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“The best place to play in Halifax” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Glen Arbour Golf Course

Glen Arbour Golf Course
Attraction details
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Level Contributor
298 reviews
131 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 483 helpful votes
“The best place to play in Halifax”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2013

Glen Arbour golf course has been around for fifteen years and during that time it has hosted the most prestigious tournaments held in Atlantic Canada - the LPGA Canadian Open, the Telus Skins Game, Wayne Gretzky & Friends and others. There is a reason why - this is a great championship course.

Designed by one of Canada's pre-eminent golf architects (and amateur golfers), Graham Cooke, it is the show piece of the Glen Arbour property development. For a lot of people the thought playing a golf course that is part of a residential development is not appealing. However, banish those thoughts about Glen Arbour. For a so-called 'have not' province, golfers will be surprised at the quality of the luxury homes with their impeccable landscaping that surround some of the holes. The lots are very large and the houses do not impinge on the golf course; if anything they are an enhancement to the experience of playing Glen Arbour.

The clubhouse,sited just above one of the many lakes at Glen Arbour, is one of the largest in Nova Scotia with a very well stocked pro shop. The selection of golf clothing is certainly the best in the Halifax area if not the entire Province.

The Glen Arbour development features 'bundled' golf which means if you buy a property here you automatically get a membership. Since there are at present only 240 homes the only way this will work is by having a lot of guest rounds and the way to succeeed at that is to have a great course, competent and friendly staff and reasonable green fees. Glen Arbour has all three although at $105.00 per round in summer it is at the pricier end of Nova Scotia golf.

So what about the course? First of all it plays around no less than four lakes amidst a series of glacial ridges - what many would describe as classic Canadian topography. Loons nest on the lakes and eagles often soar overhead. The course is visually beautiful, particularly on a sunny summer day. Conditioning is top notch. The greens are undulating and can be very fast. There is one catch - it's very difficult, particularly the front nine. This is largely because there are a series of carries off the tee or on second shots on par fives that are at the absolute limit for the average golfer. Holes 3,4,5 and 6 all require long precision drives. Expect to lose a few balls, but also expect a real sense of accomplishment if you make those long carries.

No. 7 is one of the prettiest par 3's you'll find anywhere, although it too is all carry across a water lily filled pond.No. 9 is a great ending to the front nine with water all down the left side.

The back nine eases up somewhat with three par 3s, three par 4s and three par 5s. The par 5s are particularly outstanding, especially the finishing 18th. Graham Cooke really did shape a wonderful course out of this pristine wilderness and the reward has been that Glen Arbour has always consistently been rated in the top 100 courses in Canada.

So why don't I give this course the top rating? For two reasons. Firstly, it has always been a cart path only course which to my mind is completely stupid. Even in the best conditions carts have to remain on the paths. If you are in good shape the course is very walkable with no particularly long walks between holes, but there are a lot of up and downs. If you need a cart then the cart path rule will dimish your experience. The second reason is a bit of nitpicking, but it really did bug me - people are not replacing their divots. The lush fairways are underlain by a sand base so there are going to be lots of divots. Obviously it is not the course's fault that people don't have the courtesy to repair the divots, but probably because of the cart path rule
the carts don't have replacement sand holders and that contributes to the problem.

Despite these reservations, the bottom line is that this is a must play course in the Halifax area.

Visited August 2013
3 Thank maritimeexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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18 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Dartmouth, Canada
Level Contributor
71 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Great golf course”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2012

Had a great time. A challenging course for this beginner. Alovely way to spend a few hours.

Thank deaglekl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Canada
Level Contributor
30 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Quality course”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2012

Public/Private course that typically seems to have tee times available. A little pricey but you get what you pay for. Nicely manicured challenge.

1 Thank canadacoast2coast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Level Contributor
58 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Beautiful course just outside Halifax”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 1, 2010

I came across the other reviews and thought I'd put in my 2 cents' worth. I have always found the staff to be friendly, from the gang in the pro-shop, especially Norma, to Bill the starter. The people in the dining room are great but service is slow.

The course is beautiful and close to the city; it is carefully manicured and the fairways really do feel like carpet. Most of the holes have a view of the water or are right on a body of water. If you end up on the rough or even slightly out of bounds, you can usually find your ball (unless you end up in the fescue... good luck). You may also see animals that you wouldn't typically see on a city course: deer, rabbits, foxes, ducks.

You can get a round in here in 4.25 to 4.5 hours. I've played many courses around Nova Scotia and on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, your round can be as long as 5.5 to 6 hours amd you are stuck waiting on every shot. The course isn't a hard walk compared to Osprey Ridge or Hartlen Point, or heck, even Penn Hills. If you elect to take a power cart, its cart paths only, which can get tedious.

For you ladies, this is one of the friendliest courses I've ever played... on par 3's, you can hit your short irons and on par 4's, if you have a decent drive, you usually have an iron into the green. I found the par 4's at Bell Bay really long compared to this course. Also, there are REAL washrooms on the back and front 9. The beer cart has the usual fare along with trail mix bars that are made on site although I've heard complaints that the cart doesn't get around as much as it should.

As for the course being wet... it is true that it doesn't drain as well as other courses I've played; however, the last 2 summers have been unusually rainy and the course is surrounded by water. It is expensive to play a few rounds during peak times, however the off peak and twighlight rates aren't too far out of line.

4 Thank glenarbourgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“The Royal and Ancient... ermm Glen Arbour”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2008

Glen Arbour is a good course, definately the best in the Halifax Met area... which isn't a tough challenge. The condition of the course is always good but, how could it not be with a price tag to scare away any visitors. Speaking of scaring away, if the over the top price tag doesn't then the ignorant staff will. Obviously not all of the staff are ignorant but the 'Management' certainly are.

Is it worth a visit? Yes but only one, this course has a huge potential but, with it's NOT WELCOME attitude it will never do more than just be a nice view from the excellent real estate.
Osprey Ridge is worth a trip, it's isn't as good as Glen Arbour but at least you can enjoy your day and have some cash left over for a beer.

1 Thank darryl47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GlenArbourHalifax, manager at Glen Arbour Golf Course, responded to this review, June 10, 2009
Hello Darryl
I was disappointed to read your review of the course from last year. I wish I knew of your concerns on the day you played. I was surprised to see that you had a below par experience as our staff enjoy their place of work and next to our greens are our best asset. I would be pleased to welcome you back this season for a complimentary round. This season our prices are now at the same price point of other courses in the area which I hope you will find that the price tag is less scary.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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