Golf Courses are specially designed pieces of land of variable dimensions and topography that are used for the playing of golf. They are usually divided into 18 segments, each consisting of a starting point, or tee, from which a player strikes a ball towards his ultimate target. This target is a hole 11 cm in diameter that is located on a closely mown portion of grass, known as a green. There are also 9-hole golf courses. A well-designed course will challenge the skilled player while still offering pleasure to the lesser golfer.
Canada's first formal course opened in 1873 and belonged to the Montreal Golf Club. It was located on Fletcher's Field, part of the city-owned Mount Royal Park in Montréal. As the game became more popular and as the club attracted more members, more property was needed. Today the privately owned Royal Montreal Golf Club is located on Ile Bizard, Quebec, some 30 km from Fletcher's Field.
Typically, golf courses have moved outwards from the city centre as cities have grown. Canada's first municipal course opened in Edmonton in 1912. The private Edmonton Golf Club had a course on the Hudson's Bay Flats below the Legislature Building. That year the city bought the property and kept the course as part of Victoria Park.
The golf boom of the 1980s led to the construction of large numbers of courses in Canada. Since 1985, over 400 new courses have been built or are under construction. There are now over 2000 courses in Canada. They fit into 5 categories: privately owned and restricted to members; semi-private, offering memberships but open to nonmembers on payment of a daily green fee; public, open to all golfers on payment of a daily green fee; municipal, owned by a city, township or municipality; and resort.
A list of the finest courses is always arbitrary, but most golfers agree that the National Golf Club in Woodbridge, Ont, and the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont, are the most difficult courses in Canada. Kananaskis Country has 2 spectacular 18-hole courses; other equally scenic courses are in Banff and Jasper and the Capilano Club in Vancouver. The Canadian Open is held annually at Glen Abbey under the auspices of the Royal Canadian Golf Association, which owns the course.