The ultimate list for the discerning golfer

10 Stanley Thompson Masterpieces
By Lorne Rubenstein
Lorne Rubenstein, an expert on Canadian golf, has written on the game for the Globe and
Mail since 1980. He is the author of eight books, including "A Season in Dornoch: Golf
and Life in the Scottish Highlands."

Highlands Links:

Part of a national park and surrounded by mountains and ocean, there is nothing like the remote course on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The late, great pro George Knudson loved the landscape so much he said he would be as happy walking the course as playing it.

Uplands: In Thornhill, Ontario, it was once 18 holes that barely reached 6,000 yards, but still gave some of the best amateurs plenty of trouble. The course is now just nine holes and has been altered almost beyond recognition. But the bunkerless 232-yard 8th is one of the best par-3s in golf. It should be declared a national heritage site.

Ladies’ Golf Club:
Also in Thornhill, Thompson designed it at the request of founder Ada MacKenzie, a long-time Canadian champion early in the 20th century. It’s the only course in North America that does not allow men to join. With its up-and-down terrain, the course demands plenty of accuracy from the tee and into the greens.

St. George’s:
St. George’s has held Canadian Opens and LPGA Tour events, and the pros always want to come back. The course is only a short drive from downtown Toronto, but feels far away because the holes cover valley land framed by woods.

The pride and joy of Kingston, a university city 150 miles east of Toronto. Its members are rarely interested in playing anywhere else—a testament to the course’s variety and challenge.

Pine Ridge:
Winnipeg is one of the coldest cities in the world during the winter, but its citizens love golf. Pine Ridge members feel they have one of Canada’s finest courses, and they’re right.

Here Thompson designed a traditional out and back course in the boreal forest of the Prince Albert National Park near Waskesiu Lake, Saskatchewan. Canadian golf at its best smacks of adventure in big spaces, and that is the feeling one gets at Waskesiu.

Banff Springs:
A stunner in the mountains of Alberta, Banff saw its routing changed when nine holes were added. It meant that the 1st hole with its high tee in front of the grand Banff Springs Hotel and the fairway on the other side of the rushing Bow River, became No. 15. Still, hole after hole, the course demonstrates Thompson’s flair for the dramatic.

Jasper Park:
Thompson built the course for the Canadian National Railway, which owned the property in Jasper, Alberta. Players aim toward distant mountain peaks, and there is that delicious feeling of watching the ball fall out of the sky to the greens below.


Cap, as it is known, is simply gorgeous. The holes offer views of the harbor and downtown Vancouver. The Highlands Links in Nova Scotia is rugged and beautiful—and Capilano is every bit as serene as Highlands is rugged.

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