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.


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.


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.


The par 5 11th. Photo Credit: Golf Course Gurus.

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.


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,


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,




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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,


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2016 Flagstick Open Amateur Championships 2016-07-27 08-48-59

logo2A bit of a delayed post, but a few weekends back was Flagstick Open here in Ottawa. Hosted annually over two days at eQuinelle Golf Club ,the event, previously part of the now defunct BMG Cup Series, attracts most of the top players in the region and 2016 was no exception.

2016 marked a new direction for the event as a new partnership was formed with Adidas Golf Canada and Taylormade Golf Canada, replacing Nike Golf as the events main sponsor.

One of the things I like about the event is that they flight it based on the field, not pre set handicap ranges. Which means that depending on the depth of field you could be in different flights each year regardless of whether or not your handicap has changed.

2016 marked my fourth time playing the event. In 2013 I finished 2nd in C flight with scores of 74, 81. In 2014 I finished 2nd in C Flight with scores of 82, 75. In 2015 I struggled in B Flight with scores of 95, 79 and finished 24th. For 2016 I would be playing in B Flight and given that the cut off between A and B was around a 2.5 index, I was going to be in tough with my 6.7.

The previous week I had put together a strong performance at OVGA Intersectionals, posting a 78 at Upper Canada Golf Course (course review to come), so I knew my game was capable of putting up half decent numbers. Round 1 started better than most as I was -1 standing on the 9th tee. A bogey on 9 (a great bogey when you consider I hit my tee shot into a hazard) brought me back to even par. I made some good pars on the back along with 2 bogeys and came to 18th tee at 2 over for the day. Two solid shots on the par 5 set me up with a short pitch and a 5 footer for birdie. The putt dropped and I was home with a 73. As we were only the second group of B Flight on the course I had to wait a while to see where my score would put me on the leaderboard. I sat on top for a while, but in the last few groups there was a 72 and a 68, putting me in third. Still, I would play in the final group on Sunday.


The par 5 18th at eQuinelle. Photo Credit to eQuinelle Golf Club

I have come into final rounds before with a lead, or a chance to win and played really conservatively or nervously and it didn’t end well. But on Sunday I felt really comfortable and I think it had a bit to do with the fact that the guys in my group were, without a doubt, much better all around players than I was. By freeing myself from thinking I could beat them, it helped me play better, and it gave me a chance.

My Sunday didn’t start as good as my Saturday. I made a crappy bogey on 1, needed a long par save on 2, another long par save on 4, before another bogey on 5. I made a great birdie from a bunker on 6 and came to 9 at 1 over. A bogey on 9 for the second day in a row gave me a 38 on the front. The guy who 72 on day 1 was also 38 on the front, so I was only one behind him. The guy who shot 68 on day one, was 34 on the front, no one was catching him (in B Flight at least).

My back 9 started with a poor bogey on 10, but then I holed out a bunker shot for eagle on the par 5 11th. I gave those strokes back with a double on the long par 3 13th. Pars on 14, 15, 16 had me at 3 over for the day. I poor drive and failed up and down on 17 cost me another strokes, but I bounced back with another birdie on 18 for a 75.

Rounds of 73, 75 for a 148 is my best two day total in competitive play ever, but it still wasn’t enough. I was a mile behind the leader (he would shoot 67 for a 135 total), but only 1 behind second on the 18th tee. On the 18th green, I had a 2 footer for birdie, but he drained a 15 footer for birdie to secure 2nd place. Overall I was T11, while the winner of B Flight was 2nd overall, he lost the overall title by 2 strokes (winner shot 68, 65).


Adidas Tour 360 Boost

Adidas Golf Canada and Taylormade Golf Canada really stepped up with some great prizing. For 3rd in B Flight I walked away with a pair of Adidas Tour 360 Boost shoes. First place was a Taylormade M1 fairwaywood and 2nd was a Taylormade M1 hybrid.

As always, the crew at Flagstick Golf Magazine did an amazing job putting on the event. The value of this event is really unmatched by any competitive golf I have previously played. Also, the staff at eQuinelle did a great job having the course in top form and providing a great meal on the Saturday night.

Three 2nd place finishes in four years ain’t bad. Pretty sure I am keeping my calendar open for this event next year.

See you at the turn,



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Course Review – Club de Golf La Prairie

I have spent a fair bit of time over the last decade on the south shore of Montreal where my in-laws live. I have played a bunch of golf over the years in the area, but only recently did I venture over to  Club de Golf La Prairie , which sits a mere 10 minutes from my in-laws place. I didn’t know much about the course before playing it, had no clue what type of conditions I would find, but the website looked nice, so thought I would check it out.

It turns out Club de Golf La Prairie is a pretty nice facility, really nice actually, althoigh it is the only golf course I have ever played with a parkade and an entrance that looks less like a golf course and more like a shopping centre or the entrance to the downtown of a small town.


The entrance way to Golf La Prairie


Park your car and grab a free pull cart in the parkade


Originally built in 1964 it went through major renovations between 2002 and 2009 to become the course it is today. I imagine in the 60s and 70s the course was “out in the country” but today its definitely in the city with houses, condos, shopping plazas and a major roadway all close by.

The 18 hole par 72 course plays between 6006 and 6732 yards and features 72 bunkers and water on 16 of 18 holes. It is rated quite hard from the back tees at 72.3/130, and mildly difficult from the middle tees at 70.6/127. 2016-07-13 22-47-10.png

Getting There


Club de Golf La Prairie is conveniently located on the south shore of Montreal in the community of La Prairie, which is essentially directly south of highway 10 just off highway 134, otherwise known as Boulevard Taschereau.

The Clubhouse

I got a very banquet hall mixed with shopping centre feel from the clubhouse, which may be a result of the parkade.

The clubhouse is very modern, with high ceilings and a big foyer and staircase leading to a second floor restaurant. The proshop was very small, almost as if it wasn’t the main reason for the clubhouse.


The putting green with the clubhouse in the background

The Course


I was pleasantly surprised by the course. For whatever reason I wasn’t expecting much, but the layout was very enjoyable and challenging, with a lot of risk reward opportunities, especially from the middle tees. The course wasn’t tight and for the most part you could grip it and rip it, but the risk of water on most holes made you think twice about the wide open fairways. The layout did make for some long walks between holes, but nothing too excessive.


The opening hole, seemingly wide open, but water on the right, and a green well protected by bunkers. It would become a theme for the day.

Course conditions were impressive. I played in mid June and the course was very lush. The rough was thick, which made hitting fairways a priority. The only complaint I had about the course conditions were the bunkers, which had too much sand and very fluffy, making hitting out of 1 of the 72 bunkers a challenge.


The par 4 5th

The greens were medium to large in size, relatively flat and in god shape. They rolled true, but the speed was somewhat inconsistent. almost as if some had been cut and others not. With that said, they were very receptive to approach shots, which was good.


The par 4 3rd green. The #1 handicap hole on the course


The short par 4 6th, is just about driveable, but watch out for the bunkers. 


The par 4 8th


The par 5 9th

The back 9 is shorter and should play easier than the front as there a couple holes that you can hit driver and be left with a wedge into the green. But, there are also a couple of holes that can get you on the back 9, mainly 16 which seems short and harmless, until you get to the green. I hit an uphill putt from the left side that more or less came back at me the green is slow slanted from right to left.


The par 4 10th


The par 4 11th is one of the longer par 4’s on the course.


The par 5 15th. A good tee shot and it can be reachable in two. A bad or just ok tee shot and it can be a risky shot to go for it with water on left and bunkers all around the green area.


The par 4 16th. The green looks pretty harmless from here. 

The par 3 17th is without a doubt the signature hole of the course. While part of me thinks the condos ruin a great looking hole, another part of me thinks they add a unique element of nature meeting civilization. Regardless of whether you like the visual of the hole, it is a tough golf hole. Downhill, over water, with a bunker right smack in the middle of the bail out area. The green slopes towards the water, so getting it close requires a shot to the right side of the green.


The par 3 17th


The 18th is a short par 5, that has a large dogleg that requires a good draw tee shot if you want any chance of going for it in two.

Practice Facility

Club de Golf La Prairie has a really nice practice facility. Not overly large, but big enough and nice and close to the club house.

The practice area consists of a large putting green, a short game area with bunker and a driving range.


Short Game area with practice bunker


Driving Range. They have option of mats or grass tees.

Bits and Bites

  •  I think Club de Golf La Prairie really deserves a closer look when we talk about top courses. It is definitely in the underrated category for me, considering I knew nothing about it and had been a regular in the area for a decade.
  • I didn’t have a particularly good day, making a birdie on 18 to shoot 83.
  • I booked the first tee time of the day as a solo, but ended up getting paired up, which was ok. I had asked when I called if I would be able to tee off before the first time of the day, which I was told I could. However, upon arrival I was told I would have to wait for the starter to open the tee for the day. It was a little disappointing to have to wait, but even in a foursome we played in under 4 hours, which was nice.

See you at the turn,


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