golf game

Seaside Maritime links hit hole in one

Rugged settings, moody ocean, rural charm, red-sand bunkers

By Ian Cruickshank

Friendly? You bet. But lately, the Maritimes has been earning a reputation as an all-encompassing golf haven. There’s a neat mix of new five-star resorts and little-known, low-key golfing gems, as well as plenty to do before and after a round. Angle for trophy salmon, golf nine holes, hike through misty fjords, tee off on a mountain top buffeted by salt air, slurp fresh lobster with locals at a church supper. It’s a winning combo.

Humber Valley Resort, Deer Lake, NL
Humber Valley is tucked into the ancient folds of the Appalachian Mountains in western Newfoundland. Perched above Deer Lake and the Humber Valley, the Doug Carrick-designed course rises and falls above the water and the mountains.

It feels like the land that time forgot, a primal stretch of rugged nature that just happens to be dotted with a world-class golf course. Besides golf, the resort offers primo fly fishing for salmon on the Humber while hiking in Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is only 40 minutes away. Already a hit with the Brit and Euro set, Deer Lake is now connected to the rest of the world through direct flights from London, England and Toronto, ON.

Northumberland Links Golf Club, Pugwash, NS
In the 1950s, Cyrus Eaton, a former Nova Scotia farmboy who would go on to become one of America’s most successful industrialists, returned to his hometown of Pugwash, NS to host the world’s top scientists at a conference aimed at ending nuclear proliferation. The town’s slogan went from the “village of great thinkers” to “world famous for peace.” However, you don’t need an Ivy League IQ to realize that the adjacent Northumberland Links is one of the golfing kingdom’s little-known princes. With a greens fee starting at just CAD $40, the course’s first five holes run along the edge of the moody Atlantic, known for its towering tides, before climbing through a dense grove of unforgiving pines to the high ground above the clubhouse. Sixteen holes boast views of the sea, and on a clear day, you can see three provinces.

Dundarave Golf Course, Cardigan, PEI
Tiny Prince Edward Island still has a small-town look and feel—soaring, white-washed churches and war memorials in every village square, tractors towing potato wagons toddling down the highways. There is, however, nothing old-fashioned about Dundarave Golf Course. Measuring more than 7,000 yards, it’s the island giant, zigzagging along the edges of the Brudenell River, with forced carries across water and marshland, not to mention nearly 100 red-sand bunkers. Attached to a second 18-hole course and the Rodd Brundenell River Resort, Dundarave packs a heavyweight, one-two combination, the ideal location for golf nuts looking to play two a day. Last summer the course attracted international headlines when golfing legends Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson squared off at Dundarave for a televised rematch of the game’s greats.

Ian Cruickshank is a Toronto, ON-based golf and travel writer who returns each year to the east coast to get his golfing fix of Maritime magic.

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