Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 17, 2022
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A Golfer's Dream

Here's our pick of the best

This traditional Scottish links course, framed by the rugged Atlantic coastline and the Cape Breton Highlands, was designed and built in 1939 by Stanley Thompson. The late, great George Knudson used to stroll the fairways without his clubs just to savour the scenery. Golf magazine rated this national treasure 57th in the world. Green fees are $61. Tel: (800) 565-0444.

The trembling mountain has its own green giant. One wouldn't describe Mont Tremblant's Le GÄant as gentle, but what fun it is trying to conquer this well-groomed colossus with two man-made lakes and 52 pure white sand traps. Canadian architect Thomas McBroom, who has melded the course into the Laurentian terrain, gave Le Géant a classical feel with spacious and long bent-grass fairways and challenging split-level plateaus. Take an energy bar before teeing up on the 17th. Nearby is Tremblant's sister course, Le Diable, where Mike Weir won last summer's Skins Game. Just down the road at Gray Rocks, La Belle and La Bête are also courses to be reckoned with. "Big Four" packages, including condo accommodation and golf at the four courses, start at $110 per person, per night. Tel: (800) 461-8711.

This is truly a hidden and polished gem in the middle of craggy Canadian Shield cottage country. So far, owners Bryan and Julie Leggett have only built nine holes, but this course is so gorgeous you'll want to play it twice. The bent-grass greens, fairways and tees are meticulously maintained. You'll find freshly painted Muskoka chairs and masses of blooms tumbling out of flower boxes on every hole. The red-roof clubhouse even serves cappuccino and biscotti, not something you usually find at a golf course, let alone in the middle of Muskoka. Green fees are $35 and up. Tel: (705) 385-2222.

Okay, it's not going to make it onto an "A" list in Golf Digest, but it's smack in the middle of Toronto and run by Metro Parks, so it's convenient and cheap. Designed in 1956 by Howard Watson, the course follows the Don Valley ravine and it'll challenge even a low handicapper, especially The Signature par-5, 12th tee, followed by Hallelujah Corner, an elevated par-3 over water. You can walk, pull or drive. Did I mention it's hilly? At the end of 18 holes there's a rope tow to help haul you up the final slope. At Don Valley, it's the early bird that gets the tee time, so call at the crack of dawn every day and up to a week in advance. Green fees are $35 and up. Tel: (416) 392-2465.

Perched on the edge of the Rockies between Banff and Calgary, SilverTip in Canmore, AB bills itself as "extreme mountain golf." Even the carts here are built for mountain climbing as they come equipped with retarder brakes. And the garbage cans are bear-proof. Designed by Les Furber, this new par-72 course covers over 180 metres of elevation. Bring your camera, as each hole is postcard sensational and wildlife abounds. When I played here last summer, a black bear ambled out of the trees and casually crossed the driving range. Green fees are $75 and up with a cart. Tel: (877) 877-5444.

"We listened to the land and harmonized with nature," said its creator, Robert Trent Jones Jr. Carved out of Blackcomb Mountain, this majestic course is a marvel of engineering. It traverses gushing streams, granite rock faces and steep ledges that would challenge most mountain goats. What appears to be a rugged monster, is in fact eminently playable for golfers of all levels. On board every cart, (yes, you must take one and you'll be glad you did) is a "Satellite Caddie" -- a computerized yardage indicator that also passes along messages and provides menu suggestions. The service here is top-notch, right down to blankets and hot coffee on nippy days. Green fees are $125 and up with a cart. Tel: (604) 938-2092.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


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