Destination Golf - Western Newfoundland, You Have to Go
By Randy Dodson, Fairways Magazine
A few years ago former Utah Golf Association President Bill Probst pulled me aside and told me about his trip to the prestigious Canadian Men’s Senior Championship that year being played at the Twin Rivers Golf Course in Newfoundland Labrador, Canada. Bill was pretty enamored with the golf course and the surrounding landscape. “If you get the chance,” he said, “you have to go. That place is amazing.”
I have to admit, even though I had heard of Newfoundland and knew it was in Canada, I had no clue as to its location. It had never, ever, even crossed my mind. When I am asked or think about great golf vacation destinations, I tend to lean towards sand, surf, sunshine and blue sky.
Maya Riviera? Si!
California, Hawaii, Florida? Yes, yes, yes!
Even though I turned 50 last summer and have now fulfilled the senior requirement, I’m pretty sure I won’t be on the invite list of the Canadian Men’s Senior Championship anytime soon. My 12 handicap isn’t championship worthy.
I was however on Greg Hiller’s invite list. Hiller is the executive director of Newfoundland Labrador Golf Association and he came calling last summer with an invite for me to experience Newfoundland Golf. Hiller’s information told me about a land that is, “Rich in history, alive with culture, infused with distinctive cuisine, traversed by natural beauty, refreshed by sea breeze and complimented with championship golf.” Remembering Probst’s enthusiasm, I signed up for the trip.
Like most golf destinations on your bucket list, you should pretty much just plan for a whole day of travel to and from Newfoundland. It took me two connections and a few hours layover in Toronto to finally reach the Deer Lake Airport in Newfoundland.
Unfortunately the planned rounds of golf at Blomidon Golf Club and Humber River Golf Club were washed out due to late season rains. The winding tour on the massive Humber River coast line of Corner Brook, Deer Lake, Steady Brook and other coastal fishing communities filled the void. Literally at the end of the road, where the Humber River spills into the Bay of Islands, sits the little town of Lark Harbour with impressive views that are especially memorable.
These scenic communities contain, lighthouses, museums, natural wonders and the Captian James Cook National Historic site. The landscape is pristine and the air is fresh. Thick forests, ancient rock formations, seabird colonies and marine life are all part of the Newfoundland experience. From late May through early September whales and icebergs can be seen.
The following day, the best weather day of the trip, was spent exploring the Gros Morne National Park. Land that is estimated to be 20 times older than the Rockies, the park is internationally renowned for its geological significance. A wondrous mix of mountains, forests and seascapes, people of Aboriginal, Viking, English, French and Irish heritage have made this area home. Human history here dates back over 4,500 years. The park is dotted with waterfalls, marine inlets, sandy beaches and fishing villages. Hiking, sea kayaking and boat tours are options for viewing the coastline and unspoiled wilderness. The highlight of the day was a boat tour of a breathtaking fjord from Western Brook Pond.
The perfect place to stay for this western Newfoundland golf adventure is the Humber Valley Resort, and perhaps the best golf to be played on this side of the island is the River Course at the resort. The resort offers both an inn and chalets with seasonal rates. The chalets offer options to house large or small groups with all the comforts of a world-class golf destination.
The River Course, named Canada’s Best New Course in 2007 by SCOREGolf Magazine, stretches out on the banks of the Humber River. The par-72 course plays over 7,000 yards from the tips and offers multiple tee box options. The elevated tee shot from the 10th hole offers the most memorable views but all of the par-3 holes are scenic especially the 5th and 14th holes.
The course was designed by Doug Carrick and he made excellent use of the rolling hillside terrain. The fairways, though on hillsides, are generous and the greens are large. Knowing the hole locations is important as the greens are undulating. A few holes are built right along the river banks, which just add to the already scenic layout. The course flows down and away and back up to the clubhouse, appropriately named the Eagle’s Perch Clubhouse. The stay and play experience the River Course at Humber Valley Resort is the definition of a golf destination getaway.
Please add Newfoundland, Canada to your bucket list and tell them Bill Probst sent you.
Randy Dodson is the publisher of Fairways magazine.
For more information please contact
Golf Newfoundland Labrador
Executive Director Greg Hiller 709-651-8717