Glen Abbey is considered by many to be the spiritual home of Canadian golf, having hosted the country's Canadian Open for a quarter century as well as being the site of the Royal Canadian Golf Museum. When it opened in the mid-'70s, it was the first Jack Nicklaus solo design, and it's still one of the most manicured and expensive courses in the country. A recent addition is the ClubLink golf academy, featuring both indoor and outdoor practice facilities. Canadian golf guru Tom Jackson heads up the academy's staff, teaching on a modern double-ended practice range with a computer simulator that can match any amateur's swing with the best professionals to give a reading of what improvements can be made.
While Glen Abbey will always be considered the crown jewel of Canadian golf for its rich history and tradition, the three Muskoka-area courses certainly aren't far behind. Lake Joseph, the oldest of the threesome, having opened in 1997, and Rocky Crest, which debuted in 2000, were designed by Canadian golf architect Thomas McBroom and were named by two golf publications as the best new public courses in the country in their respective years. "I grew up just outside of Toronto," says McBroom, "and I never thought I'd hear the words 'Canada' and 'golf destination' in the same sentence, but I'm happy to do my part."
At Rocky Crest, McBroom exposed tons of rock and granite from the natural Canadian Shield, a huge rock formation formed from glaciers millions of years ago, to offer some of the most dramatic non-ocean landscape anywhere in North America. Lake Joseph's wide fairways and large greens sit amid dense, deciduous forest and offer more challenges. The third area course, Grandview, which opened last year, is the toughest of the three. The first design by American PGA Tour star Mark O'Meara, the spectacular setting with 100-foot hardwoods, natural lakes, and rock outcroppings was the site of the 2002 Canadian Skins Game. "I was able to take a great piece of natural property and craft a very interesting and entertaining course," says O'Meara proudly.