There’s no denying the quality of golf courses available in Canada, but we do not compare to our neighbours to the south (we don’t even spell the word “neighbour” the same way). Canada’s list of championship caliber golf courses is sadly limited. We lack the Winged Foot’s, Oakmont’s, Olympic Club’s or Pinehurst’s that the United States seem to have plenty of, and so Canadian Open venues are difficult to come by.
Without a venue set for 2022 or after 2024, Golf Canada has a problem: where should the RBC Canadian Open go?
We’ve seen it at 36 different golf courses over its 100+ year history, and upcoming hosts St. George’s and Hamilton have it locked up in 2021, 2023 and 2024. But where should it go after those historic golf courses?
Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club
Vancouver, British Columbia
A.V. Macan, Les Furber, Jeff Mingay
When Shaughnessy hosted in 2011 TOUR Players fell in love with the golf course. Many included it it in their top 10 favourite venues next to the likes of Augusta National, Aronimink, Congressional, Riviera, and more. The winning score was high, showing not all golf courses are pushovers in Canada, and it brings our Open back to one of Canada’s most beautiful places — Vancouver.
Mississaugua Golf & Country Club
George Cumming, Stanley Thompson, Geoffroy Cornish, Bill Robinson, Graham Cooke, Doug Carrick
RBC wants courses close to Toronto, and Mississaugua, one of the older, more well-respected golf courses in the GTA is a perfect marriage. It’s big and brawny, as well as difficult, weaving its way along the Credit River. The back nine in particular would make for a compelling finish. Add to the argument that Mississauagua is blessed with a large practice facility and it could be a home run.
Club de Golf Laval-sur-le-Lac (Blue)
Ian Andrew & Mike Weir
Laval is another modern golf course with aspirations of hosting the RBC Canadian Open. There were talks that the 2017 Canadian Open would be held here, but that fizzled out quickly. Laval’s Blue course is a big and stylish ode to the Melbourne Sandbelt courses that would provide risk, reward and creativity for spectators. It’s another big club with an additional 18 holes to accommodate the extra space required by an event this big. It’s a shame Golf Canada didn’t go here in 2017… let’s hope there’s one in store for the future.
Beacon Hall Golf Club
Bob Cupp & Thomas McBroom
At 7200 yards, Beacon Hall isn’t the beefiest course on this list, but there’s an argument it’s among the prettiest. With the two 9’s split between North Carolina Dogwoods and wispy, prairie-like faux-links land, Beacon Hall would pop on TV and for spectators alike. The course is no pushover and would provide excellent drama with a couple of reachable par 5’s. The finishing stretch, highlighted by the 240 yard par 3, 16th, would be a compelling end to our National Open.
Glencoe Golf & Country Club (Forest)
Robert Trent Jones Jr.
A perennial Top 100 in Canada, Glencoe is one of the hardest golf courses in the country topping out at 7500 yards. It’s home to the Glencoe Invitational, featuring some of North America’s best amateurs, and usually holds its own. Logistically, it’s a home run, just off Highway 8, with 45 holes to accommodate the vendors and uptick in traffic on property, and has one of Canada’s best practice facilities. Having a tournament in Cow Town could provide a rowdy environment akin to New York, too.
Eagle’s Nest Golf Club
Like Calgary’s Mickelson National, Eagle’s Nest is a big, modern playground that provides some wonderful spectator views atop high, man-made dunes. It’s a difficult Doug Carrick design and certainly a stiff test around the greens. Pushing 7500 yards, it packs a punch, especially coming down the stretch. It could make for a very interesting Open and is close to everyone in the GTA.
Le Club de Golf Memphrémagog
At 7500 yards, this ultimate private playground designed by Tom McBroom has just 46 members and is among the hardest tests of golf in the country. With some of the most movement you will find in any set of modern greens in Canada, it’s a bit of a long shot given how exclusive it is and its remote location south of Sherbrooke. That said an event here would surely be one worth watching.
Perhaps the one course on this list the Canadian Open should genuinely consider going to is Coppinwood. It is a massive facility with lots of space and is home to one of the countries very best practice facilities. The golf course is impressive, but while it boasts the length to host the Canadian Open at nearly 7600 yards, it’s a bit far from downtown Toronto. But the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Capilano Golf & Country Club
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Stanley Thompson, Doug Carrick
Sure, Capilano isn’t the longest or hardest course on this list, but what’s more magical than bringing the world’s best to one of Canada’s most idyllic settings? Set on the banks of West Vancouver overlooking the downtown skyline, all of Stanley Thompson’s best design elements can be found here. Capilano is undoubtedly one of Canada’s best. There’s enough defense here to not embarrass the golf course, and its strong closing holes and slippery green complexes are sure to present a challenge. Admittedly, this is a bit of a long shot, especially when it comes to logistics.
Oakdale Golf & Country Club
Stanley Thompson, Ian Andrew
Rumours have been swirling for months about a 2022 and 2026 bid for Oakdale’s Thompson/Homenuik 18 hole routing to host a Canadian Open. It checks a lot of boxes for Golf Canada and RBC: inner-city, old school classic golf course, Stanley Thompson, and with a fair bit of space being 27 holes.
Mickelson National Golf Club
Opening in 2020, Mickelson National is an absolute beast of a golf course, with tee boxes as far as 8000 yards. Granted, you’re at Calgary elevation, but there’s a couple monster 540 and 550 yard par 4’s, and a par 5 at 680! The course, designed by Rick Smith, was built for tournaments, and would be among the best spectator courses in Canada with high dunes in various spots. With the ground game encouraged, this is Canada’s version of Chambers Bay…hopefully without the greens fiasco, though.
Cherry Hill Club
Fort Erie, Ontario
Walter Travis, Ian Andrew
The flattest course on this list, Cherry Hill is a Walter Travis clinic on how to design an interesting golf course by creating incredible green complexes. The club prides itself on the firm and fast nature of the golf course, but with a big tournament they could really bake out the place and have it playing ridiculously tough. The small, contoured greens would provide a fair amount of defense, even given its benign 7000-yard length.
Toronto Golf Club
H.S. Colt, Martin Hawtree
Perhaps a bit short by today’s standards — no shorter than Hamilton — Toronto Golf Club is an exceptional golf course that could be the Merion for our Canadian Open. It’s a smaller site, but with the right conditions, it would more than hold its own. Like Merion, the architecture would be on full display. Logistically, it’s better than St. George’s having an extra nine holes on property for the much needed space, and it also has a big practice facility. Oh, and it’s close to downtown Toronto.
Tarandowah Golfers Club
Tarandowah is a place where if you know, you know. Thankfully, those who have been know how cool a Canadian Open at this firm and fast pseudo links would be. With bouncy turf, deep pot bunkers and a course hovering around 7100 yards, if the wind were to pick up, it would be incredibly difficult.
Royal Montreal Golf Club (Blue)
Île Bizard, Quebec
Dick Wilson, Rees Jones
Royal Montreal has hosted as recently as 2015, but there seems to be little talk about it returning. While logistics are a bit tough on Île Bizard, the club is big, sporting 45 holes, and the club is historic and well-respected (it’s the oldest golf club in North America). Rees Jones’ stern renovation buffed up Royal’s Blue course and it would surely be fun watching guys like Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson come down the stretch of an interesting back nine. It’s worth noting that rumours are saying Royal Montreal will host the 2024 President’s Cup, perhaps ending its chances of hosting a Canadian Open sometime soon.
The National Golf Club of Canada
George & Tom Fazio
Billed as one of the hardest courses in the nation, The National would be a course that could definitely defend par against the big boys. The club would certainly welcome the challenge given it was built to “Host a US Open on any given day.” The membership would have to allow women members for Golf Canada to be comfortable going here, but George Fazio’s design north of Toronto features some of the most difficult two-shotters in the country. It would be interesting to see how modern tour players battle this golf course.
Where would you like to see the Canadian Open go? A long shot like Banff? Maybe Cabot? Or perhaps a smaller city venue like Blackhawk (Edmonton) or Ottawa Hunt? How about a trip to cottage country and Muskoka Bay or show off Halifax at The Links at Brunello?
Have your say in the comments below!