Prince Edward Island
Thousands of people visit the northern United States and Canada during the spectacular “fall” season, when the leaves change to dramatic colours. Golds, reds, yellows and oranges all mix to form the most amazing backdrop, and golf courses, with their myriad trees, are a great place to be in early October. Be sure to visit Prince Edward Island, Canada’s top golf destination with almost half a million visitors a year.
Mill River Resort: In the far west of the island, about a 90-minute drive from Charlottetown, is one of the area’s best golf hotels, with excellent leisure facilities and a very good course. Tree-lined for most of its length with fairways that gently curve, this is another fine test of your skill and patience. The secret lies in hitting long, straight tee-shots.
Alberta is another prime destination for Canadian golf courses. Around Calgary there are about a dozen or so golf hotels now as that city, riding the economic success of beef and oil, expands at an alarming rate.
Kananaskis : A beautiful Delta golf hotel and lodge, with superb dining facilities and a very fun bar. It also has two of the best golf courses in Canada, both designed by the late Robert Trent Jones Sr. The Rockies are full of fast-running streams flowing off the mountains, so water comes into play on many holes of this 36-hole layout. The two courses are named after the mountains at either end of the valley in which Kananaskis basks, Mount Kidd and Mount Lorette. Both are superb. It’s little wonder that this facility has been named as North America’s best 36-hole layout.
Nothing beats the solitude, quiet and lush greenery of a country golf course. Most days, on the public courses in the Margaret River wine region in the southwest of Western Australia, you can stroll down to the first tee and play on your own. Out here, even the kangaroos move languidly, in no hurry, and a kookaburra’s laugh sounds like a slow playing record.
Dunsborough Lakes: The Lakes is a championship course well within the reach of the weekend warrior. For an affordable price, little is lost for quality, and amazingly, the course is walking distance from the town centre. Members, who live in the many houses of this sub-division, their backyards jutting onto fairways, tees and greens, often start on the hole nearest to their back gate. If they’re barbecuing, they’ll raise a hand in greeting as you stroll past and will wish you an enjoyable round. It all adds up to a feeling of playing in someone’s backyard. The clubhouse is a popular tavern with a large patio, and even those who haven’t been on the links congregate here. The atmosphere is welcoming and informal – a rare thing on such a high quality course.
Tom Ingrams is a travel writer who specialises in the higher end of the market. On recent trips to Canada and Australia, he stayed in several of the very best golf hotels the two countries had to offer.