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Golf Quebec’s Eastern Townships

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BROMONT, QUEBEC — Just an hour south of Montreal, the Eastern Townships offer the highest concentration of golf courses in Quebec. Situated in the Appalachian foothills surrounded by mountains, rolling hills, river valleys and lakes, these naturally beautiful courses offer some of the best golfing deals in Canada with low season/twilight rates from $20 — rarely topping $70 in high season.

Here are five of the best courses in the region:

1. Golf Château-Bromont

Serge, a local golf fanatic, says Golf Château-Bromont is his favourite course in the region. “The mountain views are spectacular and the greens are always in great shape and mosquitoes and black flies are rare.”

Chateau Bromont Club de GolfThis par 72 course, opened in 1964 sports wide fairways, easy par 5s, and great views of the Townships. The back nine plays easier than the front and the best holes start with an elevated tee shot to a green far below. The greens play fairly slow with challenging undulations and large breaks compliments of nearby Mount Bromont. The intimidating signature 15th demands a long drive over water.

Tips: Take a cart — usually included — to combat serious uphill climbs.

A design quirk on the 13th hole requires golfers to approach the tees from the green — note the hidden water hazard behind the hole as you approach the tee boxes.

Rates range from shoulder season specials of $45 per person including golf, cart and a light lunch. Regular walking rates range from $40 to $50 with twilight/early mornings from $20 to $30.

Château Bromont PoolBring your bathing suit to the course for an après golf swim in the outdoor pool adjacent the clubhouse, which is less crowded than the hotel pool.

One-night packages per person including full breakfast, golf and cart start at $136.00 with four-course meal in superior accommodations.

Apres golf activities: Take advantage of a wide range of Château Bromont Spa treatments and an oriental-style hammam surrounded by landscaped gardens, waterfalls and a whirlpool bath — the only one of its kind in Quebec. Amerispa Château-BromontAn adjacent bike trail joins the 3,000-kilometre Route Verte. Dining options include the popular Les Quatre Canards restaurant with signature Lac Brome duck and an extensive wine list.

 

Address/contact info:

  • 95, rue de Montmorency, Bromont, Quebec J2L 2J1
  • Telephone: 450-534-1199 (toll-free, 1-888-276-6668)
  • Website: www.chateaubromont.com

2. Le Royal Bromont

While Golf Château Bromont scores points for scenery, Le Royal Bromont takes top marks for course conditions. “The Royal is better groomed, better maintained and has faster greens than Château Bromont,” Serge says.

Le Royal Bromont, a public course designed in 1992 by Graham Cooke, hosted the 1994 Canadian PGA Championship and appears on Golf Digest’s 2012 Best 100 golf courses in Canada. A par-72 track, Le Royal Bromont ranges from 5,181 to 7,036 yards and features bent grass greens, fairways and tee areas and white silica bunkers. As with most Quebec courses, pesticides are banned. Green fees from $26 to $71.

Address/contact info:

  • 400, chemin Compton, Bromont, Quebec J2L 1E9
  • Telephone: 450-534-4653 (toll-free, 1-888-281-0017)
  • Website: www.royalbromont.com

3. Le Parcours Du Vieux Village

Another 18-hole championship course, Le Parcours Du Vieux Village sits in the shadow of Mount Bromont on the banks of the Yamaska River. Since 1994, this Score Golf favourite (9/10) with the pretty Victorian clubhouse has been attracting locals and visitors with bargain green fees from $20 to $44.

Address/contact info:

4. Manoir des Sables Golf Course

Le Club de golf Manoir des SablesFacing Mont Orford, the Manoir des Sables Golf Course includes 27 holes sitting on a private lake. The par-71,18-hole championship course starts with an uphill par 5 followed by three holes of excellent mountain views.

On the 5th, aim further right than what your eyes suggest, otherwise your curving downhill tee shot will hit the woods on the left. The 6th, 10th and signature 16th all feature elevated tees.

You’ll have an audience as you approach the 9th green, which sits below a balcony at the Hotels Villegia. Shorter hitters should play up to avoid a difficult second shot around the dog leg left access to a green protected by an overgrown, garden-like hazard from which balls are impossible to retrieve. Shooting uphill under the watchful eyes of curious onlookers can make for some messy approach shots.Manoir des Saubles

Greens fees are a reasonable $38 to $42 but do not include cart. Best to go for the golf/cart/three-course dinner package for $79 or a Stay and Play package in one of 117 rooms and suites with mountain or lake views.

Apres golf activities: Enjoy great drink specials — $12 pitchers of premium beer anyone? And $2 steamies (hot dogs) on the sprawling verandah of the Albatross Bar as you watch weary golfers struggle on the 18th green. Alternatively, head into Magog a few minutes away for a cooling dip in Lake Memaphremagog or a meal on the many terraced bars and restaurants lining the main street and Cherry River.

Address/contact info:

5. Owl’s Head Golf Course

Not far from Mordecai Richler’s Eastern Townships watering hole sits an award-winning, Graham Cooke-designed championship course at the foot of the western slopes of Owl’s Head Mountain.

The Owl’s Head Golf Course offers panoramic views, bent grass tees, fairways and greens, and strategically placed white silica bunkers and water hazards on six fairways. Most holes offer a view of Jay Peak in Vermont.

The course is well laid out so that each hole, including a signature island green, play quite differently from all the others thanks to the good use of woods, water and elevated tees. Prevailing left to right winds and optical illusions around the slope of the greens and fairway directions require a close study of hole-by-hole descriptions available online.

The par-5 12th offers the best shot at birdie or eagle but only if you avoid the fairway bunker on the right and hidden greenside bunker on the left. On the signature 16th island green, aim straight at the pin.

Rates range from twilight/off-season specials of $30 to weekend high season rates of $60.

Apres golf activities: Be sure to check out the impressive clubhouse complete with 45-foot ceilings of British Columbia timber and five fireplaces of native fieldstone, which houses an award-winning dining room specializing in classic French dishes.

Address/contact info:

  • 40, chemin du Mont Owl’s Head, Mansonville, Quebec J0E 1X0
  • Telephone: 450-292-3342 (toll-free, 1-800-363-3342)
  • Website: http://www.owlshead.com/

Skiing Quebec’s Le Massif

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Located in the Charlevoix region, an hour outside of Quebec City, Le Massif is Quebec’s most dramatic mountain. Le Massif is just 20 minutes further east along highway 138 from Mont Ste. Anne Ski Resort. A shuttle service runs every half hour from the nearest town, Baie St. Paul. Here visitors will find high-end bed and breakfasts, art galleries, restaurants and cafes – perfect for apres ski activities.

Skiing Le Massif

Le Massif features a dramatic 700-yard vertical drop, the highest east of the Rockies. The longest run is over three miles long and takes skiers to the town below. At Le Massif, the departure point of the chalet is located at the summit so visitors ski right out of the resort without having to board a ski lift. Well signed scenic runs allow skiers to opt for side trails of varying degrees of difficulty on their downward descent. Le Massif resort, part of a UNESCO – designated World Biosphere Reserve, is particularly popular with backcountry ski fans as two-foot snowfalls are not uncommon.

For those who don’t alpine ski, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and ice climbing are also available at Le Massif. With 43 runs and counting, one can easily get lost. To fully appreciate all Le Massif’s trails, free guided tours (recommended) are available upon request.

Apres Ski Activities

At Le Massif, dining is taken as seriously as skiing. Unlike most ski resorts where fried foods are the norm, Chef Guy Bessone and his team work hard to insure skiers are eating properly to meet the physical demands of skiing. From the Summit Cafeteria to the gourmet restaurant, Mer & Monts (Sea and Mountains), healthy food choices dominate.

Local bands provide an excletic mixture of entertainment from folk music to fusion world beat at the Summit Pub. Special family weekends feature clowns and face painting for the kids and demonstrations of the newest ski equipment for all.

Traveling To Le Massif

It’s a good idea to arrive before 7 a.m. or after 10 a.m. to avoid the weekend traffic delays on the two lane access road. In extreme weather conditions, the road is closed. Because there is no night skiing as of yet, the trails close at 4:30 p.m.

Le Massif Ski Resort 1-877-536-2774

photo credit: Le Massif Ski Resort