Granite Hills Golf Club lies within a 320-acre property on the shores of Lac du Bonnet. Plans for the layout were drawn up in 1983 but it took another twenty-four years before the course opened for play. Walter Zarecki and Robert Kost, the original developers, were replaced by Fred Jesche but he passed away, causing the project to be taken over by a group of investors who saw it through to completion.
Nowadays, the layout measures almost 7,100 yards from the back markers, playing to a par of 72, with holes laid out as two returning nines. Water comes into play at a few of the non-coastal holes in the form of small ponds to the side of the fairway at #6, #8 and #9, in addition to #10 on the back nine.
The main lake is visited only once at the par five 3rd (rated stroke index 1) before it reappears to the left of the 15th green. Water is then a constant down the left side of the closing three holes, as the fairways hug the shoreline tightly on the way back to the home green by the clubhouse.
Granite Hills Golf Club has five holes that run parallel to Lac du Bonnet, six that include a pond, while the others incorporate huge rocky outcrops from the Canadian Shield. There are plenty of elevation changes with well-defined tree-lined fairways and 35 bunkers to test your accuracy. The quarry sand is course but easy to hit out of.
The first two holes are both 400-yard par-4s so you need to bring out the driver right from the start. Architect Les Ferber admitted that he modeled the third hole after the 18th at Pebble Beach which has now been fondly nicknamed “Pebble Beach of the North”. This par-5 dogleg left around the shoreline that ends with a long slender green that juts out to a peninsula.
Hole #13 has a dramatic 40-foot rocky outcrop on the corner of this dogleg left. The tee blocks on 14 are the highest elevation on the course with the lake forming an impressive backdrop.
The finishing four holes maybe the strongest you will find anywhere. The 15th is a downhill par-5 dogleg right that shows off the lake and lodging. The 16th is a par-4 that doglegs left around the shoreline and the 18th is carved out of the granite face with water running down the entire left side.
In my opinion Granite Hills is underrated and should be seriously considered in the top 100 public golf courses in Canada. A definite must-play.
A little ways away in northern Manitoba, Granite Hills is a real hidden gem. Beautiful scenery with some holes just off the water, Granite Hills is a must play for anyone in Manitoba.