2. The National Golf Club of Canada, Woodbridge

The National web

Score: 69.69

“A beauty to behold and a beast to play,” Ben Crenshaw once succinctly observed. Added Canadian golf immortal George Knudson: “If you play four rounds in a row here at par or better, you can play the Tour.”

The nation’s most thorough and relentless test of golf, The National Golf Club of Canada has taken great delight in exposing anything lacking in your arsenal since George Fazio and his nephew Tom cut the ribbon on the Woodbridge masterpiece in 1975. Tom continues to pay regular visits to the facility to ensure that golf equipment technology does not make life any easier for players.

How tough is this male-member-only facility? The course-record 67 was shot by Lee Trevino at the Canadian PGA Championship…in 1979! Fashioned upon the bones of the old Pine Valley Golf Club, The National is renowned for its conditioning as well as greens that roll as slickly as marble countertops. Even the shortest of the par-5s showcases the brilliance of the Fazios’ routing, the 503-yard, dogleg-left 12th, which diabolically tempts players to gun for a wide, thin, eminently three-puttable green.

“The National is Canada’s toughest, fairest, most frustratingly enjoyable golf course,” says panel member Dave Bunker. “Good shots are rewarded and mediocre to bad shots are punished in severity adjusted to how bad you hit it. Always kept in pristine condition, as if it were to hold a PGA Tour major tomorrow, everything here is done first rate.”  

“As a good player, I appreciate the sheer difficulty of ‘The Nash’ and its handful of world-class holes,” adds Matt MacKay. “I find it to be an intimidating place—everything about it. I’m nervous as soon as I get within five minutes of the driveway. I guess that means I’m excited, which must be a good thing. This is where you play to see how good you really are.”

“It’s a complete examination of your golf game and not for the faint of heart,” says Dennis Firth. “From tee to green, any weakness will be exposed. Survival is the ultimate goal during your 18-hole battle with Fazio’s Canadian giant.”

 

PANEL COMMENTS

“It is as fulsome a test today as it was 30 years ago. Whether it is your second or 20th round at The National, one cannot make their way up Pine Valley Drive without feeling equal parts excitement and fear for the examination that is to follow.” —Mike Shapira

“The National is the most difficult course in Ontario and certainly one of the best conditioned. It is routed over multi-level terrain and requires smart shot-making from tee to green. The putting surfaces are fast, undulating and well protected. Three holes stand out for their beauty and challenge —Nos. 4, 11 and 18, where making par is a rare achievement.” —George Bedard

“The National is as hard as nails, but it really makes you feel like you’re playing a sport.” —Steve Waxman

“A pure test of golf and patience. One must never let down at this place, as it can be very frustrating if you are not at the top of your game.” —Trevor Fackrell

“Outstanding commitment to everything from on-course conditions and facilities to service and golf club staff. The National may also be the toughest golf course I have ever played in Canada. Truly world class.” —Scott Borer

“Marvelously complex and constantly challenging. Add in superb conditioning, really top-notch shot values and lightning-fast greens and it leaves little more, if anything, that one could wish for.” —Ted Wilson

“Long, tough, perfect conditioning and a near-perfect layout. Toughest test there is in Ontario.” —Gerry Dobson

“Simply the hardest, best-conditioned test of golf in Canada. Too tough for mere mortals.” —Matthew Yustin

“Tom and George Fazio designed the toughest second-shot golf course not only in Canada but North America. This timeless design and impeccable playing conditions make this a golfing experience like none other in Ontario.” —Danny King

“A great place to test both your courage and character.” —Jeff Boismier

“Canada’s gold standard. Tour conditions and challenge every day.” —Henry Brunton

Copyright © 2020 Traveling Golfer