Best Public Golf Courses in Newfoundland
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The youngest of Canada’s ten provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador is the most Easterly province in all of North America. Previously known only as Newfoundland, its name was officially changed to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001. It is now comprised of Newfoundland, a large island off the east coast, its smaller surrounding islands, and the continental-mainland of Labrador, separated from each other by the Strait of Belle Isle on one side and the Cabot Strait on the other.
Spanning over 42,031 square miles, it is Canada’s 4th largest island and the 16th largest in the world. Despite such a vast area, however, Newfoundland and Labrador has a population of only 528,448, with residents generally concentrated in the southeastern Avalon Peninsula. The province is home to 3 major cities, namely: Corner Brook, Mount Pearl, and the capital St. John's.
Geographically, Newfoundland and Labrador is generally made up of gently rolling plateaus punctured by numerous lakes and marshlands, with forests blanketing a little less than half the total land area bordered by a rugged coastline marked by bays and fjords. Endemic wildlife comprises of moose, polar bears, foxes, beavers, lynx, osprey, bald eagles, and waterfowl. Locals of Newfoundland and Labrador enjoy a generally cool and moist climate, with the current of the Labrador Sea and the Atlantic Ocean bringing below-freezing temperatures for two-thirds of the year.
Boasting many beautiful natural landmarks and a wonderfully remote location, Newfoundland and Labrador is the perfect destination for avid golfers to escape to. Though there are less than 30 golf courses in the province, Newfoundland is actually home to some of the most prestigious golf destinations in all of Canada and many more gems in the rough that are just waiting to be discovered. Most courses tend to congregate near St. John’s and usually lie within close proximity to one another, so it’s easy to visit more than one course on a golfing getaway with friends and family.
Listed below is our list of Newfoundland’s Top 10 Best Public Golf Courses, including some semi-private facilities that allow public playing privileges in exchange for daily fees.
Best Golf Courses in Newfoundland
Location: Little Rapids, Newfoundland
Hole: 18 Par: 72 Length: 7,199 yards
The River Course at Humber Valley Resort has been Newfoundland’s widely acknowledged best course ever since it opened in 2007. A showpiece by the award-winning course designer Doug Carrick, this outstanding resort course has been awarded the “Best New International Course” by Golf Magazine in 2007, one of Golf Digest’s “Best Courses in Canada” in 2012, and Golfweek's “Best Canadian Modern Courses” in 2013.
Lying deep in the heart of a mature spruce and fir tree forest in the Appalachian Mountain range, Humber Valley Resort flaunts 7,199 yards of gently rolling wooded terrain carpeted by dwarf Kentucky bluegrass fairways, creeping bentgrass greens, and swathes of fescue on the rough. Accentuating the grounds are numerous dazzling water features, the most prominent of which are Deer Lake and Humber River, both of which come into play for several of the course’s most scenic holes. With the surrounding hills and clear blue skies overhead, the ducks, rabbits, and occasional moose meandering the grounds provide additional attractions to what is already an impressive natural setting.
The River Course's par-72 championship layout routes through a forested valley of rugged topography that boasts over 300 feet of elevation changes. Strategically laid out over the generous fairways and beside the subtle, sometimes steeply elevated greens are 105 intricately crafted sand bunkers, egging you to craft out the best possible strategies to come out on top at the end of the round.
The number of water hazards and riverside or lakeside features also make for some of the most memorable holes of the track, namely: the par-3 5th, a lakeside hole requiring a solid and lengthy tee shot to reach the mildly undulating green; the 14th, a riverside par-3 enclosed by rows of attractive birch, maple, and spruce trees, featuring a clover-shaped green heavily fortified on all sides by sand traps; and the finishing 18th, a par-5 with a landing area flanked by bunkers on both sides and a vast pond to the right where the fairway swerves towards a split-level green.
The River Course at Humber Valley Resort is one of the most remarkable contemporary golf courses not just in Newfoundland but all of Canada. You'll want to go on a cross-country road trip just to personally experience this world-class golf destination for yourself.
Location: Port Blandford, Newfoundland
Hole: 18 Par: 71 Length: 6,546 yards
At close second on our list is the premier golf destination of Newfoundland's east coast, the Terra Nova Resort. Situated in close proximity to Terra Nova National Park, lying by the shores of Bonavista Bay is this gorgeous oceanfront resort and golf community. Opened in 1984, it was originally a 9-hole course designed by C.E. Robbie Robinson but was later expanded to a full 18-hole layout by Doug Carrick in 1991.
The Twin Rivers Course is the crown jewel of the Terra Nova Resort, dubbed the “Pebble Beach of Newfoundland”, and is one of the two golf courses on the site, the other being the 9-hole Eagle Creek course. The Twin Rivers Course was meticulously sculpted from 220 acres of remote woodlands rounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the white-water Northwest River. It is teeming with scenic vistas and exotic wildlife wandering through the property such as moose and bald eagles, as well as an abundance of salmon that’s visible by the river.
Challenging but still accommodating, the Twin Rivers Course was designed with all types of golfers in mind. The par-71 coastal layout has three designated tee boxes to balance out the tree-lined fairways and undulating greens guarded by more than 60 sand bunkers across its relatively short yardage. The course highlights include: the 161-yard 8th, a par-3 forced carry over the Northwest River to a green fortified by three sand bunkers; and the 18th, a 175-yard par-3 with a rigorous elevation change and a little waterfall obstructing players from the small green lying within the forest, which is also surrounded by three deep sand bunkers.
The golfing experience at Terra Nova Resort also comes with amenities such as a well-stocked pro shop, a driving range, practice facilities with putting greens and a pitching area, a teaching pro, a swimming pool, and three on-site restaurants: The Clode Sound Dining Room, Mulligan's Pub, and The Tee House. It is also strategically located between the culturally rich Discovery Trail and historical Kittiwake Coast, two bustling tourist havens probably already on your list of stops when travelling through the province. Make sure to add the Twin Rivers Course on your to-do list when visiting the area. It is one of the must-play courses in eastern Newfoundland, CA.
Location: St. John’s, Newfoundland
Hole: 18 Par: 72 Length: 6,553 yards
Landing third on our list is the semi-private golf complex located in the provincial capital of St. John’s, the Clovelly Golf Course. A consistent contender year-after-year for the title of Newfoundland's best golf course, Clovelly Golf Course is home to two distinct 18-hole layouts, both fashioned by Canadian course architect and amateur golfer Graham Cooke. The first is the par-62 executive-style Black Duck Course, followed by the championship-standard par-72 Osprey Course.
Lying along the rugged shores of the east coast, the Osprey Course winds through the gently rolling terrain of the Avalon Peninsula, a number of small ponds, and natural marshlands bordered by a forest of Black Spruce and Balsam Fir trees. The course also flaunts meticulously well-maintained natural sand dunes, tree-lined fairways, and undulating bentgrass greens that look fresh and firm despite the course having been previously closed for months last year due to harsh climate conditions and ice covering the grounds.
The par-72 parkland layout at the Osprey Course is an exciting test of skill, with its greens defended by strategically laid out sand bunkers, a number of water hazards, and dramatic elevation changes. The track is comprised of a terrific assortment of holes with a little bit of everything: the par 3s are often short or mid-length holes; the par 5s are especially challenging yet still reachable especially on a good day, and the par 4s offer a great balance between the two. Some moose occasionally grace the grounds, as Clovelly Golf Course is dedicated to preserving the local wildlife and their natural habitats.
With a terrific, well-conditioned layout and complete services and amenities on offer, look no further for your next golfing destination than Clovelly Golf Course. It is easily accessible and lies close to the airport. Clovelly Golf Course is one of the top golf courses in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Location: Gander, Newfoundland
Hole: 18 Par: 71 Length: 6,137 yards
Another representative of southern Newfoundland, Gander Golf Club is a semi-private 18-hole golf facility open from the months of May to October. Initially envisioned as a simple 9-hole course, it was later upgraded to a standard 18-hole course by local architect Doug Carrick in 2001. It is widely recognized today as one of the best public golf courses in Newfoundland.
Gander Golf Club has been a long-time local favorite since it first opened in 1967, becoming even more popular when it reopened in 2001. It was recently awarded "Golf Course of the Year" by Golf Newfoundland Labrador in 2017. Sculpted from the rolling hills along the shores of Gander Lake, one of the largest lakes in the province, the course boasts well-manicured fairways and gently contoured greens accented by the sparkling blue waters and picture-perfect views of the forested hills nearby.
A round of golf on the par-71 layout at Gander Golf Club will sharpen your shot making skills as you are forced to navigate through the generous but canting fairways and the various elevation changes. Despite a relatively short yardage of 6,137, the course manages to keep players on their toes with tricky approach shots and sculpted, elevated greens often defended by deep sand bunkers.
Among the best holes of the track are: the 2nd, a par-4 that plays over 200 yards where a long iron is essential to reach the large, elevated green tightly guarded by a deep leftside bunker; the par-4 14th, a lengthy 420-yard dogleg left with an elevated tee and an uphill fairway leading to a flat green perched atop a ridge; and the short but treacherous 185-yard 15th which plays downhill towards a large green fronted by a massive bunker.
Some off-course amenities available here include putting greens, a teaching pro, a golf shop, and a clubhouse with a restaurant and bar with a patio overlooking the beautiful lake. The first-class amenities and services paired with the stunning lakeside scenery and exciting layout makes Gander Golf Club an easy addition to Newfoundland's list of must-play courses.
Location: Holyrood, Newfoundland
Hole: 18 Par: 72 Length: 6,772 yards
Coming up at fifth place is the semi-private 18-hole golfing gem of Holyrood, the Wilds Resort. Lying along the Avalon Peninsula and about an hour's drive from downtown St. John's, The Wilds is a four-season resort and outdoor getaway that is home to a superb par-72 course that's widely considered to be one of the best Newfoundland has to offer.
A truly one-of-a-kind experience, the course at The Wilds Resort is situated along the well-known Irish Loop, one of the most scenic drives of the province, and is sculpted from the banks of the Salmonier River and the hills of the Salmonier River Valley. Both landmarks are located within the Avalon Wilderness Reserve, a 2,600-acre wildlife conservation site that's among North America's most untouched and well-preserved regions. The course flaunts breathtaking seascapes and forested terrain, along with the occasional water features every now and again.
Built in 1997, the course at The Wilds Resort is designed by one of the nation's most distinguished architects, Robert Heaslip. This par-72 parkland layout is one of the most riveting rounds of golf that you can have in all of Canada, marked by dramatic elevation changes, uneven lies, and generous, windswept fairways that taper off into narrow spaces tightly lined with rows of spruce and fir trees. Along with over 70 sand bunkers and several water features, you must also navigate through the rock outcroppings and natural contours of the valley that will test your entire arsenal of shot-making skills.
Some of the most memorable holes of the track are: the 426-yard par-4 6th perched atop the crest of the hill, with fairways bordered by sand bunkers demanding a carefully-executed short approach shot to reach the shallow, well-guarded green; the 9th, a steep, downhill par-4 that leads to a sharp dogleg right, with the fairway punctured by the Salmonier River and one sand bunker to the lateral right, with one beside the narrow green; and the signature 18th, recognized by many as one of Canada’s best finishing holes, a 508-yard par-5 with canyons and the river running through the layout multiple times and a green fortified by five surrounding sand bunkers that make this hole both a beauty and a beast. The 18th hole alone is reason enough to pay a visit to The Wilds Resort and play a round at one of Canada’s best golf courses.
Location: Stephenville, Newfoundland
Hole: 18 Par: 72 Length: 6,588 yards
Harmon Seaside Links is one of the best embodiments of a links-style golf experience in all of North America. First built in 1960, the course began as a simple 9-hole layout for US servicemen posted at the Stephenville Air Force Base. Another 9 holes were added in 2000 by architect Graham Cooke during an extensive renovation of the property, successfully turning it into one of the top-rated modern 18-hole courses in all of Newfoundland that it is today.
A semi-private golf facility lying along the Massachusetts Drive, Harmon Seaside Links was sculpted from a rugged terrain surrounded by several stunning natural landmarks, such as Bay St. George, the St. Lawrence Gulf, Port Harmon, and the surrounding Long Range Mountains. Breathtaking views abound from all directions, effectively complementing the finer details and designs of the course.
The starting nine winds through the seaside shores into coniferous and tuckamore woods with well-preserved relics of the old Air Force Base (such as empty ammunition bunkers) scattered along the grounds. As for the back nine, its heavily Scottish-inspired design flaunts tall swathes of fescue along the fairways and wide-open spaces devoid of trees from the back, creating some of the most scenic, unencumbered vistas of the track.
With a fine assortment of 18 distinct holes across the par-72 layout, Harmon Seaside Links guarantees a good time for all players of varying skills, shapes and sizes. Equipped with three different sets of tees, you will have to be creative in playing through the harrowing rough and deep greens, and the tight tree-lined fairways that invite all sorts of strategy to be able to finish with a decent score at the end of the round.
There are also a few lagoons thrown into the mix where, depending on the time of the year, wildlife such as ducks, geese, foxes, woodpeckers, and moose are regular visitors. Among the layout’s best holes are the 12th, 13th, and 14th - a charming, treeless stretch of holes with wetlands between the fairways and undulating greens.
Location: St. John’s, Newfoundland
Hole: 18 Par: 71 Length: 6,381 yards
Taking us back to the capital city of St. John’s is our seventh pick, the Pippy Park Golf Course. Located mere minutes from the bustling downtown area, Pippy Park is among Canada's most popular urban parks beloved by locals and tourists alike. The piece de resistance of all of St. John's parklands, the 3,400-acre property is both a nature conservation reserve and a recreational facility with numerous outdoor activities offered all-year round. It is home to two distinct golf courses, namely: the 9-hole, par-36 Captain's Hill, and the 18-hole, par-72 Admiral's Green.
The Admiral's Green Course was built in 1993 and is another Graham Cooke masterpiece. Carved from the grasslands atop a hill lying along the city's rugged northern coastline, the course has hosted many prestigious tournaments such as the Canadian Professional Tour, the Canadian Junior Nationals, and the Ladies National Championships. It offers a 360-degree panoramic view overlooking one of North America's oldest cities, icebergs and even whales (if you’re lucky enough) from the Atlantic Ocean which you can glean from several holes along the track.
Seamlessly blending challenge and playability, the layout at Admiral's Green plays to a par-72 and stretches up to 6,381 yards from the tips. The subtle elevation changes along the track make for a leisurely walkable course with Bermuda grass-carpeted fairways that play fairly straightforward and bentgrass greens that are fast and true. Several doglegs and water hazards also come into play on several holes, namely the 4th, 5th, 10th, 15th, and 17th.
Aside from the 18-hole Admiral’s Green course, the public golf club at Pippy Park also offers equipment rentals, food & beverage carts, chipping greens, a clubhouse, an on-site snack bar with a guests lounge, and the scenic 9-hole Captain’s Hill course. They also have campgrounds, hiking and skiing trails, birdwatching sites, and other outdoor recreational activities which will surely make a trip with friends and family one of the best golfing getaways that you could ever have. Due to these reasons, we’re placing the Pippy Park Golf Course on our list of the top public golf courses in Newfoundland.
Location: St. John’s, Newfoundland
Hole: 18 Par: 70 Length: 5,855 yards
Lying along the Avalon Peninsula, deep in the heart of St. John's, Bally Haly Golf & Country Club is a semi-private 18-hole facility which opened way back around the turn of the 20th century. One of Newfoundland's most beloved courses, Bally Haly Golf & Country Club is conveniently located just a few minutes away from the downtown area but is sure to transport you to the idyllic countryside with its lush greenery and immersive woodland setting.
The property was founded in 1896 as Buckmasters Field, it was passed onto new ownership in 1908 and rebranded as "Bally Haly" which we have come to know until today. Restored by world-renowned architect Graham Cooke, though the course at Bally Haly is the oldest in all of Newfoundland, its bentgrass greens and bluegrass fairways are always kept in pristine condition.
The par-72 layout is distinctly Scottish in style and can be fairly challenging at times, with sand bunkers lurking on the fairways or beside the greens and ferocious winds often coming into play. There are also several water features present with a long winding creek running through the course and a few large ponds along the 10th and 13th holes.
Off-course amenities include a driving range, a putting area, chipping greens, a pro shop, a snack bar, and a newly renovated clubhouse. Open all year-round, Bally Haly Golf & Country Club is definitely worthy of a spot on our list of the best golf courses in Newfoundland.
Location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland
Hole: 18 Par: 70 Length: 5,835 yards
The shining jewel of West Coast Newfoundland, Blomidon Golf Club is a semi-private 18-hole golf complex situated in the center of Corner Brook city. Boasting gorgeous oceanside scenery and mountain splendor, Blomidon has been a part of the local landscape since 1952 and remains a treasured city landmark to this day.
Restored by Graham Cooke in 1998, Blomidon Golf Club is sculpted from the hilly terrain of Corner Brook Stream Valley, carpeted in bentgrass greens and bluegrass fairways lined with a light smattering of trees. Aside from the picturesque vistas of the city landscape that can be seen from several holes, the course also offers breathtaking views of the Bay of Island's Humber Arm and the Blomidon Mountains nearby. Over the years, it has hosted several prestigious golfing events such as the Canadian National Junior Ladies Championship in 1979 and 1994, and the NLGA Men & Women Amateur, Mid-Amateur, and Senior Championships in 2012.
With minimal elevation changes and not much in the way of water hazards, the par-72 layout is definitely beginner-friendly but can still catch the attention of more seasoned players with over 50 or so sand bunkers, narrow fairways, and small, fast-rolling greens. Among its most memorable holes are the sharp dogleg right 18th; the longest hole of the course, the treacherous 622-yard par-5 10th; and the par-5 2nd where the layout's sole water feature (a small pond) can be found fronting its green.
Additional amenities include a pitching area with chipping and putting greens, an on-site teaching pro, a golf shop, and an elegant clubhouse. Overall, the engaging layout, attractive scenery, and complete golfing experience offered at Blomidon Golf Club places it a touch above the rest of the other western Newfoundland options and rightfully earns it a place among the province’s best public golf courses.
Location: Labrador City, Newfoundland
Hole: 18 Par: 72 Length: 6,110 yards
Concluding our list of Newfoundland's best public golf courses is the Tamarack Golf Club. Eastern Canada's northernmost course and one of only two golf facilities located in the city of Labrador, Tamarack Golf Club is a grand adventure that should be seriously taken up by all avid golfers. Though it is often overlooked due to its remote location and short golfing seasons, those who embark on the journey to Labrador will be greatly rewarded with a unique golfing experience.
Launched in 1968, this semi-private 18-hole course is nestled in a small community a few minutes away from downtown Labrador. Sculpted from the natural wilderness, it sports gently rolling fairways bordered by tall black spruce trees and well-manicured greens that putt fast and true. You will also be greeted by breathtaking views of the vast Duley Lake and its forested Family Park and campgrounds. The secluded countryside setting, fresh air, and clear blue skies overhead is every golfer’s ideal weekend getaway.
The par-72 parkland layout features an excellent lineup of 18 diverse holes for a spirited round of golf. Spanning 6,110 yards from the back tees, the track features ten par 4s, four par 5s, and four par 3s, with the latter usually cited by regular patrons as the course’s best holes. With numerous sand traps fortifying the wild, undulating greens and subtle elevation changes all throughout, Tamarack Golf Club seamlessly blends the natural scenery with the exciting layout of traditional, thought-provoking holes.
The course also offers a practice area with putting greens, a driving range, a water range, a teaching pro, a well-stocked pro shop, and a charming clubhouse with its own full-service kitchen open 7 days a week. Tamarack Golf Club has been delivering world-class golf experiences to its patrons for over 50 years, though it has unfortunately largely gone unnoticed by the majority of the golfing public. It offers a pleasant surprise, however, to the lucky few who do manage to find this gorgeous, secluded golfing hideaway with an equally fun and engaging layout.
Newfoundland and Labrador is an intriguing choice for your next golfing holiday as the province has a lot to offer, with many reputable courses located on the East and newly established hidden gems waiting to be discovered along its West Coast. You’ll be positively surprised by the exciting layout, amazing scenery and top-notch amenities being offered by the top public golf courses in Newfoundland that we have listed here.
That being said, the names featured here are mostly based on our personal preference and there are still a dozen or so courses that have been left off this list due to time and space constraints. If you have your own Newfoundland favorite that we may have missed here, we would appreciate hearing about your thoughts. Send us a message and we’ll respond to you as soon as we can.