COVID-19 has made for a strange year bringing into question what the future will look like when it comes to our daily lives, routines, professional sports and large gatherings in general. With the U.S. continuing to battle through this unprecedented pandemic, Canada seems to be “flattening the curve” at a faster pace than our neighbours to the south.
With that in mind, let’s take a break from the craziness and day dream for a minute about a potential albeit bizarre situation: what if Canada had to host all four men’s major championships in golf in a single year?
Here’s where each major should go if they all came to Canada.
The Masters: Capilano Golf & Country Club
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Stanley Thompson (1937)
Nobody’s style of golf course architecture is closer to Alister Mackenzie than Stanley Thompson’s. Artistic bunkering, interesting routings and occasional over the top green movements are trademarks. Alister and Stanley also shared an interest in creating risk-reward scenarios meant to tempt golfers into making risky decisions (interesting to note that Mackenzie was quite fond of Thompson’s work). With The Masters roars being a staple of the event, Capilano has the variety in holes to create a similar dynamic given Thompson’s short par 5’s and long par 3’s. And with the iconic five hole finishing stretch wrapped around the base of Capilano’s stunning clubhouse, coming down the stretch would be as exciting as anywhere in the country. Add to that the beautiful setting and views of Vancouver and Capilano is an ideal choice to host The Masters.
Other options: Le Club de Golf Memphremagog, The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course, Calgary Golf & Country Club, Le Club de Golf Laval-Sur-Le-Lac (Blue).
US Open: St. George’s Golf & Country Club
Stanley Thompson, Robbie Robinson, Tom Doak & Ian Andrew (1929)
St. George’s is the best test of golf in Canada demanding various types of shots in a round. High, low, draw, fade, awkward lies and different styles of pitches/bunker shots are necessary here. The US Open’s most successful and interesting events tend to be at the most historic venues such as Shinnecock Hills, Oakmont and Pebble Beach, and no course in Canada is as historic or has as much pedigree as this perennial World Top 100. Combining that with the test that St. George’s can provide on a day-to-day basis, and the USGA at the helm of the setup, Stanley Thompson’s tournament venue would be an admirable host of the US Open in Canada.
Other Options: Toronto Golf Club, The Glencoe Golf & Country Club (Forest), Eagle’s Nest Golf Club, Hamilton Golf & Country Club (West/South)
The Open: Cabot Links
Inverness, Nova Scotia
By definition, Cabot Links is the only true authentic links in Canada ( there are only five in all of North America: Pacific Dunes, Bandon Dunes, Old MacDonald, Cabot Links, and Highlands Links in Massachusetts). Rod Whitman’s genius is on full display here. Gently rolling along the seaside, the sandy terrain provides a surprisingly stern challenge, especially with the ever present ocean wind. Given its proximity to the water, the type weather you could get on Cape Breton Island, and how firm the turf conditions could get, you’d be able to convince viewers you’re in Inverness, Scotland not Inverness, Nova Scotia.
Other Options: Devil’s Paintbrush, Wolf Creek Golf Resort (Links), Dakota Dunes Golf Links, Tarandowah Golfers Club
PGA Championship: Mickelson National Golf Club
Rick Smith (for Phil Mickelson Design)
The newest course in Canada, Mickelson National has “big, modern tournament” written all over it. In recent years, the PGA of America has gone to bigger golf courses to accommodate the space required to host such a large event, and Mickelson National has space. Calgary would provide a welcomed ruckus environment, and passionate golf fans would be the highlight of the event. With a golf course stretching to 8,000 yards and a variety of interest tee-to-green — including two drivable par 4’s — it would remove the stigma that the PGA Championship is the least interesting major and be a “hello world” moment for one of Canada’s most dynamic tournament venues.
Other Options: Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club, The National Golf Club of Canada, Royal Montreal Golf Club (Blue), Beacon Hall Golf Club
Where do you think the four majors should go if they were to be hosted in Canada?
Let us know in the comments!