It’s taken me about a week to catch up with everything after being gone about 10 days on a 1600 mile trek to play courses in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island or PEI. First, I must thank our hosts; Amanda Steward and Barry MacLeod of Golf PEI (Prince Edward Island) and Chris Stacey of Golf NB (New Brunswick). It may sound like an easy job, taking writers around to golf courses, hotels and restaurants, but you have to be always on your game while catering to a diverse set of needs. They not only put up with us but showed us why golfing in Atlantic Canada is worth the trouble of getting there. If you need help with anything to do with golf in PEI or NB, please contact these folks, they’re a pleasure to work with.
First, an overview and general impressions of golf up north, then in follow-up blogs I’ll go into some of the details of where we played, stayed and ate. Compared to the U.S., everyone in Atlantic Canada is laid back and calm, which means you can come here and recharge your batteries. Forget traffic, crowds and rude service personnel, they don’t exist. In this way, our trip up north was very much like going to Scotland. Sum it up and golf is not only challenging in Atlantic Canada, it’s also fun.
Golf is not only plentiful but of a very high quality. The courses we played would be comparable to many of the best courses in the major golf destinations in the U.S. But…. the cost is much lower and you won’t find the crowds. I was amazed at what they were charging for rounds and even more amazed by what season passes cost – enough so that my wife and I hope to go back next year for an extended period. The weather is much like New England, but cooler – which isn’t bad after the scorcher we’ve had this year. I’d say lodging cost is about the same with food being a bit higher.
If you can afford to stay for awhile, you’re going to get all the golf you want. PEI has 22 good courses within about 45 minutes of each other and there’s lots of variety and lots of different layouts. In NB the courses are more spread out, but again you can find lots of good ones if you’re willing to drive an hour and a half to three different locations. Most of the courses we played and saw had really nice practice facilities, which is a pleasant change from many of the courses here where condos are more attractive to developers.
My wife and I took our time driving up because we wanted to travel the coast of Maine and New Brunswick, places we hadn’t been. If you’ve got the time there is lots of ocean scenery and interesting destinations like the Hopewell Rocks where you can see 50 foot tidal changes and sample rhubarb wine! Straight through from Portland, Maine to Charlottetown, PEI looks to be about 700 miles. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of flight options from the U.S. which makes the cost of air travel high. I know the various tourist bureaus are working to change that. New Yorkers are lucky in that there are direct flights from Newark.
There are plenty of cultural events in both PEI and NB during the summer – such as music festivals – and this could be an extra bonus if you plan accordingly. Both Golf PEI and Golf NB offer attractive ‘stay and play’ deals as well as discount play cards. All in all it was a great way to spend 10 days in August!