Those willing to venture east to one of the furthest golf outposts in Canada are rewarded with The River Course, a raw and rugged wilderness layout. The land around Humber Valley Resort is astonishing and the course speaks for itself with over 300 feet of elevation change. Cut through vast forests, in a surprisingly mountainous region, our design team drew upon the land’s high points for dramatic tee shots, of which No.10 is one of the most spectacular in Canada. Other holes follow the majestic Humber River and weave seamlessly through wooded valleys. It’s the simple natural diversity of the land that defines the Humber Valley experience – a course that is enjoyable to play every day with a welcoming resort course feel.
While Humber Valley’s remote location may be somewhat challenging to get to for many Canadians, the $1 billion, = 1,000-home development with sales aimed at those living in Britain, Ireland and Europe has been a huge homerun for the owners. In working closely with Newfound Developers, our design team seamlessly integrated the homes into the site so homeowners can enjoy one-of-a-kind views from their chalets, while golfers enjoy a natural environment.
Humber Valley Resort is situated in the Appalachian Mountain range, on the northern side of the Humber River and Deer Lake in western Newfoundland, and it opened for business in 2006. The River Course, an 18-hole, par 72 championship layout followed two years later and it’s a Doug Carrick design routed across forested, gently rolling terrain with water coming into play at several holes alongside the river or lake.
A couple of holes stand out on the front nine. The par three 5th hole plays across a small inlet to a green protected by the lake and a large waste area that’s merely an extension of the beach whilst the 8th is an intriguing short par four where the approach shot must find a raised green guarded by bunkers to the left.
On the back nine, the 10th is a very strong par four that’s often played into the prevailing wind, starting from an elevated tee position high above the fairway and ending with a severely contoured green. The 15th is a great short par four with water hazards - river right, pond left and creek behind - surrounding a driveable green that entices big hitters to reach it in one mighty blow.
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With wonderful views of the fabulous Appalachian Mountains, Humber Valley is a perfect mountain golf course in an idyllic setting. Extraordinarily beautiful with all the appealing features you would seek, including fine specimen trees, a majestic river, glorious mountain views, a wealth of wildlife, sparkling fountains and meticulously manicured fairways and greens. Humber Valley offers many different looks, from the hill holes to the lower-lying holes and the view from the tenth tee ranks among the best in golf. One of the best new golf courses in the country.
Doug Carrick’s work at Humber Valley is exceptional. Part of a resort complex built for wealthy Europeans as a four season facility, Humber Valley’s golf course is among the best to open in Canada in a long time. It is better than Fazio’s Coppinwood near Toronto, and better than Carrick’s Eagles Nest in Maple. It is surely better than any of Carrick or Thomas McBroom’s Muskoka work. Set on a set of steep hills with a surrounding low mountain range, Humber Valley would appear to be a tough site. Most mountain sites are not conducive to golf, with slopes that are too severe and require blasting or significant earth moving. Carrick may have moved a lot of land here — and there are indications he did make cuts, but largely this is the most natural of Carrick’s courses to date. The course has expansive views and the architecture attempts to match the scale. That means prominent bunkers and fairways that offer width without becoming overkill. Greens are relatively subtle, as is the case with most of Carrick’s designs, but several offer something unusual for the architect — greens that move from fairway to putting surface naturally on grade. Carrick seems to love his slightly elevated greens — which surely improve drainage — but lose the natural appeal. Several of Humber Valley’s greens have a distinctly natural character, something I’ve rarely seen in Carrick’s work.
Humber Valley, Doug Carrick’s latest creation, is arguably the best modern course in Canada. The scale of the property, more specifically the back nine is unmatched in the country. There are some great risk-reward holes, with an emphasis on driving placement.
People first started talking to me about the Humber Valley River Course a couple of years ago. They said it would be spectacular, but since the real estate that surrounds the course was being marketed to Europeans, few Canadians might get all the way east to see it. Thankfully I was one of the lucky bunch that made a trip to see Humber Valley this summer and it was nothing short of stellar. The course offers stunning vistas throughout and in the 10th hole, with its 180 foot drop, a tee shot players will speak of all their lives. Stunningly the 10th isn’t even the best hole on the course – a testament to the strength of the land with which designer Doug Carrick had to work. With a top fee of $100, this is one course worth heading across the country to witness first hand.
The most spectactular course to open in Canada in recent memory. A well thought out, solid layout, bordered by beautifully by stunning vistas. It’s a beautiful piece of property, worth heading for the 10th hole alone.
Humber Valley Resort is the second-best course on the East Coast—Stanley Thompson’s Highlands Links in Cape Breton is almost mythic in its stature, so it’s not going to be supplanted anytime soon. While the $110 green fee is a little steep, it pales in comparison to the cost of camera equipment you’ll want to bring along, for there might be more photo-ops here than any other course in Canada. It peaks midway through your round at the 458-yard 10th, a distance offset by the fact that you stand 180 feet above the fairway on a hole that rivals Greywolf’s sixth-hole in Panorama, B.C., Devil’s Cauldron, the par-3 fourth at Banff Springs, Glen Abbey’s 11th in Oakville, Ontario, and Bigwin Island’s 18th in Lake of Bays, Ontario as Canada’s most breathtaking tee shot. The course plunges downward for the first four holes before arriving at arguably the best hole on the course, the gripping 232-yard par-3 fifth—over a stretch of water and beach. Architect Doug Carrick, however, reminds you that you’ve had it relatively easy to this point by pointing you into the teeth of the prevailing wind as you begin the ascent back up the hill into a par-4 and par-5 that play as though they’re 500 and 625 yards respectively, even though it reads a lot less than that on the scorecard. The bunkering is elegant and strategically placed, though a bit penal in spots for a resort destination. A few less sand traps in places would also have given some of the holes a little more individuality, and the green speeds will not be consistently slick until they’ve grown in for another season, but it’s hard to find fault here.