Owned by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and operated by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, the 65,000-acre resort complex at Château Montebello lies within a heavily wooded estate on the shores of the Ottawa River. The resort’s course was once the preserve of the Seigniory Club, an exclusive organisation with a membership that included heads of state, captains of industry and even royalty.
The Canadian Golfer magazine – as quoted in James Barclay’s book, The Toronto Terror – describes its construction in 1931 by Stanley Thompson thus: “He was commissioned to build the course at an expense of some $150,000 and he built well. Out of a wilderness of rock and tree and shrub, he carved out undulating fairways and emerald-like greens… traversing ravines and valley.”
When the property was sold to Canadian Pacific Hotels in 1970, the private 18-hole layout – which is accessed from the Château by shuttlebus – became available for play to the general golfing public for the first time.
The panoramic views from the elevated tee at the par five 4th hole are a highlight on the front nine whilst, on the inward half, one of the more memorable holes is played at the par four 14th, where a tributary of the Ottawa River protects the front of the green.Connoisseurs of old-fashioned golf architecture will admire the short par fours on the card (at holes 1, 8, 10 & 12) and they will positively revel in the delights of Montebello’s five short holes, three on the outward half and two on the inward nine.
My wife and I try to play this course every year; its a nice way to spend a day, with a nice lunch at the stunning hotel. Its a great course, except for one major thing...the bunkers are terrible quality; they borderline on gravel; surprising that a Fairmont Hotel course has bunkers no better than any local $20 cheapy neglected course. Absolutely unacceptable. Other than the bunkers, it is a great and interesting course.