Course Review – Carleton Golf & Yacht Club

logoCarleton Golf & Yacht Club is a fine golf course with a great atmosphere. Take away the extremely well maintained grounds and the lack of crowds and it would fit in well with the semi private and public courses scattered throughout the outskirts of Ottawa, and that is what makes it great. It doesn’t feel like a private club, which is not a criticism, but a compliment to its authenticity. I have played private clubs that make sure you know they are private, I have played public courses that try very hard and sometime very successfully to provide you the private club experience. Carleton is a private club with all the amenities one would expect, but with the charm of your local muni.

Location:

6627 Marina Drive, Manotick, Ontario K4M 1B3

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Course Designer:

Unsure. I wasn’t able to track this info down from their website. I am sure someone out there knows.

Year Opened:

The course opened in 1963 as the Rideau Carelton Golf & Yacht Club.

Cost: $$

While I am told it is one of the more affordable private clubs in the Ottawa area I am not entirely sure that price points as they are not publicly listed.

The guest fees were $70 CDN, but you can access the course as a member of ClubEG (a third party golf club that has arrangements with 50 or so Ottawa area courses) for $50.

Scorecard:

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Favorite Hole:

While the course isn’t a scenic gem by any stretch of the imagination, they do have several really well designed holes. My favorite would have to be the par 4 3rd. Not only is it a pretty hole, it is also a hole that really makes you think off the tee.

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Why I would go back:

If I lived closer I would highly consider joining. Alas, I am a solid 45 minutes in good traffic, so its not in the cards.

I just really like the atmosphere. Also, the course sets up nicely for my game and the two times I have played there have been duds, so getting back to go low would be fun.

Interesting Fact:

Although the course sits along the Rideau river, there are no holes directly beside the river.

Photos:

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Ratings:

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Bucket List = How high on my list of courses to play

Overall I really liked the course and look forward to getting back there in the future.

My only complaint of the facility was the practice range, which was very small and only had mats vs natural turf. With that said, it was still a spot to warm up.

See you at the turn,

Brewcee

 

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Course Review – Brudenell River Golf Course

brudenell-logo1One of PEI’s finest, Brudenell River is a very playable course, offering opportunities and challenges to all skill levels.

Location:

The course is part of the Brudenell River Resort, along with its sister course Dundarave.

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Brudenell River Golf Course is about 45min east of the Charlottetown Airport 

Course Designer: 

C. E. Robbie Robinson, the architect of many notable Canadian courses, including Hamilton Golf & Country Club. He also has designed two courses in my neck of the woods, Rideau View Golf & Country Club and Upper Canada Golf Course.

In addition to Brudenell, he has two other PEI courses to his credit, Stanhope Golf & Country Club and Mill River Golf Course.

Year Opened:

Brudenell opened in 1969 and was one of, if not the first 18 hole championships golf course on the island.

Cost: $$$

$80 CDN walking isn’t the most expensive round of golf I have ever played, but its definitely above average for me.

Scorecard:

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Favorite Hole:

The par 3 10th is a pretty cool hole and it advertised as their signature hole, but my favorite was actually the par 3 5th, with the water on your left, woods on the right and a stream in front of the green you didn’t have much option to bail out, you had to go for it.

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Why I would go back:

I made a couple of poor doubles on the front 9 that I would like back. The scenery was great and the course was fun to play.

Interesting Fact:

The course is set up as 6 par 4s, 6 par 3s and 6 par 5s, evenly split between the front and back 9s.

Photos:

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Ratings:

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Bucket List = How high on my list of courses to play.

Overall, I really liked Brudenell. I had wanted to play it for a while, so was happy to cross it off my list, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The only think I didn’t like about the course was the putting green, which was built on the side of a hill so had a huge slope to it, whereas most of the greens on the course were pretty flat.

See you at the turn.

Brewcee

 

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Course Review: The Links at Crowbush Cove

crowbush-logoFor a number of years, at least in my world, Thomas McBroom’s The Links at Crowbush Cove invoked a sense of grandeur when it was mentioned in conversation. People who played it were held in a higher regard to those who hadn’t. After opening in 1994, it gave PEI that last piece to become a golf destination, not just for Canadians, but for the world. The critics also loved it, Golf Digest gave it a 5 star rating and it spent more than a decade (or two) being ranked as one of the top courses in Canada by most Golf publications. In a nutshell, through the 90s and early 2000s, The Links of Crowbush Cove was what Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs are to Canadian golf in 2016.

Not everyone has always loved the course, some calling it overrated, many calling it difficult and over the years a bit of its luster has worn off. The fact that the Province of PEI has been trying to sell it for a number of years without being able to, hasn’t helped its image (although I am not sure if that really hurts it either). Earlier this summer, ScoreGolf ranked it 33rd in its bi annual top 100 courses in Canada. In 2015, it was ranked 9th in the ScoreGolf top 59 public courses in the country. 

The par 72 course plays from just over 5,000 yards to just under 7,000 yards and is rated at 74.9 with a slope of 146 from the back tees (going all the way down to 67.4/107 from the forward tees). While it is called a links course, and it is situated along the ocean (technically the gulf of st.lawrence), I wouldn’t really classify it as a links course when compared to a Cabot or St.Andrews. Crowbush spends a good portion of its routing in the trees, a few holes have fairly tight fairways. My best description would be a kind of hybrid taking both elements of links golf and parklands golf.screenshot-peisfinestgolf-com-2016-09-09-09-47-23

  Getting There

Although PEI as a whole isn’t very big, you could say, relatively speaking, that Crowbush is off the beaten path. You could say most places in PEI are off the beaten path as well.

About 30 minutes from Charlottetown and around an hour from the bridge that brings to PEI from the “main land”, The Links at Crowbush Cove is situated in Morell, or West St. Peter’s or Lakeside, depending on who you speak to, however its mailing address is Morell (which if you ask me is actually about 15 minutes down the rd).

Luckily we are in the golden age of gps. I suggest you use it for this trip.

The Clubhouse

Perched on top of a hill, with the 1st tee, 5th green, 6th tee, 9th green, and 18th green surrounding it, the clubhouse is clearly a focal point of the entire property.

While I haven’t spent much time in the clubhouse, I do know that the second level offers some great views of the property. The only thing they missed in my opinions was not making the second level patio wrap around he entire building, which would have provided some great views of the entire course.

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The 5th green with the clubhouse in the background

 The Course

As a repeat customer I knew what to expect of the course, and was not disappointing. Crowbush is a well maintained, impeccably manicured work of golf art, with few details missed.

The fairways were lush, the green receptive and the rough, well rough.

As mentioned in the opening, it is not a true links course and a number of holes play almost parkland like. However, for the most part the course is open. Fairways are wide, but generally well protected by bunkers. Greens are relatively flat, many are elevated, and well protected by bunkers.

Both the front and back nines feature challenges and some reward holes, but holes 5 – 8 are a crazy stretch of holes, which I believe tip the scales of difficulty in favor of the front 9.

The 5th is a long par 5 with water to the left of the green and a nasty set of pot bunkers behind it. The green itself is very narrow making for a touch approach shot, even with a wedge in your hand. The 6th is a par 3 over a marsh. All carry, 191 yards from the back tees. The 7th is a really nice golf hole. Off the tee you have a 200 or so yard carry over water, leaving you with an uphill shot into a green perched on the edge of the property, with the ocean in the background.

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The 7th green at Crowbush

The stretch of holes ends with the 8th. A 219 yard par 3, all carry over water, with the ocean to your right, when the wind blows it makes for a tough task.

Although there are a number of really nice golf holes at Crowbush, the signature hole has to be the par 5 11th. The back tees are so elevated that you get a good view of a significant portion of the property and you turn around to see nothing but ocean for as far as the eye can see. It is pretty impressive to say the least. The hole itself is nightmarishly hard. Assuming you hit a decent tee that doesn’t find one of the fairway bunkers you now are faced with a second shot that will likely be a minimum of a 200 yard carry over a hazard or to lay up and try for the green with your third from 200+ yards. There really is no good option.

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The par 5 11th. Photo Credit: Golf Course Gurus. http://www.golfcoursegurus.com

In addition to the somewhat majestic and most certainly difficult holes that Crowbush features, it does also feature some fairly straight forward holes that require good shots, but aren’t super punishing when you miss.

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The par 4 15th. A more or less straight forward par 4, with some nice views of the beach of water near the green.

The only disappointment I had with the course was the green speeds. For whatever reason, could have just been the fact it was late in the day, the greens were rolling somewhat slow, probably somewhere around a 8 – 9. I would have expected much faster greens from Crowbush.

Practice Facility

Crowbush features a full range and a large putting green. While I wouldn’t consider  it a world class practice facility, it is definitely more than adequate for a pre round warm up or to  get in some practice.

Bits and Bites

  • I played the tips for the first time. It was interesting.
  • The course got the better of me once again. I have yet to break 85 at Crowbush, which I find insane, and yet its a reason to go back.
  • Pace of play on the back 9 was dreadful. I was  paired with another single and teeing off at 5, we knew we would have to hustle. We played the front in about an hour and a half, but when we got to the 13th hole we ran into a group, who was waiting on a group on the fairway. By the time we got to 16, there were 3 groups on the tee, one on the fairway and one on the green. We finished 18 just as dusk turned to darkness.

See you at the turn,

Brewcee

PS –  I have some reviews coming up of Carleton Golf and Yacht Club in Ottawa, Brudenell River Golf Course in PEI,  and Doon Valley Golf Course in Kitchener, ON.

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2016 Metcalfe Golf Club Championships

img_0448Its that time of year again, club championship season. In the Ottawa area most clubs host their championships during the month of August, with a few waiting until after labour day.

My home club, Metcalfe Golf & Country Club, hosted its championships last weekend. I entered the event as defending champion and looking for my 3rd  Championship at the club (also won in 2010).

I have a history of playing inconsistently, in general, but also specifically at our club championships. In 2010 I shot a 78 on day one to open up a huge lead, only to shoot 87 in the pouring rain on day 2 and win by 1. In 2011 fell way back on day 1 with an 86, only to shoot 75 on day 2 (finished 3rd). My play got a bit more consistent in 2012 (78, 76) 2014 (78, 79) and 2015 (79, 80), but overall I am still good for a high round once in a while.

Registration was down for the Club Champs this year, and even though the field in the A flight is always small, it was especially small this year with only 5 players signing up (in reality the club has less than 10 A players in total). Although the field was small, there were some solid guys teeing it up, including a new member who carries a 4.5 index (to my 5.3) and would be the favorite on paper.

As with last year, I wasn’t coming into the tournament with a lot of practice. I had just returned from family vacation in PEI where I did play twice, but would hit my first tee shot without playing a hole of golf in a week. The lack of preparation showed as I sent my opening tee shot into the woods on the right, which is basically jail since the hole is a severe dogleg right. Surprisingly I punched out, hit to the green and made a 20 footer for par.

I doubled 4, but birdied 5 and made it around the front 9 in 3 over 38. All was good until I hit my second on 10, into the woods, an unplayable and poor wedge shot later I leave the green with a triple. I came to 18 at 8 over for the day and really didn’t want to walk off with an 80, given how well I had played, minus one hole. The par 5 18th is not overly long, but requires a good tee shot as a hazard down the left and a blind shot down the right can lead to some big numbers. At 140 yards out from the green there is a creek and beyond the creek the fairway narrows considerably and anything left of right is woods bound. The green slopes fairly severely from back to front, and the front left of the green can be nasty, so of course this is where the pin is on Day 1.  I played the hole just about as good as one can, drive down left side, hybrid 30 yards short of green, chip to just below the hole and tap in for birdie. A 79 on day 1 had me feeling pretty good.

To my surprise, I was the overnight leader by 2.

The rain rolled in overnight and it was still raining when I woke up Sunday morning. Day 2 was going to be a grind. I also knew that I was prepared and experienced playing in bad weather, so it would be to my advantage.

When I arrived at the course for Day 2, expecting a 12:30 tee time I was informed that due to the rain the morning tee times had been cancelled and the second round would be a shotgun start at 12:15, when the weather was suppose to be better.

In addition to the rain overnight, the A flight lost one player, meaning only 4 were left and we would play as a foursome on Day 2 (normally we play as threesomes). We started on the par 4 4th. I found it a bit strange they didn’t have the final groups of the men’s and women’s tournament start on 1, but it was what it was.

The second round started fairly quietly, I made pars on 4, 5, 6, 7 and my lead was maintained at 2. The rain started on the 7th green. By the 8th tee it was a downpour that wouldn’t stop until the 14th hole. I bogeyed 8 and my lead was down to 1. Following the 9th, playing poorly and soaking wet, two of the competitors called it quits. On 12 I hit my second well over the green, leading to a bogey and we were all tied. On the par 3 13 I made a good 2 putt par, and my competitor made a bogey after finding the bunker (the very wet bunker) with his tee shot. On 14 we both hit poor approach shots, I chipped to a foot and made par, he made a bogey, 2 shot lead restored. We both hit bad tee shots on 15, I would salvage a bogey, he made a double, 3 up. We both parred 16 and bogeyed 17. I would par 18 and he made a bogey giving me a 4 stroke lead with 3 to play. The last 3 holes we played identical, bogey, bogey, par. With a par on 3 (my 18th), I carded a 78 and won my third Metcalfe Golf & Country Club Championship.

Someone took a photo, if I ever get my hands on it I will post it.

Next up is the Ottawa Valley Golf Association Tournament of Champions on September 26th at Greyhawk. 

See you at the turn,

Brewcee

 

 

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The par 4 18th at Brudenell River Golf Course

A full review is coming (sometime), but for now, join me as I play the 18th at Brudenell River Golf Course in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

 

Not the best cinematic experience, but hopefully gives you a bit of a sense of the course.

See you at the turn,

Brewcee

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