The Links at Crowbush Cove opened in 1994 and is one of Prince Edward Island's best courses.
It's hard to miss the pride in Lorie Kane's voice when she talks about her native Prince Edward Island. "It's just a friendly, special place," says the veteran LPGA
player when talking about the Canadian province where she was born and continues to call home during the summer months. "We take life very easy. It's nice."
When Kane was growing up, there were only four courses considered worthy of holding tournaments. Now, she says, there are more than 25 in the country's smallest province, with only one being semi-private,offering the tourists that the island caters to (more than nine times the native population of roughly 140,000 visit the island yearly) plenty of options.
Asked if the golf in the area is underrated, Kane hesitates, instead describing it in different terms. "I think the golf is unknown," Kane says. "We're still a secret. But when people do come up here, they really enjoy it. It's probably one of the most affordable places in the world to play."
I'd send people first to the course where I grew up, Brudenell River. My dad was the first club pro there. It's distinctive because it has six of everything -- six par 3s, six par 4s and six par 5s. It's a traditional layout on a wonderful piece of property. There's a sister course there called Dundarave that's been added since I grew up; it's also a blast to play.
Both courses are owned by the provincial government, as are two others I like. The Links at Crowbush Cove opened in 1994 and is one of PEI's best. When you're on the 11th hole, go all the way to the back tee. It's worth the walk up as you can see the island's north shore. The view is breathtaking. There is also a course called Mill River on the island's west end. It's got wide fairways and rolling terrain that's a staple of golf in the area.
WHERE TO STAY
All four courses have adjacent hotels as part of the Rodd Hotel group, so you can stay on property at each. What I suggest, though, is you consider staying in Charlottetown, the provincial capital. You're not more than 25 to 30 minutes away from the courses and you can enjoy the city's night life. I recommend The Great George, which is right on Great George Street, a very historic location in the city. There's also the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel, which is the city's oldest hotel. It has a quaint feel to it.
One other spot to consider is the Inn at Bay of Fortune. It's on the eastern part of the island and is one of the more highly touted spots in Atlantic Canada, not far from Brudenell.
We have such great food -- island-grown produce, beef and fish -- that in the summer I don't do a lot of cooking at home but go out to eat instead. Among my favorites is the Merchantman Pub in Charlottetown. It's got a high-quality menu, with several very good chef's specials. Not far from there is the Sims Corner Steakhouse & Oyster Bar. The title tells you its specialty. Another place is the Claddagh Oyster House, which has some great seafood.
The Confederation Centre of the Arts is a neat stop. If you're familiar with the story "Anne of Green Gables," there's a musical version performed there that's fun for all ages. The story's author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, was born on PEI, and her home in Cavandish is another nice attraction.
PEI is known for its beaches. On the south side they have very red clay, and on the north side they're white with unbelieveable dunes. On the north side, one of the best is Cavandish Beach.