NOTRE-DAME-DE-LA-PAIX, Quebec, Canada -- The successful growth and expansion of the Club de Golf Heritage traces back to Elijah Jones.
Jones, at age 79 in 1989, had a vision of transforming the 274 acres he owned into a golf playground in the foothills of the Laurentian Mountains near the Quebec-Ontario border roughly 100 kilometers northwest of Ottawa.
He teamed with Stan Brigham to create one of the better golf courses in Quebec. Golf courses designed by their owners tend to be a mistake, but Jones and Brigham wisely let nature dictate their routing. The 6,768-yard course was built without blasting any rock. The result is a marriage of land and links with some memorable golf holes featuring wild elevation changes and beautiful vistas. Club de Golf Heritage, which opened in 1993, celebrated its 20th anniversary this summer.
Club de Golf Heritage: The course
The nines were flip-flopped in 2012 on the par-71 layout, now owned by Jones' son Michael. The change created a more demanding start. The second shot on the par-5 opening hole is completely blind, and the approach over a pond isn't easy, either.
An intimidating par 3 comes next, with all 168 yards playing uphill over wetland. There's a tree in the middle of the fairway of the 425-yard third hole, which finishes at a massive propped-up green.
From there, the course finds a nice rhythm. Each of the thousands of trees is a potential troublemaker, especially on the narrow approaches to No. 8 and No. 17, two par 3s with greens tucked into tight corridors.
Two distinct tee locations make for several unique holes. The fourth and 16th tees sit on an elevated porch cut from the rugged Canadian wilderness. The tee shot to the fourth fairway must avoid three fairway bunkers up the right side, setting up a potential birdie on the 525-yard par 5. The 16th fairway feeds hard left to right directly into a pond that also guards the par-4 seventh hole.
The other vantage point isn't so kind. The tees of the perilous bookend par 4s -- the 439-yard ninth hole and 438-yard 18th hole -- stare straight up at a staircase of a fairway that climbs dramatically before any glimpse of the green is revealed. The ups and downs of the terrain will probably be reflected with some ups and downs on the scorecard, too.
"There are a lot of flat golf courses in Montreal," said Stephane Giquere, a resident of Saint-Constant, Quebec, who plays the course regularly. "This is a mountain-type course. The scenery is nice, and it's got some challenge. They keep it in pretty good shape. There are lots of undulations. You learn to play with the ball lower and the ball higher when the ground is not level."
Accommodations at Club de Golf Heritage
In 2006, the green log clubhouse expanded to include four junior whirlpool suites, four two-bedroom apartment suites and 22 double-bed guestrooms for stay-and-plays. The whirlpool suites feature a fireplace for romantic getaways. The apartment suites include two separate bedrooms, a living room without a sofa bed, one bathroom to share and a small kitchen with a fridge and microwave. There's also fine dining and activities such as spa treatments available.
Club de Golf Heritage: The verdict
I enjoy discovering courses like this one. It will probably never win any sort of award or lofty ranking, but I'd definitely choose to play Club de Golf Heritage over some of the more expensive courses I played in Mont-Tremblant on my tour of Quebec. I'd love to come back in the fall when the colors of the leaves pop.