Fan’s Guide To Glen Abbey Golf Club








Fan’s Guide To Glen Abbey Golf Club

by Jeffrey Reed, Editor,

Jack Nicklaus designed Glen Abbey Golf Club to provide the ultimate fan experience. After hosting 28 Canadian Open championships, the Abbey has lived up to its promise.

“Glen Abbey was the first golf course that I believe was done with the spectator in mind,” Nicklaus said. “We did a wheel spoke design, where you had a central gallery, a halfway-out gallery and a following gallery where everybody could have a variety of ways to view the golf.”

Since hosting the 2016 RBC Canadian Open, captured by Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas with a 12-under 276, Glen Abbey’s landscape remains almost identical to a year ago. Head golf professional Darryl Woodjetts said a fall 2016 bunker renovation project saw the introduction of Pro/Angle sand, designed to offer greater wind resistance, superior slope retention, excellent drainage, greater overall product retention and the elimination of the need for extra compaction to firm up a bunker.

Glen Abbey Golf Club

While the PGA Tour field is challenged by Glen Abbey’s beauty and brawn, the gallery will admire the front 9 tableland holes, and the majestic back 9 valley. While the back nine takes its usual course, the front nine plays as holes 4 through 9, then holes 3, 1 and 2. This more easily accommodates players leaving the practice range for the opening tee shot, and later walking from No. 9 green to No. 3 tee, and from No. 2 green to No. 10 tee.

Glen Abbey’s signature hole No. 11 is a 452-yard par-4 that begins play through the course’s famous valley holes. The elevated tee shot from a cliff 70 feet above the valley floor is nothing short of spectacular. A second shot must clear the equally famous Sixteen Mile Creek, which also adds a hazard on holes 12, 13 and 14.

“We have a plaque at No. 11 tee commemorating the fact John Daly drove his tee shot into the greenside creek,” Woodjetts said. “For regular play, that’s not an issue, so it was quite a poke. The players this year be hitting driver then wedge, but some of the big boys will hit 3-wood. And the approach shot is not an easy one.”

Hole No. 16 at Glen Abbey can make or break a good round of golf. It has played as a tough par-4, but again this year it’s a 516-yard par-5 dogleg left which can reward a good drive with a chance at eagle, but can also punish a poor drive with bogey or worse. When Tiger Woods won the 2000 Canadian Open, he hit a 348-yard drive onto the fairway, then hit 9-iron to three feet for an eagle putt. Woodjetts calls the hole a “green light special, with players going at the green with a mid-iron.”

Woods called his bunker shot at No. 18 during Sunday at the 2000 Canadian Open his “greatest shot.” Today, members and guests playing Glen Abbey can’t resist hitting 6-iron out of the fairway bunker like Woods did during his last appearance at Canada’s national golf championship.

A 524-yard par-5, No. 18 boasts a fast green redesigned in 1992 that is well guarded by both pond and bunkers. A well-struck tee shot will land left, unlike Woods’s drive into the fairway bunker right where hit a 218-yard 6-iron over the pond and onto the fringe behind the green, which clinched his ninth victory of the year.

“The fact that he hit 6-iron is mind-boggling,” Woodjett said. “Here we are, 17 years later, with so much advancement in golf clubs and balls, and it’s still mind-boggling. And the fact that he pulled off that shot under the circumstances makes it even more amazing.”

Here’s your guide to Glen Abbey Golf Club (with notes from ClubLink), as it will play at the 2017 RBC Canadian Open.

No. 1 (Glen Abbey’s No. 4), Par 4, 417 Yards
With water front, fairway bunkers left, trees right but a wide fairway, a tee shot right of centre renders an easier approach shot. However, an approach finding bunkers front left leaves a challenging up and down.

No. 2 (Glen Abbey’s No. 5), Par 5, 527 Yards
Even a great tee shot down the right side won’t guarantee birdie. Every putt on this surface will have a severe break, thanks to a large swale that runs through the middle of the green.

No. 3 (Glen Abbey’s No. 6), Par 4, 437 Yards
Pin placement and wind play major factors where Greg Norman made an albatross at the 1993 Canadian Open. Anything but a left pin placement means a drive must be left centre. Go right and a great oak and huge greenside bunker stare you down.

No. 4 (Glen Abbey’s No 7), Par 3, 197 Yards
A green sloping back to front makes birdie at this par-3 a challenge, as do surrounding bunkers and water front. With the rough up, an errant tee shot makes for a tricky up and down.

No. 5 (Glen Abbey’s No. 8), Par 4, 433 Yards
Thick spruce trees block your approach shot on the left side of this fairway. The green is deep with bunkers left and right – a putt from the lower shelf must be firm.

No. 6 (Glen Abbey’s No. 9), Par 4, 458 Yards
Long drives draw over the trees on the left for a short approach, but take it too far right and you’ll be wet. The fairway feeds down to the pond onto the green with grain always running toward it. This is one of the toughest ranked holes on the PGA Tour.

No. 7 (Glen Abbey’s No. 3), Par 3, 156 Yards
The pond grabs 15,000 golf balls each season, thanks in part to unpredictable winds. Tee shots over the green – heavily guarded by bunkers – spell bogey.

No. 8 (Glen Abbey’s No. 1), Par 4, 502 Yards
A par-5 during member play, this hole boasts a long, narrow green with putts rolling towards Dorval Drive at lightning speed. There’s lots of trouble right of the green, too. Tee shots down the left side are favourable.

No. 9 (Glen Abbey’s No. 2), Par 4, 414 Yards
Glen Abbey’s No. 1 handicap hole demands a tee shot on the right side of the fairway. A wide, shallow, elevated green is protected by deep bunkers front left and back right. Par is a good score.

No. 10, Par 4, 443 Yards
A shallow green, one of the smallest and quickest on the course, demands a high, soft approach shot. It’s a tough start to the back nine before heading into the valley.

No. 11, Par 4, 452 Yards

No. 12, Par 3, 205 Yards
Swales front right and left of a shallow green will swallow errant chips and putts.

No. 13, Par 5, 558 Yards
Drives must aim left centre for best approach shots into a narrow green. Sixteen Mile Creek runs the entire left side and winds its way in front of the green where two putts are good.

No. 14, Par 4, 457 Yards
Another one of the toughest par-4s on the PGA Tour, this dogleg boasts an undulating green requires pinpoint accuracy with your approach shot.

No. 15, Par 3, 141 Yards
It’s rated as the easiest hole at Glen Abbey, but it’s no pushover. An elevated, multi-level green is located in a hollow and is surrounded by swirling winds.

No. 16, Par 5, 516 Yards

No. 17, Par 4, 436 Yards
The deep, U-shaped green was redesigned by Jack Nicklaus in 1992, and runs firmer and faster than the others at Glen Abbey.

No. 18, Par 5, 524 Yards


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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office established 1989.