Assuming the average female golfer can drive her ball about 140 yards, the ideal course length would be about 4,200 yards—in order to hit greens in regulation and make some pars and birdies. Sadly, most courses are too long for most women to enjoy (men, too, but that’s another story).
I’m not alone in my “shorter is sweeter” crusade. The National Women’s Golf Alliance’s criteria for a female-friendly experience include multiple sets of tees, with at least one under 5,000 yards; a good selection of ladies merchandise in the pro shop; and women-
specific learning and playing experiences.
I am happy to report the following resorts get my vote for an almost-perfect female-friendly scorecard. Don’t worry if you’re playing with heavy-hitters; these tracts all
have multiple tees to suit handicappers, high and low.
Nicklaus North, Whistler, British Columbia
Designed by the Golden Bear himself, Nicklaus North meanders alongside glacier-fed Green Lake. Nicklaus deliberately designed it to be fun, with roomy fairways and greens. However, there are more than 70 bunkers, as well as water on 15 holes, to be avoided.
After your round, head to Whistler Village’s Barefoot Bistro. Where else can you open a bottle of Champagne with a sabre or don a Canada Goose parka and sample exotic vodkas in a room made of ice? This place never ceases to please.
Deerhurst Highlands, Huntsville, Ontario
Deerhurst Highlands maintains bragging rights as the granddaddy of Muskoka’s high-end, championship courses. From the first elevated tee overlooking Fairy Lake, the par-72 takes full advantage of the rugged beauty of the Canadian Shield. It’s like stepping into a Group of Seven painting. You should also take a swing at the shorter Deerhurst Lakeside course, a par-64 meandering around Peninsula Lake. When the sun goes down the curtain rises at Decades, Deerhurst’s musical revue (and the place where Shania Twain was discovered).
Troon North, Scottsdale, Arizona
Troon North’s Monument and Pinnacle courses, by architect Tom Weiskopf, consistently rank in Arizona’s top five courses. Stunning vistas of Pinnacle Rock, arroyos, horned lizards and other critters will spice up your round on both tracts. For a quick round, consider the Monument Express. Daily after 3:30 p.m., adults pay just $50 and kids (under 15 playing with an adult) play free on a specially created nine-hole executive course measuring 1,578 yards. Cart is included and each junior receives a complimentary set of Callaway rental clubs. The nearby Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale offers guests free shuttle service to Troon North—and weekly complimentary margarita tastings by the pool.
Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, Charlevoix, Quebec
The baronial Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu resort, set high on a cliff overlooking the St. Lawrence, boasts 27 roller-coaster fairways. Tee it up from the elevated tees on the newest nine, Saint-Laurent, and let gravity do the work as your ball plummets to a green jutting into La Malbaie. Architect Darrell Huxham deserves raves, not only for the giddying ride, but also for his brilliant refurbishment of the existing tighter Richelieu and Tadoussac tracks, where your aim will determine your score.
Feeling lucky? The Charlevoix Casino is two minutes away.
Cabot Links, Inverness, Nova Scotia
Up until 2012, if you wanted to play a links course, you had to fly to the British Isles or to Oregon’s Bandon Dunes. Now Canada boasts its own true links course, a par-70 gem in Inverness, N.S. Walking it is a joy, especially around holes 10 and 11, with a view of lobster boats bobbing in the harbour. And holes 12 to 16 play right along the beach. The award-winning seafood chowder served at Cabot’s Panorama Restaurant deserves raves.
True to Cape Breton’s Scottish roots, you’re never far from some lively jigs or a kitchen party.