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Why Canada’s Goodwood Golf Club is the best course you’ve never heard of

Goodwood golf course

Our knowledgeable crew of course raters have played golf just about everywhere. Many of those courses you’ve probably heard of, but some are less renowned — at least for most golfers. In Best Course You’ve Never Heard Of, we celebrate those sneaky-good designs.

Before you try playing one of Canada’s most underrated courses, try finding it.

There is no website and no signage pointing to Goodwood Golf Club in Ontario. At the club’s humble entrance, guests are greeted by a sign that reads: “No Trespassing.”

Past the sign, there is a long, winding road leading to an old barn that doubles as one of the least imposing clubhouses in golf. Inside, there is a food counter, a washroom, and a pro shop containing only slightly more items than there are vehicles in the parking lot.  

From here, you make your way to the golf course, which carries much of the same, understated vibe. But 50 yards into the first fairway, you’ll realize: what Goodwood lacks in frills, it makes up in thrills. Set on stunning, rolling terrain, with great elevation changes and par 4s of varied length, the course offers multiple sets of tee boxes but no tee markers. It’s “choose your own adventure,” in its truest sense.

The fast, undulating greens have been rightly likened to “potato chips,” which can make for quirky putts and chips.

Built in 2007 by Canadian businessman Gordon Stollery, who retained Martin Ebert for the design work, Goodwood has a small membership. Exactly how small is difficult to say. Not even the members themselves know.

That information is kept under wraps by Wil Koopmans, a gregarious figure who has worked for the Stollery family since the course was constructed, and who oversees every detail of the club’s daily operations. Wil takes pride in the fact that he has never had to refuse a member their desired tee time. 

If you’re lucky enough to land an invitation, Goodwood is a must. Just make sure you get directions before setting out.

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