Widely regarded as one of the most cosmopolitan centres in the world, Montreal is the second largest city in Canada. The group of islands that have come together to form the metropolis is the foundation of the charm and spirit of this unique community. The typical golf season in Montreal begins in early April and extends to the end of October. The average temperature during this time is 19°C with July being the warmest month with a median temperature of 26°C.
Le Golf Saint-Raphael – Blue Course
Aesthetically appealing, the 7061-yard Blue Course is a Neil Haworth route that features narrow rolling fairways and tiny greens. As you roll over the hill to find your ball after your blind tee shot on the second hole the setting of the green in an alcove of oak and elm trees signals the beginning of a special tour. A pure Parkland style layout, the routing of the Blue is such that you are never within eyesight or earshot of other groups. It is almost surprising when you turn up after the ninth hole at the snack shack to be reminded you are not alone. The back nine follows the same formula, removing the player from the real world and transporting them to that state of zen that is so rare in life. Leaving the Blue Course after eighteen holes is often a letdown as this is one of those rare tracks that you wish would never end.
Le Golf Saint-Raphael – Red Course
At 6589 yards, the Graham Cooke designed Red Course has lakes and creeks running through it and is a fair challenge for all. Winding through a subdivision and bordered by the St Lawrence River, the Red is an inner-city refuge. Perhaps the ultimate match play course in Montreal, players are presented with an array of risk/reward decisions. With two reachable par 5’s on each nine and a driveable par 4, there are plenty of opportunities for match play gamesmanship. Make your move on No.s 16 or 17 as the ultimate hole is a straight forward par 3 that aims directly at the clubhouse. No.18 requires an uphill tee shot that seemingly plays one club longer than normal, however it often yields par as the green is flat and rolls true.
Club de Golf de L’ile de Montreal
At the northern tip of Montreal Island lies the Ireland Course, a par 71 Irish Links track that stretches to 6820 yards from the tips. The Pat Ruddy design takes you back to the origins of the game, across the Atlantic, yet is only minutes from downtown Montreal. Bordering the “Pointe aux Prairies” nature park, the Club de Golf de L’ile de Montreal preserves the marshy spaces, splendid reeds, variety of wildflowers and mature trees in its natural design. A very walkable course, this throwback to the green nation of leprechauns and four leaf clovers is notable for 50 foot high dunes, pot bunkers and massive greens.
The opening hole sets the table as you’re faced with an uphill blind tee shot in which your only target is a fairway bunker and the blue skies in the distance. As you progress through the eighteen hole test you may find repetition in the variety of shots you are required to execute, nonetheless you will never be disinterested. For through the sequence of doglegs, hollows and chasms, you will come to understand the combination of rugged beauty and sadistic charm that lies at the heart of Irish Links Golf. Revel in the completion of your round, enjoy a beverage afterwards, and plan your revenge, for this is the Irish way.
Le Versant (Des Braves)
Picturesque is the word most often used to describe Des Braves, a 6785 yard par 72 that requires a precise short game as the green complexes are surrounded by trouble on all sides. Narrow rolling fairways mean that one can never relax, although the scenery begs you to ease your focus to a minimum and allow your senses to absorb Mother nature in her purest form. Don’t let your guard down completely however as you will be exposed, as there is plenty of trouble with bunkers and water hazards on fairways and fronting the greens. Proper club selection and solid contact are the path to prosperity here, take a moment to focus and be confident in your execution.
Club de Golf le Cardinal
The Redcrest layout is the most recent offering from the Cardinal group, a premium design with an abundance of water, tree lined fairways and undulating greens that roll true and fast. Featuring the same white sand bunkers as the other courses here, the sand traps look lovely but aren’t necessarily good for your score. At just under 6800 yards the par 71 course at Club de Golf le Cardinal portrays a natural wetland feel partially due to its proximity to the Holland Marsh Canal and the many tributaries that wander through the rolling fairways. Navigating the north and east shores of a wishbone shaped lake, the back to back par 5’s that are numbers six and seven time and again define one’s round at Redcrest. Find the fairways on these two holes and set yourself up for birdie. Find water along the way and your results will be all wet. Often referred to as the best public course in Montreal, Redcrest has received rave reviews for its pristine condition and excellent design.
Le Versant (Des Seigneurs)
Des Seigneurs is the beast of the big shots, a Graham Cooke offering that plays to 7004 yards from the blacks. It is tight, punishing and certainly appears to not be for the faint of heart. The layout does however possess six different sets of tees and is playable by all skill sets. The Signature hole, the par 5 fourth hole begs you to play up the left side off the tee then teases you with a large green that appears unmissable from a distance. Beware of unseen dangers nevertheless as water, bunkers and run off areas surround this ambivalent looking green complex. The theme for your round is set at this point and caution will prove to be your safest emotion as you journey through the balance of this examination.
Club de Golf de Caughnawaga
Conceived in 1967, this parkland design presents 27 opportunities to test your skills and be immersed in scenic splendor. Located on the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, this family owned and run venture is as enjoyable as it is challenging. Easily accessible from the Island of Montreal, Caughnawaga delights in their ability to offer a walker friendly test with superb greens and a sense of peace and solitude. The Bear, Wolf and Turtle 9’s offer a number of holes that will delight in their charm and challenge. With mature trees, and small greens, this truly is a walk in the park. Beware of other wildlife as you enjoy a stroll through this little gem. Considered the best value in the city, the CGC should be on your short list of must plays for players of all levels.