Prince Edward Island’s Cavendish resort area offers a wealth of history, beauty and some of golf course architecture’s most recognizable signatures
(Prince Edward Island, Canada) – As the largest seasonal resort area on Canada’s Prince Edward Island, the community of Cavendish is known for its mystique and its classic coastline.
Much of the beauty comes from Cavendish’s red sandstone cliffs, magical beaches and rolling farm fields; a good amount of the community’s charm derives from its “Anne of Green Gables” lore — the legendary novel by L.M. Montgomery.
Increasingly, however, this area located less than 40 minutes away from the hub of Charlottetown has become known as much as anything else for its outstanding golf.
Of course, the stories that accompany the golf courses are seemingly endless. But here’s one that may just wake up your golf-and-seafood appetite.
While the mussel generates the biggest fanfare for golfers at Canada’s Glasgow Hills Resort and Golf Club, another shellfish – the oyster – is one you can really bet on. Pardon the pun. But it’s true.
The club, located just inland from the north shore of Prince Edward Island overlooking Cavendish, has become famous for its complimentary mussels – fresh from local aqua farms. Though the mussel is used to entice golfers to hang around after their rounds and swill a few beverages, it’s the oyster that determines at least one yearly champion across the elevated layout.
The story started one day long ago during a game between good friends.
Former general manager Jeff Trainor and Glasgow Hills golf operations manager Chris Ferguson wanted to spice their golf matches up a bit, so they always played for oysters. Every hole was match play and every hole would be played for an oyster, with a birdie counting for two oysters. At the end of the year, the duo would celebrate the season and whoever ended up with the most oysters had to pay for a nice meal out.
The two players are so evenly matched, the oyster drama often comes down to the final game. Several times, the year-long match has come down to fewer than three oysters
“The most it ever got to was 18,” Ferguson said. “I’d like to say I had a lot of injuries that year.”
For good players, the ‘double-oyster’ holes at Glasgow Hills, a ridgeline, 2001 design by Les Furber — one of the Canada’s most prolific architects — are Nos. 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12. All par 4s, No. 5 plays 234-yards from the blue tees where a tee shot down the left side hugging the bunkers opens up the green for a nice approach. No. 9 is a short dogleg featuring an island green from a short approach.
Positioning is the key from a blind tee shot on No. 10, a hole that plays downhill and firm. No. 11 is another enticing hole where playing right off the tee to avoid the fairway bunker on the left will provide and excellent chance for birdie. No. 12, yet another par 4 in the sequence, is particularly precarious when the wind is really blowing.
“You have to make a couple of birdies on those holes to be good,” Ferguson says. “If you don’t, it may be an uphill climb [it’s literally an uphill climb as it is from 13-18] from there.”
As for the hole that gives Ferguson the most fits, that would be No. 8, a 384-yard par 4 from the blue tees that plays uphill adding to the length. An elevated green, although void of bunkers, requires a delicate touch on a miss. The putting there can be quite difficult, as the green begs for a three jack.
“A lot of times I just put the ball in my pocket,” Ferguson admits. “I’ll give it to him. He never makes birdie on No. 8 anyway, so I know it’s just a one-oyster hole. Plus, No. 8 comes after I’ve probably won an oyster on No. 6 or No. 7. But then I have to, because I give it right back.”
Glasgow Hills Resort and Golf Club is located atop the rolling hills of New Glasgow. The dramatic property overlooks the enchanting Cavendish Region, which features three other must plays as well: Green Gables Golf Club, Eagles Glenn and Andersons Creek Golf Club.
Established in 1939, Green Gables was designed by one of the world’s most renowned architects, Stanley Thompson. As the island’s most storied design, this seaside escape is also the only golf layout located in the middle of the Anne of Green Gables experience.
Eagles Glenn, meanwhile, is another championship golf course routed in the heart of the Cavendish region. Legendary Canadian architect Graham Cooke created a unique Scottish heritage challenge over 300 acres of picturesque countryside.
Andersons Creek Golf Club rounds out the primary Cavendish foursome, and this course’s main feature is the namesake creek that runs through it. Like Eagles Glenn, it was artfully crafted by Cooke and provides a slightly more rolling test of golf than usually found close to the coast.
Still, what separates Glasgow Hills from these courses around Cavendish and every other venue across Prince Edward Island for that matter are the dramatic views of the River Clyde and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They provide an even more spectacular setting in which to play from high above. While the undulation challenges golfers, the views help inspire them.
Of course, these are just a few of the highlights that golf on Prince Edward Island affords.
More information at GolfPEI.ca, Reservations@golfpei.ca or 1-866-GOLF-PEI (465-3734).