Top 10 Golf Courses of 2017

I continue to be humbled by all the amazing golf courses we’ve been able to play and write about over the years, and looking back on 2017, it was no exception. Our 2017 journeys took us to the California desert, Vancouver Island, the Monterey Peninsula, Ontario, and the Canadian Rockies. Needless to say, there was no shortage of tremendous courses to discover for the first time.

To come up with my list of the Top 10 new courses I played in 2017, I took into consideration a combination of course architecture, playability, value, routing (i.e. is it walkable?), course conditions, customer service and overall experience. Ultimately, these rankings are intended to answer the question — how much fun did I have at each course?

And after much contemplation, here they are:

10. Crown Isle Resort, Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada (review coming soon)

Crown Isle has a lot of good things going on. A beautiful resort experience where our room was a 15 second walk from the first tee. The golf course played host to the Canadian  Tour Q-school in 2017, but is a layout that can be enjoyed by all skill levels.

Crown Isle Resort golf

9.  Bear Mountain Resort – Valley Course, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 

Commonly referred to as the more approachable of the two courses at Bear Mountain, the Jack Nicklaus layout is by no means tame. Dramatic elevation changes, undulating greens, and intimidating bunkering makes this rugged layout a fun but stern challenge.

Bear Mountain Resort - valley course

8. Bear Mountain Resort – Mountain CourseVictoria, British Columbia, Canada

Typically considered the flagship course at Bear Mountain, the Mountain Course is named aptly, and provides a unique mountain golf experience with many dramatic holes, beautiful scenery, and even an island green. If you’re not on your game, you may want to pack a few extra balls.

Bear Mountain resort - mountain course


7. The Vintage Club — Mountain Course, Indian Wells, California, USA

When it comes to playing golf in the California desert, I’m not sure if it gets much better than The Vintage Club. As one of the hardest tee times to get in the Palm Desert area, I felt very fortunate to be a guest at this private club, and the Mountain Course did not disappoint.

Kananaskis Country Golf Course Lorette


6. Pasatiempo Golf Club, Santa Cruz, California, USA (review coming soon)

This Alister Mackenzie gem is a haven of unique architectural features and dramatic bunkering, making it very popular among the architecture junkies.  Better bring your ‘A’ game to Pasa, as it can be downright punishing for anyone not hitting it solid. Also bring your wallet, as I think it’s a bit overpriced.

Pasatiempo golf club review

5. Storey Creek Golf Club, Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada

This charming, down-to-earth course designed by Les Furber is not only a fun, challenging, and walkable course with bald eagles soaring overhead, it provides some of the best value on this list. A no-brainer to tee it up here when visiting Vancouver Island.

Storey Creek Golf Club

4. Magna Golf Club, Aurora, Ontario, Canada

This private club with only 270 members is another tee time that I felt very fortunate to have. The course features wide undulating fairways, large greens, and dramatic bunkering that shouldn’t be underestimated. The course doesn’t get much love in the mainstream rankings, probably because it doesn’t cater to course rankers.

magna golf club review


3. Kananaskis Country Golf Course – Lorette Course 2.0, Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

The incredible comeback of Kananaskis Country Golf Course after the devastating 2013 flood has golfers in Alberta and beyond buzzing. We had the opportunity to play a preview round here in September prior to the official opening happening in Spring of 2018. Golfers will not be disappointed. A special place run by passionate individuals committed to providing the best value in Alberta.

Kananaskis Country Golf Course Lorette

2. Poppy Hills Golf Course, Pebble Beach, California, USA

At the end of the day, Poppy Hills is just damn fun. Plenty of width, strategy, and beauty, while not lacking challenge. This is a golf course that can be enjoyed in many different ways, by many different skill levels. For the price relative to the big-name neighbors, Poppy is one of the best plays on the Monterey Peninsula.

Poppy Hills Golf 1st tee

1. St. George’s Golf and Country Club, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

It was an easy decision for me to rank St. George’s in the #1 slot. This Stanley Thompson gem is one of Canada’s best courses and definitely one of the most interesting and fun layouts I’ve ever played.

St. George's golf and country club review

Here’s to a great 2017 season and looking ahead to an even better 2018!

Happy golfing!


  12 comments for “Top 10 Golf Courses of 2017

  1. December 29, 2017 at 11:17 am

    My goodness, what an impressive list and it’s possible 2017 is a year you’ll look back on for some time. So many great pics. When you make the ‘Golf Is Mental’ coffee book featuring many of your pics I’d be one of the first to order. I’ll have to work my network to see if I can get onto St. George’s one day.
    Cheers, Mike

    • December 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks, Mike! Thankful for such a great year…I’ll put your name on the pre-order list for the Golf is Mental coffee table book, haha! Always learning and trying to improve but the process is fun, as you know yourself.


  2. December 30, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Stunning images and clearly some stunning courses. What a great year to look back on! Cheers, Rob.

    • December 30, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Hey Rob,

      Thank you! Was definitely fortunate to play some stunners…hopefully I can keep that rolling in 2018! Happy new year!


  3. December 30, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Hey Josh, great list! I was surprised to see Pasatiempo at #6, I thought the Mackenize track would be in the top 3, I’ve heard a lot of amazing things about it, but you brought up a good point that with the price, maybe its been overhyped a bit on social media and golf fans? Well done at grabbing tee times at Magna and Vintage Club. I heard Magna was the toughest tee time to secure in the golf rich province of Ontario. No surprise to see St. George’s as #1, I look forward to teeing it up on that gem in the future. Great article and looking forward to 2018 season and hopefully playing a round with you somewhere 🙂 All the best to you and Beth!

    • December 30, 2017 at 11:15 pm

      Hey Cyrus,

      Thanks man! Feel pretty lucky to have a list like this. In ways Pasa should be higher. I do think the rack rate is steep (like $250-280 USD) which hurts it on my personal list (we managed to get a deal, but I try to write through the eyes of someone paying full quid), and it’s a course that a lot of average players may not appreciate or would simply be eaten alive on. It’s a gem and a must-try for yourself. The beauty of it is a lot of it is subjective and all our lists would look different, which makes the discussion fun. Def fortunate to know a member at Magna, they do not cater to writers or rankers…even the big time bloggers like us 😉 but once you’re there, they are extremely friendly and welcoming.

      Hope we can tee it up in 2018!


  4. January 1, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Love that you include if a course is walkable as a determining factor in how you rate these courses. Any course that is walkable immediately adds value in my mind. Plenty of those courses are on my list for 2018

    • January 1, 2018 at 12:20 pm


      Agreed…most of my top courses are walkable. I enjoy walking a course whenever I can, i prefer that experience and feel like I get to know the course much better. While there’s a time and place for carts, it’s nice to have the option to walk.


  5. January 2, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Josh,

    I love your photos and get golf envy when I read your posts. I will be adding courses you have played to my list when I am in the area.

    Cheers, Tiff

    • January 2, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      Hey Tiff,

      Good to hear from you! Glad you enjoy the photos but I think you’re the one who makes us all envious! Have a good time in Maui.


      • January 2, 2018 at 8:57 pm

        This is my first time to Maui. It is stunning but alas I am only playing the once at Ka’anapali on Friday. I will try and sneak in another course while I am here.

        Cheers, Tiff

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