Though spectacular at any time of year, the wild and woolly setting of Newfoundland’s Twin Rivers Golf Course is unmatched in autumn.
Situated at the southern end of Terra Nova National Park, 223 kilometres west of St. John’s, the 6,546-yard layout by Doug Carrick and the late Robbie Robinson skirts the Atlantic Ocean before twisting through a forest ablaze with colour and teeming with moose and bald eagles. Especially unforgettable is the 18th, a 175-yard par three played through the mist rising above a waterfall to a small green nestled in the forest. ( terranovagolf.com)
Carrick is also the designer of the province’s other marquee layout, Humber Valley Resort’s River Course, blessed with an almost equally rugged setting near the town of Deer Lake. Several holes play alongside the meandering Humber River and the shores of Deer Lake, with others skirting ponds and streams. Just as at Twin Rivers, Carrick’s course ends with a wallop on the 18th, a par five where the clubhouse looms high on a hillside above the distant green. ( humbervalley.com)
ANNAPOLIS VALLEY, N.S.
Sheltered from the icy winds off the Bay of Fundy by the South Mountain, Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley enjoys a longer autumn than almost anywhere else in the Maritimes.
Earthy harvest smells perfume the air as visitors drive past apple orchards and dairy farms to the Avon Golf and Country Club, about an hour west of Halifax. The tiny greens of this hilly course, near the town of Falmouth, demand surgically precise approach shots. ( avonvalleygolf.com)
Found still deeper into the bucolic valley known as Nova Scotia’s “bread basket” is the Paragon Golf and Country Club, a picturesque 6,259-yard track in the town of Kingston that often remains open deep into November. ( paragongolf.ca)
But the pride of the region is the Pines Resort Golf Course, a popular Stanley Thompson-designed layout in the town of Digby opened in 1931 as an adornment to the stately Pines Golf Resort and Spa. Designed in the classic style, with small, subtle undulating greens open at the front, the Pines looks better than ever after an extensive $3-million restoration. ( digbypines.ca)
Spectacularly situated on cliffs overlooking the mighty St. Lawrence River, the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu Golf Club is one of the jewels of Quebec’s popular Charlevoix region, east of Quebec City.
Canadian Shield outcroppings, pristine lakes, verdant Laurentian valleys and evergreen forests define Charlevoix’s astonishingly diverse landscape, which is at its most beautiful in autumn. The region is also a renowned culinary destination, with farms, restaurants and hotels focused on serving local food.
Opened in 1925, the original 18-hole Le Manoir Richelieu Golf Club course has been extensively restored in recent years. Nine superb new holes were added, several of them affording commanding views of the St. Lawrence, and a cliff-top clubhouse, from which diners may catch a glimpse of whales swimming in the water far below.
Nearby is the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, a château-style grand hotel offering 405 guest rooms and a lively casino. ( fairmontgolf.com/richelieu)
SAULT STE. MARIE, ONT.
Autumn colour buffs flock to the Agawa Canyon Train Tour, an unforgettable journey past foaming rivers and spring-fed lakes deep into a northern wilderness turned crimson and yellow.
But golfers can enjoy similar scenery right in the city at the aptly named Crimson Ridge Golf Club. Designed by local son Kevin Holmes, the nine-year-old layout includes mature forests, a waterfall and numerous elevation changes. Most memorable of all is the par-five 9th hole (formerly the 18th). The elevated tee gives players a breathtaking view of the city’s downtown, the North Shipping Channel and northern Michigan. (1-866-667-4343)
Just as gorgeous is Silver Creek Golf Course, a demanding Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates design opened last year by the Garden River First Nation on land just east of the city. Bear and deer are frequent visitors to a layout where many holes were carved through a dense forest of hardwoods and conifers. ( golfsilvercreek.com)
And close to the downtown of this emerging golf destination is Sault Ste. Marie Golf Club, a classic George Cumming and Stanley Thompson parkland design dating from 1919. ( thesaultgolfclub.com)
OKANAGAN VALLEY, B.C.
From a desert of sagebrush and cactus to lushly forested mountain valleys and terraced orchards and vineyards, the Okanagan Valley offers an autumn golf season of striking visual contrasts.
The valley’s top draw is Predator Ridge Golf Resort, which sprawls across a 486-hectare landscape of clear lakes, fast-rushing mountain streams and wheatgrass meadows. There are two championship courses, including The Ridge, a Doug Carrick design that launched to rave reviews last season. ( predatorridge.com)
Hungry late-season golfers should stop at the Harvest Golf Club, where players are invited to eat the apples and grapes growing nearby. The course runs through a working orchard stocked with five varieties of apples and four types of grapes. It also offers good views of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake. ( harvestgolf.com)
In the valley’s southern reaches, the two courses at the Osoyoos Golf and Country Club have been sculpted into a desert mountainside and offer panoramic views of Lake Osoyoos and hillsides blanketed by vineyards and ripening fruit trees. ( golfosoyoos.com)
Special to The Globe and Mail