playing uphill, and at 574 yards, it’s a stout closing three-shot hole. Shown below is the Google elevation profile showing the dramatic uphill nature of the hole.
The tee shot is one where brute force is required. A bunker left and four bunkers—three coupled together—paired with the tall, luscious evergreens, frame this tee shot. Another bunker on the left lurks in the distance, but shouldn’t come into play.
After the tee shot, in which you hope you hit a big, towering drive up the mountainside, the golfer then has a choice. Two bunkers split the fairway into two sections. The lower left section—the safe route—is far too inviting to be ignored. However, the upper right section, where the green complex will eventually conclude the round, sits above. From the fairway, only the two bunkers dividing the hole gives way to a guide on where the upper fairway sits. Local knowledge is key on the proper line, especially for those who feel they have a chance to get home in two.
From the lower fairway, a delicate, yet difficult uphill short iron or wedge awaits. The bunker short left of the green dictates the strategy coming in. If the pin is on the far right side of the green, down left isn’t so bad. However, anything on the left side will have to negotiate with the front bunker, making the final swing a difficult one.
From the upper fairway, it’s a much more gracious approach shot. From there, you’re welcomed by a wonderful view of the entire putting surface. No obstructions to navigate, just a green light situation to conclude.
This all unfolds at the base of the clubhouse. Looking back, an excellent view of the ground just covered awaits. The cherry on top, of course, is the setting in the mountains of West Vancouver. The view back never disappoints.
Capilano’s biggest strength is tackling dramatic elevation change on a severe property. Working its way down and back up close to 400 feet over the course of the round, on the 18th, you climb a total of 44 feet back to the clubhouse, marking a heroic conclusion to one of Canada’s elite golf courses.
Have you played Capilano? Let us know in the comments below! If you have a suggestion for a potential hole for Canada’s Great Golf Holes, let us know below as well!