Golf in Canada

Information for the golfer on golfing in Canada: the Golf Federation, the requirements to play (the handicap system, medical certificates) with information on who to contact locally...

Golf is popular throughout Canada and exceptional courses can be found across the country, many located in areas with beautiful scenery.

Golf Canada is a member-based organisation governed by the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA). It is the governing body for the sport in Canada and has over 1,600 golf clubs across the country.

  • Golf Canada
    : Suite 1 - 1333 Dorval Drive, Oakville, ON L6M 4X7
    Tel: 905 849 9700 / 1 800 263 0009 (toll-free)
    Fax: 905 845 7040

Golfing Regions

There are more than 2,000 golf courses in Canada, with Ontario alone having over 650. The main golfing regions are the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec. All have their own provincial golfing associations and are home to numerous golf courses.

Canada has a mix of both public and private courses. Some of the top private golf courses include St Georges G&CC in Ontario, Capilano G&CC in West Vancouver, the National Golf Course of Canada in Ontario and the Redtail Golf Course, also in Ontario.

Some of the best golf courses are also open to the public, such as Highlands Links in Nova Scotia, the Links at Crowbush Cove, Prince Edward Island, the Lake Joseph Club, Ontario and the Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club, Alberta.

The Canadian Open is played at a different club every year and there are many other championships that are played across the country.

  • For information on golf championships in Canada: Click here

Golf Seasons

The main golf season runs from the middle of April until the end of October. In the eastern, mid and more northerly areas, most courses will be closed during the winter months due to snow and ice. In more temperate parts of British Columbia clubs may be open for longer during the winter, depending on conditions.

The Handicap

The RCGA is the authoritative body which is responsible for establishing and maintaining a uniform handicap system across golf clubs, in co-operation with the provincial golf associations. There are also "public player" systems in place which allow people who are not members of a club to obtain a handicap rating.

  • For information on the RCGA handicap system: Click here

Handicaps are calculated using the best ten results of the last 20 rounds played. This is referred to as the Handicap Factor and is updated after each round. Newcomers to Canada should contact a local club for information on transferring their handicap.

Joining a Club

Joining a golf club is usually a straightforward process: contact the club's membership team or ask at the reception for membership details. Some private clubs may ask for new members to be endorsed by current members and may even ask applicants to meet the committee. Some may require membership of the relevant provincial golf association. Dress code varies and it is advisable to check the rules with public courses in advance. Private clubs will provide this information.

A medical certificate is not required to join a club or play in tournaments.

Private and public courses

To become a member of a local RCGA golf course, contact the provincial membership association.

  • For links to provincial golfing associations: Click here

The RCGA runs a scheme called the National Public Player Program (NPPP) which allows individuals or groups to become members of the RCGA and their corresponding provincial golfing associations without having to incur the high costs associated with individual golf club membership.

  • For more information about this scheme: Click here

There are also public golf courses where the public can play for a fee. Some operate on a first come first served basis, while others require booking in advance. Check under "Golf Courses" in the local yellow pages for further information.

Listings for the numerous driving ranges in Canada can be found under "Golf Practice" or "Golf Driving Ranges" in the local yellow pages.

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