OK, I have to admit that the title is a stretch! Now that I have your attention let me tell you about my adventure at Glen Abbey Golf Club! From the moment I walked onto the course until I left 7 hours later it was pure golfing heaven. The staff was outstanding, the facility first-rate, and the course a beauty to behold. As the home of the Canadian Open for years, this course has always held an air of mystery for me and now that I had the opportunity to play it; I need to go back to see what I missed. Just like a young child walking into Disney World, I was caught up in the wonder of its picturesque landscape and its subtle challenges that only a trained eye could see!
Overall, I would rate this course a 4.5 out of 5! The course was long enough (6622 yards from the Gold Tees) to test your ability to hit the long ball in play, but short enough where all the Par 5s were reachable in two if you had the moxie to try! The Par 4s had strategically placed bunkers both in the fairways and beside the green. The Par 3s were shorter, but took all your skill because the shot from the tee was either over water or sand; everything was guarded! It was easy to tell what the course designer, Jack Nicklaus, was thinking when he designed Glen Abbey over 35 years ago by how the entire course flowed from one challenge to another.
Glen Abbey is something that all golfers should experience. Even with all the outstanding things to see, a couple of aspects stood out more as I looped the course.
First, there was another Grateful Golfer Duck sighting. For those who follow this blog, this famous duck has magically appeared at the most opportune times. The duck is passed between myself and a friend after a match in which the loser must carry the duck until the next match. I hope to pass it back to my friend in the summer!
The first hole was excellent. It was reachable Par 5. I hit a 270 yard bomb straight down the fairway! Left with about 230 yards, I striped a 3-wood to about 20 feet from the hole. I was putting for eagle on the first hole at Glen Abbey! I could not ask for a better start. After I collected my tap in birdie (notice how I glossed over my putt) I walked proudly to the second hole – 1 under! It was a start that I will be talking about for quite some time!
The third hole is a 125 yard par 3 with a kidney-shaped green. As you can see, it is guarded by bunkers and the shot is completely over water. Looking backward the hole does not look as menacing. However, from the tee, the landing area looked about as large as a dime. I was fortunate enough to hit and stick on the green, but proceed to make 1 of 4 three putts of the day! Overall, it was a fun hole.
The rest of the holes on the front nine were typical. They had many challenges and were exciting to play. After one more birdie on that par 5 fifth hole, I finished the front nine with a smooth 40! I was pretty happy with that score considering the hidden tests each hole provided. Now, for the back nine and a different story!
Hole number 11, the signature hole, was spectacular. As we waited on the tee box for the group in front to clear the fairway we had ample opportunity to take pictures. This 100 yard drop (or at least it looked that far) to the hole is unique and challenging at the same time. I was fortunate to hit the fairway and felt confident walking to my ball. The hole was playing 440 yards total. As I hit my second shot (7-iron) thin from 155 yards I watched my ball land with a splash in the famous 16-mile creek that serpentine through the next 5 holes! I dropped a ball, duffed my next shot, chipped close and walked away with my first double! However, I was still smiling because the hole was spectacular!
The next hole that caught my attention was the par 3 – 15th hole. This 120 yard jewel was difficult for several reasons. First the green was elevated about 30 feet from the tee box. There was a big bunker running in front of the entire green. And the green was sloped like crazy from left to right making any putt a challenge! I aimed for the middle of the green with 9-iron and landed where I aimed. However, I was 30 feet from the pin, putting up hill, into the grain. Needless to say, another 3-putt!
Almost chipping in on 16 for eagle was pretty exciting, but it did not really compare to the 18th hole. This was another reachable par 5 and after a perfect drive, I was left with an approach shot from 225 yards over water! Now, normally I would play the ball out left of the green and try for birdie, however my playing partner suggested that it was ‘Tin Cup‘ time. So I pulled out my 3-wood and struck a very solid ball! I played a little left and watch my ball fade towards the green! As I watched my ball sail towards my target, I was thinking “Oh No” it is not enough. But, by sheer luck, it my ball made it over the water with 8 inches to spare and stopped short of the green in two. Unfortunately, I hit a poor chip shot and walked off with a tap in par.
My back nine was not as smooth as the front. I had one birdie, 2 doubles and three 3-putts for a disappointing 43. Overall though, I am not complaining. An 83 on a course of this caliber, I am happy. If I was to ever play Glen Abbey again, I am sure I would do better. Of the entire day, the only real drawback (just for full disclosure) was the greens. They did not fair the winter well and were punched a week prior. They did not roll as smoothly as expected and were slow. Now the positive side of that is the slow greens made more aggressive play.
Overall, Glen Abbey Golf Club is a must play. For golfing fanatics in Canada, it rates as a must! I enjoyed every part of my day and I am grateful my friend thought enough of me to offer an invitation. I can now take this adventure off my bucket list!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
If you want to see more images of my adventure to Glen Abbey, check out the album on my Facebook page.