Newfoundland, Canada : Where dunes, ocean, and mountains meet.

On the heels of Cabot Cliffs debuting into the top 20 world rankings last month, I thought it would be fun to look at another serious East Coast contender for a future destination golf course - Canada's very own Newfoundland. 

While working on the Cabot Cliffs project, I had the opportunity to travel around this stunning island province with my wife and do some exploring.  I was pleasantly surprised at what I found - dunes, dunes, and more dunes.  That's right, Newfoundland is full of sand dunes!  There were areas along that coastline that had beautiful low-lying dunes that meander through dwarf, scraggily pine barrens.  Then there were areas that had massive towering blow-out dunes that offered both ocean views and snow-capped mountain views. 

This is what a virgin golf course looks like.

A perfect Sahara Bunker tee ball.

The place is surreal and has a landscape as unique as the local culture itself. Just imagine playing links golf through a beautiful dunescape and having snow capped mountains on one side of your shoulder, and on the other side is an open ocean with icebergs and whales passing by! Yup, Newfoundland has that.

A view across to even more dunes!

Transition into a more mellow part of the property.....

....Then back into the steeper blowouts.

Towering blowout dune from a distance.  Can you say "St Enodoc"?

As a part of my education in golf course architecture, I have seen, studied, and visited many dune landscapes around the world.  Inch dunes of Ireland, Machrihanish dunes in Scotland, Great Bear dunes in Michigan, Farwell Spit dunes in New Zealand, Mui Ne dunes in Vietnam, the dunes in central Oregon...and so on and so forth, but I think Canada has some of the best-least discovered dunes anywhere. 

If you think about it, we have a low population density coupled with the longest coastline in the world, plus an ideal climate for fescue turf.  And who knows, with climate change affecting the northern latitudes the most dramatically, the season may continue to extend longer and longer into the shoulder seasons.  And like golfing in Iceland, the summer equinox has a profound influence on the amount of rounds possible in a 24 hour period during the summer months. Is Canada ripe for links golf!?

It seems like people are willing to travel further and further afield to play unique, isolated, yet world-class golf courses.  It seems like the isolation factor is even part of the appeal now.  One has to look no further than places like Cabot in the north, or Barnbougle in the south to see that destination golf in far flung parts of the globe is the real deal and here to stay.  Being only a few hour's flight from both the U.K. and New York, I am curious to see if Newfoundland is the next place in Canada where golf will be discovered.

Until then, lets drool over some photos and let the imagination run wild with it.  Enjoy the Pictures!

- Riley

Riley Johns