Golf can be an expensive pastime—but it doesn’t need to be.
While the country is full of famed courses that can cost hundreds of dollars to play, there are plenty of opportunities to tip it up at courses that might wreck your scorecard, but won’t damage your credit card.
Here’s a selection of some of the best from Vancouver in the west to St. John’s in the east:
Kings Links (Delta, BC $50-$59)
There aren’t many deals to be had in Vancouver, where golf is generally pretty pricey, but this links-like course south of the city is one of the more intriguing offerings for those who like to play where the wind blows. If that isn’t to your tastes, Vancouver munis like McCleery and Fraserview are viable options with prices around $65 and below.
Wolf Creek Golf Resort—Links Course (Edmonton, AB $50-$60)
Created by Rod Whitman, the man behind Nova Scotia’s Cabot Links (now in the Top 100 in the world) Wolf Creek, a 36-hole facility, has been well regarded for decades. But it is Whitman’s second course—the Links— that really sets Wolf Creek, located about an hour south of Edmonton, apart. Easily walked, with wide fairways and blowout-style bunkers, the Links Course is one of the best public facilities in Alberta, and a steal at this price.
Dakota Dunes (Whitecap, Sask. $47-$60)
Take one of Canada’s greatest natural sites for golf and create a course where you can tip it up for $60 or less and you’re bound to have something worth travelling to play. Such is the case with Dakota Dunes, a course created on land owned by the Whitecap Dakota First Nation just outside Saskatoon, that is routed through incredible natural inland sand hills, making one of the country’s most intriguing locations for golf.
Course architects Graham Cooke and Wayne Carleton must have jumped at the opportunity to craft a course on such a stunning piece of property. Walkable, with a handful of thrilling holes, Dakota Dunes is one of the best values in Canada. It also plays host to a PGA Tour Canada event every year.
Waskesiu Golf Course, (Waskesiu, Sask. $57)
The wild rollercoaster fairways of Waskesiu make this course comparable in many ways to Highland Links, the famed Stanley Thompson design that sits perched at the north end of Cape Breton. Waskesiu may be short–playing just 6,300-yards long–but the remarkably uneven fairways and mature forest that has grown up around the course make it one of Canada’s best little-known tracks.
Links at Quarry Oaks (Steinbach, Man. $36-$44)
The Links at Quarry Oaks is a Les Furber design that found itself hamstrung by financial issues which led to multiple owners. Located just outside of Winnipeg, Quarry Oaks features 27 holes and had been the dream of former owner Harry Fehr, who aimed to create an amalgamation of quarry and links golf. The course, which tips out at 7,000 yards, recently changed hands, with the new owners saying they’ll return it to the conditions it was in during the early 1990s.
Tarandowah Golf Club (Avon, Ont. $40-$61)
Few thought Tarandowah would succeed. Situated 10 minutes south of Highway 401 between London and Woodstock, the course was the dream of the Row family, farmers with a vision to turn their rolling farmland into a golf course. It shouldn’t have worked–but it does. The Row family hired architect Martin Hawtree, largely unknown outside of his native United Kingdom, and told him to transform their Southern Ontario farm into a Scottish Heathlands gem. It took years to complete, but Tarandowah has been making believers of golfers since it first opened in 2007. Extremely walkable, Hawtree, who recently created Donald Trump’s course in Scotland, managed to create old school golf for modern times. Simply taking into account the quality of the course, there’s no better value in Ontario.
Ambassador Golf Club (Windsor, Ont. $45-$53)
A Tom McBroom course near the Canada-U.S. border that is both walkable and a great value. McBroom managed to create interest out of a nearly flat site, which has a number of intriguing holes, including a short four 15th, and closes with two big two-shot holes. If this course was anywhere but Windsor, you’d likely pay twice the price. As it is, grab your clubs, throw them over your shoulder and spoil a good walk at Ambassador.
Le Parcours Du Golf (Longueuil, PQ $47-$52 and $21 to $35 for 12 hole course)
An intriguing prospect—a 36-hole muni on the South Shore that has embraced golfing alternatives by transforming part of the course into a 12-hole loop by adding three par threes to an existing nine. Due to open soon, it gives golfers an alternative to long, 5-hour rounds that are common on munis.
Northumberland Links (Pugwash, N.S. $48)
Sitting in the shadow of Ron Joyce’s $55-million Fox Harb’r project, visitors to the donut king’s property often venture out to check out this fine hidden gem.Winds off the Northumberland Strait make Northumberland’s 6,100 yard par-72 layout a challenge on almost any day.
Originally opened in 1964, a second nine was added two decades later.
Northumberland is best known for its 174-yard par-3 fourth hole, which features an elevated green that plays along the rocky shoreline of the ocean.
Terra Nova Golf Resort (Port Blandford, Nfld. $51-$60)
Half of Terra Nova was created by Stanley Thompson protégé Robbie Robinson, while the course was finished by Robinson pupil Doug Carrick. A remarkable course that is hindered by its rural location two hours removed from St. John’s. But those fortunate to have an opportunity to play it find Terra Nova’s 6,500 yard layout to be a breathtaking mix of great golf and majestic scenery. The 18th, a par-3 in which players hit their tee shots over a rushing waterfall, is one of the best finishing holes in Canada.
© Shaw Media, 2014