In a stunner, Dakota Dunes wins GD Best New
Yes, yes, I was wrong. Stupid sources that don't know what they are talking about.
In anycase, Dakota Dunes, a Graham Cooke course built in the golf hotbed of Saskatoon, will be awarded Best New Course in Canada by Golf Digest status when the award is officially announced next week. The only problem is the Internet page with the information has already shown up, announcing all of the winners.
The most stunning thing about the award to me isn't that Dakota Dunes won. Now given its location, the club did have difficulty getting GD raters to see it, but apparently they got the 10 they needed to get the vote. No, the stunning thing to me is that Georgian Bay Club, a strong, but slightly pedestrian golf design with a few truly dull holes, came in second, ahead of the simply stunning Eagles Nest Golf. My position on Eagles Nest is well known, but I'm not the only one. Globe and Mail golf columnist Lorne Rubenstein said in an article last year that there's no point giving out an award this year -- it should just be handed to Eagles Nest. Turns out we were wrong. The only thing is that I don't think we were. Eagles Nest, which is admittedly built on a less atttractive piece of property than Georgian Bay or Dakota Dunes, may be Doug Carrick's masterpiece. Built out of nothing, Carrick and associate Cam Tyers crafted a wonderful course full of 40 foot dunes and holes that present tremendous options. There is not a weak hole on the property.
Now that doesn't mean Dakota Dunes isn't a better golf course. It has natural sand dunes and by all accounts is a pretty impressive golf exercise. I have not seen it, so I can only go by second hand accounts.
Anyway, Cooke's office has been on a roll as far as these awards are concerned. He won for the Lynx at Kingswood Park (which is actually not particularly good by all accounts), Fox Harb'r and now Dakota Dunes. Surprisingly more developers haven't taken him into the Ontario market.
The entire Best New list including the Canadian courses, can be found here.