Golf Course Review

Smuggler's Glen Golf Course
Photo: Frank Mastroianni
Smuggler's Glen Golf Course
Photo: Frank Mastroianni

If you are a golfer there is nothing you love more than discovering new golf courses. On a recent trip to Montreal, I decided to stop off at Smuggler’s Glen; part of the Glen House Resort.

When I visited, the fall colours were in bloom and I came to the quick realization that Smuggler's Glen and its surrounding areas are ideal choices to experience all the beauty autumn has to offer.

The Thousand Islands and Gananoque regions are popular cottage country for those living in Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal. The area features beautiful topography with rock outcroppings, valleys and hills running along the mighty St. Lawrence River — the setting is as breathtaking as any region in Ontario.

Smuggler’s Glen works its way up, down and through many of the aforementioned valleys and off numerous ridges. Elevation changes are bountiful and many holes provide that “top of the world ” sensation where entire hole corridors lay out stunningly before you. The course is not the easiest to walk, but that’s a required trade-off for the sweeping views golfers love so much.

But Smuggler’s Glen isn’t only about the views.

The course is quite sporty and smart. Measuring 6,603 yards from the back tees, Smuggler’s won’t overpower you with length, but tempt you with choices. Take the third hole with its centreline bunker. Drive it right for the best angle, but the landing area is guarded on each side by bunkers. Another great example lies in the sixth, a par-4 of 460-yards. With the fairway sloping from left to right, the long green is best approached with a low running shot.

The back nine features more of the same with elevation changes and choices abound. My favourites include the par-5 thirteenth, where a lone bunker guards the corner of a dogleg and a fairway lined by a large rock outcropping long, and the mid-length, right-bending par-4 fourteenth, which starts on a ridge, dives down into a valley, and works its way back up to an elevated green.

A par-72 golf course with five par-3s and five par-5s, the course plays longer than the yardage would suggest. With the first hole being a 463-yard par-5, changing it to a par-4 would make Smuggler's as stern a test as any.

The greens at Smuggler’s are fairly tame. Though not extremely undulating, the smaller greens challenge the golfer with tilt and by being angled away from approach shots.

The par-3s are all very good. Yardages vary from 128-yards to 212-yards and call on you to hit different clubs. In fact, the entire course is quite varied with no stretch of golf feeling repetitive hence the sportiness of the layout.

Conditions from tee to green were excellent and for a peak rate of $89 including cart, it’s hard to dispute the value. Smuggler’s Glen provides a scenic, no non-sense golf experience with some fun decisions throughout. For a course built on a somewhat severe property, the layout is quite smart.

With the Glen House across the street, Smuggler's Glen makes for a great weekend getaway, or, as some of Canada’s finest junior golfers proved the day I was there (the CJGA was hosting the Nike Golf Junior Championship), a stern test in beautiful surroundings.

Frank Mastroianni - Republished with Permission