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I was lucky enough to play The National a few years ago and it was truly a treat. I have to say it's my favorite that I've played yet. Would love to get to King Valley some time. A great course just north of the 401 in the Belleville area I stumbled on is Black Bear Ridge - beautiful place with reasonable rates and well worth the drive!
I haven't played a whole lot of courses but when my husband and I went to PEI for a golf vacation last fall we fell in love with Glasgow Hills. The service was second to none, the course was pristine and the views were spectacular. Not an easy course by any means but it was fun to play. We can't wait for a chance to go back.
Let's break it down to each category, as far as scenery goes Glen Eagles, King and Queens course and Bally Bunion, old and Cashen . Playing through the grass dunes ocean side at Ballybunion is spectacular. As far as atmosphere goes it is it is hard to beat the the electricity in the air standing at the first tee of the Old Course St Andrews with the R @A clubhouse behind you. Locally, my first criteria being walkable with no 200 to 600 yard walks ( or being part mountain goat) between tees. I do enjoy Rocky Crest, National Pines and Eagle creek.
Mike N...if you like timber, drive the extra half hour or so to black bear ridge - check it out online. Amazing course!!!
My favorite course of all time Oakmont near Pittsburgh....great scenery, design and clubhouse!
My favorite course would have to be Ospery Valley :)
I'll cast my vote for Royal Montreal. It's a beautiful setting, top notch practice facilities, great conditioning and clubhouse. It forces solid shots from all tees and all approaches. It looks rather gentle, but there aren't many good places to miss around the greens. Here's my favorite hole on the course - par 5 number 6.
Whisper Rock North, TPC Sawgrass, Beth Page Black, The National, St Georges...
But The Ocean Course in Kiawah is my favorite.
I have been very very fortunate over the last decade or so with where golf has taken me, I have had chances to play some very high end golf courses, some very prestigious and some very exclusive courses as well. In no particular order as there is just no way I can rank them here would be a bunch I have played and the reasons I like them.
Kiawah Ocean Course from the PGA Tees- very long course puts a premium on driving the ball well to give you the correct lines and distances into the greens. Plays close to 8000 yards and usually very windy.
Torrey Pines South - very very good layout, makes you think about a lot of shots and where to hit them, condition of this course was very very poor when I played it however.
St Andrews Old Course - home of golf what more can I say
Carnoustie - might be the toughest last 4 holes I've ever. Played with the wind into us on 16 and 18
Valderrama - very tough the first time you play it, have to hit tee shots to specific yardages to have proper shots into greens.
Hamilton G CC - puts a premium on playing the proper strategy off the tee.
Tobacco Road in NC- most fun I have had on a course, it's a little goofy in some spots but its a major risk reward golf course. Not long but a higher handicap can easily shoot 100 and a single digit can break par.
Pebble Beach - great views and lots of history
Spyglass - awesome layout. Wish there were more holes look at the ocean
The National NC
The National Golf Club of Canada
Devils Paintbrush and Pulpit
Ones that really shocked me this year were the Hoot and the heathlands at Osprey Valley. Well worth making the trip up there to play them.
Im sure ire ive missed some other ones, if anyone is planning on a trip to any of these locations let me know and I will let you know some good places to play, stay or eat.
Great overview of some great courses Mathew...
I too have had the pleasure of playing many of those courses. You are bang on when you note that Carnoustie is tough when the wind is blowing from the direction of the club house placing 18 directly into the wind. I remember playing a par three at 250 yds and came up short with a very well struck driver.
I have not played the Kiawah Ocean Course but as for distance, I found the Blue Monster at Doral to be a tough track from the championship tees. I played that in the wind and a slight shower. It was the first time I arrived back at the club house totally exhausted from concentrating so hard on trying to score. It is not a tough walk, but certainly a test of ones long and short game.
I have never been to Pinehurst even though I drive by it a couple of times every year. One location I must put on my list.
My favorite courses are Glen Abbey GC, Weston G&CC, St. Andrews Valley GC and Ottawa Hunt G&CC. My most memorable experience has got to be Ottawa Hunt G&CC. The course has hosted LPGA Canadian Women`s Open and it just makes you feel like a tour player because it is a really difficult course and the scenery is great because you can see the skyscrapers in downtown Ottawa.
Well, I've been lucky enough to play some great courses in Canada, but in regards to a "special feeling" you get when you tee it up, nothing in the world compares to the Old Course at St. Andrews. I played her 3 times on my trip over there this past April and I'll tell you, the best feeling I've ever had on a golf course was cracking a drive over the corner of the hotel on 17 and finding it right down the middle. Walking across the Swilcan bridge solidified the Old Lady as my favourite course in the world.
I too was there in April - back in 2011 - and based on your picture, you looked like you had similar weather to when I was there. A sweater was a must, but we had two weeks of great weather.
I agree with you when you say there is a very "special feeling" when you tee it up on that first hole. It is awe inspiring to be standing is a place of such history.