The Takeaway: Glen Arbour is an excellent offering for Nova Scotia and worth a visit when coming to Halifax. The course conditions are great, the lake views plentiful, and the service is friendly. While it doesn't stand among Canada's elite courses, it is a great warmup round for those on their way to Cabot Links. Grade B-
Designer: Graham Cooke in 1999
Cost: $55.00 CAD - $105.00 CAD ($18.00 CAD for a cart) Click for current rates
Phone Number: (902) 835-4653
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Glen Arbour Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 40 Clubhouse Lane, Hammonds Plains, NS
Accolades: Ranked 44th on Canadian Golf magazine's 2015 Top 100 Public courses list. Host of the 2005 Canadian Women's Open.
What to Expect: Glen Arbour is a late 90s design carved through a residential community and is characterized by hardwood trees, dense foliage, and plenty of water. Glen Arbour, Scottish for "valley of trees", is an appropriate name and helps shield the housing that sits far enough off the course that it rarely comes into play. The course has an unassuming start with more interest developing with the lengthy 6th hole and continuing through the rest of the front nine. 12-14 along with 17 and 18 represent the best holes on the course with the closing hole being an excellent finish to the course. The back nine is the more friendly side of the course with three reachable par fives and some downhill approaches which is a welcome feature considering the abundance of uphill approaches on the front nine. The dense low lying foliage outside the fairway results in your crooked shots almost certainly being lost so carrying some extra balls is a good idea. Don't be fooled by the 6623 yardage from the tips, the course offers plenty of challenge as the 73.0/139 rating and slope suggest. Despite the elevation changes, Glen Arbour is a course you will find plenty of people walking and is a great way to add enjoyment to your round.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 7th Hole – 155 Yard Par 3 – At a course full of beautiful holes thanks to the hardwoods and lakes, the 7th stands out as perhaps the most attractive with wood planks separating the green from the pond. A large spine crests the center of the green while the backstop on the right side of the putting surface filters balls back towards the pin when located on that side of the green. The short distance, large green, and attractiveness of the hole make it a favorite of patrons at Glen Arbour.
Best Par 3: 17th Hole – 207 Yards – Playing along the bottom corner of Bottle Lake, getting its name due to the classic Coca-Cola bottle shape the lake enjoys, the 17th is the final one-shotter at Glen Arbour. The left side of the green is protected by a lengthy bunker and your tee shot must carry a marsh to find the putting surface on this relatively small green. Graham Cooke tests your mettle until this end as this is the toughest par three on the course to conquer.
Best Par 4: 9th Hole – 414 Yards – The closing hole on the front nine is this mid-length par four that doglegs left around Sandy Lake. Is classic risk/reward fashion, the more of the hazard you are willing to challenge the shorter your approach will be into this green. Players taking it too safe could find themselves in one of the bunkers on the right side of the hole with a terrifying approach shot to a raised green with water on the left.
Best Par 5: 18th Hole – 560 Yards – The closing hole at Glen Arbour is also one of its finest and perhaps the most fun. The tee shot and approach shot both play downhill as the fairway descends on the green below. A small pond is hidden on the right side of the fairway about 125 yards away and is a precursor to the the hole running along Sandy Lake for the final 100 yards. Players that lay up under 100 yards from the green will be left with a slightly uphill shot whereas approaches from further away will play downhill with a nice view of the green. The narrow but deep green is shielded on the right by a full length bunker that can save you from Lake Sandy if your approach shot is fading right.
Birdie Time: 14th Hole – 504 Yard Par 5 – The favorite and most attractive hole on the property is this reachable par five that hugs Bottle Lake from tee to green. Players that can hit a draw off the tee will certainly have the green light to attack this green in two and look at putting a birdie on their card. All five bunkers found on this hole go up the right side with none of them being greenside. The 14th is the best of the lakeside and lakeview holes that you will experience at Glen Arbour.
Bogey Beware: 6th Hole – 572 Yard Par 5 – The #1 handicap at Glen Arbour is this lengthy par five that requires a decision on the second shot. With a creek cutting across the fairway, players must decide whether they lay back and have a very lengthy third shot at the green or whether to cross the water now and take their chances of finding safety. For long players it may be an easy decision, but even then the uphill approach shot leaves a virtually blind target to attack and a difficult putting surface to navigate due to the slope.