Glen Afton ~ Player's Guide

 Glen Afton Golf Course has been chosen to host the Island Amateur Championship in 2015. The venue is one of the Island's most scenic and fun courses to play. With the introduction of the “Blue” tee boxes and some thoughtful contour mowing we can also introduce “challenging” as well. We will have a newly constructed green on what may become our signature hole, number 10. This par 3 plays from an elevated tee, over a pond to a tiered green. Well protected on the front with water and sand, bordering out of bounds at the back, this will be birdie or double bogey territory for many.

The greens at Glen Afton are better than ever. The Superintendent, Jonathan Currie,  has an unbelievable eye for detail and his efforts have resulted in outstanding putting surfaces. The investment in new greens mowers, aeration equipment, irrigation, a greens roller and professional staff have resulted in some of the finest putting surfaces on the Island.  Putting at Glen Afton is more than 50% of your golfing experience now.

We pride ourselves on being green. We believe that we use the least herbicides of any course on Prince Edward Island. We know that this is an important issue and we are committed to the safety of our members and guests by eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals. The appearance of our course is actually enhanced with the natural growth and ocean views. Your family is safe golfing at Glen Afton.

The PEI Golf Association has worked with us to ensure the accuracy of our markings, the rating of our new tee boxes, as well as recommending contoured mowing on the long holes to challenge the long ball hitters. Indeed Glen Afton will provide a remarkable Championship setting with the ideal mix of risk reward holes.

Talking about the greens, they are simply fun to putt on. They are quick, but not too quick. The ball once started on a line will hold, decelerate and break beautifully. If you like putting and enjoy greens that will reward a good putter and give up a few birdies, then you will love these greens.  Best of all, the greens keeping staff make sure the green surface is healthy, cut short and rolled smooth. There is a fine mix of small, medium and large greens, well mixed to match the distance of the incoming approach shots. If you can target these greens there is a good chance for a one or two putt reward.

If you have a course handicap of 20 or more, consider playing from the new shorter “Tee boxes”. This will only make your second shot into the green more interesting, using wedges and or high irons for your approach shots,  just like the pros.   Have more fun, play quicker and have a much lower score by choosing the tee box best suited to your level of play.

Glen Afton,with the mix of wooded and links style of play, is one of the most interesting and fun places to play golf. The play at Glen Afton is usually within four hours or less. The holes are well protected from each other with a very interesting layout and variety of holes. The layout is simply superb providing fairway separation for safety and an assortment of holes that will keep your interest for a lifetime.  Many would say that this is the perfect mix of old and new and represents the best that golf can offer, on the Island.  Not only is Glen Afton a great choice for the serious golfer,  it is also a very safe choice for family golf.  Keep in mind that we are not far from the big red sand beaches of Canoe Cove.

The members of Glen Afton deserve special attention and thanks from the management for their extra effort and work to improve the course and facilities for all.  The members go out of their way to make golfing as a guest at Glen Afton a special experience.  Special thanks to Family Owned Operators, Merina Currie, General Manager and Jonathan Currie, Superintendent,  for the support and effort at making Glen Afton a better golfing venue.

HOLE 1 ~ PAR 4 ~ BLUE 322 YDS ~ WHITE 307 YDS ~ GREEN 265 YDS

This hole is a great starting hole and provides a great opportunity for a par, providing that you clear the two bunkers running laterally across the fairway 215 yards to carry off the tee. The rough on both sides is well mown turf cut to 3 inches so put it on the fairway for an easy second shot. The fairway slopes left to right so favor the left side if you cannot clear the bunkers on your first shot. The second shot to a green sloped back to front requires that you watch the pin placement closely.  Be careful with this shot; if the wind off the coast is behind you it is easy to be long.  If you are pin high or over the high back of this green, you could be looking at a bogey or more.  Coming back to this green and stopping is very tricky unless you are an expert with a lob wedge.  Capitalize on this hole and get off to a good start. This is a birdie hole for the experts.

HOLE 2 ~ PAR 3 ~ BLUE 159 YDS ~ WHITE 143 YDS ~ GREEN 116 YDS

The green is only 159 yards off the tee but if the wind is out of the north, be careful what club you use here as you could come up short.  The green is very generous so you have a big target to shoot at. The green is protected left and back with bunkers and water right. Make it stick or you could be chipping out of the large bunker at the left front or back of this green.  The water on the right of the fairway and green comes into play particularly if the wind is out of the west. Again, the green slopes middle to front so plan on leaving a short uphill putt for a birdie or par.  The green has large sweeping undulations and a ridge running across the middle, left to right, making for a tricky two putt unless you are in really close to the flag. This is a par for the low handicapper and expert golfer.

HOLE 3 ~ PAR 5 ~ BLUE 548 YDS ~ WHITE 513 YDS ~ GREEN 488 YDS

So you are off to a great start and you have that wonderful feeling after two good holes.  Well pay attention now because this par 5 is not easy. The tee box is set up for the long ball hitter attempting the green in two. Other players are advised to play well left to avoid bunkers down the right side.  The rough on the left is well mown turf and is playable but may take the distance of your second shot making the green difficult to hit on your third. Do not get behind the few spruces lining this fairway or you may give up a shot to chip into play. Keep it on the fairway. The funnel like “wooded” approach to the green requires an accurate shot or you could be playing a provisional ball if you have gone left, right or long into the woods. The green is bordered by a bunker on the left and woods on the right. If you are not a scratch golfer plan your approach shot from the 100 yard marker to avoid the trouble, and to open up your chances for a birdie or par. This hole has a large flat green and gives you a chance to sink a thirty footer for par.  Don't get too confident, this is a difficult two putt.  By the way, any ball hit right of the tee or fairway will be out of bounds, so all those with a slice take care, this hole will add to your score quickly. A bogey here is a good score even for the low handicapper.  Again this is birdie material for the long ball hitter with a very accurate second iron shot and a hot putter.

HOLE 4 ~ PAR 3 ~ BLUE 150 YDS ~ WHITE 140 YDS ~ GREEN 138 YDS

A short walk through a wooded path brings you to the tee box at number 4; this hole runs east to west directly into the prevailing winds and is surrounded by trees 40 to 50 feet high.  Club selection is critical here because the wind will affect the shot so sometimes it will be a nine iron or sometimes a four iron. Be careful as a sure par 3 can turn into a triple here easily.  The target green is large and well protected by a bunker in the front right and overhanging trees down the left side. Play from the right side of the tee box to take the bunker and overhang out of play. The green slopes back to front with sweeping undulations.  This is another green where you might sink a long putt.  A par here is great for even the expert golfer and a bogey for the higher handicapper is definitely excellent, take it and run. This is another birdie hole for the scratch golfer providing the wind is read correctly and club selection is the right one.  This is a beautiful wooded hole surrounded by maples, birches and tall spruce trees.  Watch the wind!

HOLE 5 ~ PAR 4 ~ BLUE 378 YDS ~ WHITE 368 YDS ~ GREEN 366 YDS

Is this hole an optical illusion?  The tee box faces directly south toward the strait and is open to the prevailing winds so generally this hole plays long.  In addition the fairway slopes down into a swale then rises again to the green.  This is an interesting par 4 and one that judging distances of carry is difficult to ascertain.  Should you be lucky enough to be on this green in regulation, a tough putt may be waiting for you.  This green has a ridge running front to back and if you are on the wrong side, the chances of a one putt are slim. The green also slopes back to front, particularly in the front;  if the flag is up front do not get past it or you will be three putting. This hole has trees right but open on the left other than for a large waste area which is playable for the most part.  Getting to the green from the waste area is not easy so count on a bogey from there.  This is a double bogey for the higher handicapper and a par for the experts and wannabes.

HOLE 6 ~ PAR 4 ~ BLUE 343 YDS ~ WHITE 318 YDS ~ GREEN 301 YDS

This is what links golf is all about. This hole is wide open with a closely mown fairway bounding a pond, “dogleg” left.  Your choice, drive the green across the water, carry 320 yards.  Play left into secondary cut into the turf in front of the pond, leaving a delicate pitch onto the green. Play to the left corner and leave an unobstructed shot into the green, carry 250 yards. Play safely to a landing area approaching the green, across the corner of the pond and bunker, carry 275 yards. On the other hand two well thought out 160 yard, 4 iron shots will get you there as well.  Yes, it is a large green sloping back to front and right to left so a three putt is possible.  This is a sure bogey for the high handicapper, a good chance for par for our low handicappers and a birdie for the pros.  By the way, watch the wind here as your drive is wide open to the prevailing west wind.  Who needs woods when golf can be this much fun, the way the Scots intended it. Note: The break right to left at the top right on this green is severe so take note of that if the pin is back right.

HOLE 7 ~ PAR 4 ~ BLUE 348 YDS ~ WHITE 338 YDS ~ GREEN 314 YDS

If you want to par this hole you must hit straight down the fairway to the corner of the “dogleg” left, carry 225 yards. This allows for a 125 yard iron shot to the green with no hazards in play.  If you are short with your tee shot, you will have to come in over the corner bunker tight to the green; this is a tough shot. The carry to the green across the corner is 315 yards from the right side of the tee box. This shot is obstructed by woods but some intrepid gofers can pull this shot off.  The green has a severe right to left back to front slope so there are few putts that don't break a few feet.  This is a double bogey for the high handicappers, par for the low handicapper and a birdie possibility for the pros.  By the way, off the tee you have out of bounds on the right and some nasty clover over there also.  It is possible to go overland to the green, but be careful the grass in the waste area is tough so your second shot may not go far.  For the long ball hitters, avoid getting stymied by a big spruce out 205 yards on the right.  This hole looks easy but few pars are made here regularly. This is golf at its best, interesting, challenging for all and fun.

HOLE 8 ~ PAR 3 ~ BLUE 188 YDS ~ WHITE 168 YDS ~ GREEN 137 YDS

This hole is a wide open long par 3 with a large green with a gentle slope and only one bunker front left.  If you don't make the green on your first shot, you will have a second shot from well groomed fairways all around this hole.  This green is really fun to putt because it looks flat, but in fact putts break off 5 to 7 feet depending on pin placement.  Be careful, three putts here are not uncommon.  This is a par hole so take advantage of it.  By the way, if the flag is blue and directly behind the bunker, go for the flag, there is lots of green to work with. The greens are well maintained and watered so they will hold a hot shot coming in from 188 yards. Go for the flag, there have been more than a few hole- in- one shots here.

HOLE 9 ~ PAR 5 ~ BLUE 513 YDS ~ WHITE 503 YDS ~ GREEN 480 YDS

You should be having one of your best rounds ever by this time.  Even the bogey golfers are probably carding 37-39 and our low handicappers are 33-35 all looking forward to an all time low score, right?  This hole runs directly south towards the Strait into the onshore breezes so this hole can play like 600 yards depending on conditions.  Out of bounds and a large bunker on the left, wide open right and a small bunker at the 235 yard mark so get as much out of your drive as possible.  It is possible to get there in 2, but I have only seen it done once.  The second shot plays down into a swale 90 to 120 yards from the flag so your third shot will be to an elevated green with very large sweeping undulations.  The left side of this green breaks away into a 60 foot gully and creek so keep it right or you are looking at a triple.  Par on this hole is excellent for anyone. Note: When the pin is back right make sure your approach shot is from the 100 yard marker on the left side of the fairway.

HOLE 10 ~ PAR 3 ~ BLUE 151 YDS ~ WHITE 134 YDS ~ GREEN 117 YDS

The tee boxes are elevated 60 to 80 feet above the green with two complete tee box locations. The daily choice is made to mitigate the effect of the wind on your tee shot, one location affording a southerly approach and the other more demanding shot either into or with the breezes. The green is tiered and protected front, by a pond, and bunkers right, and out of bounds rear. Clearing the water is not enough, play long, well not too long, because anything hit past this green is out of bounds. The long and the short of it will cost you two strokes. Now depending on the wind speed and direction you will have a really interesting shot to this green. You must make allowances for the wind here so read it carefully. A bogey here is good for the average player but there is a good chance for a birdie for the risk takers and marksmen. Starting the back nine with a 6 on a par three is not a good idea, but a lot of players do it here; be careful. Note: With a trailing wind use a 9 iron and into the wind use a 6 iron.

HOLE 11 ~ PAR 4 ~ BLUE 346 YDS ~ WHITE 336 YDS ~ GREEN 338 YDS

If you started out with a bogey on 10, this is not the hole that you will make it up on. This hole runs along a pond and marsh to your right which will not come into play generally. The fairway slopes left to right and is closely mown so play to the left side to stay on it with your tee shot. Left is safe up the hill, but the secondary cut could cause problems with your second shot. The fairway slopes left to right and is a test for uphill and downhill lies. This gets really interesting because the green is narrow and slopes front to back and left to right. This is a small target so plan on bump and run onto this one to play safe. Do not be long over the back on this one as it slopes quickly to the bottom of a very large swale and coming back to the narrow green is a tough shot.  It can provide some good practice for lob wedge players. This is a two putt green so make sure you are there in regulation.

 HOLE 12 ~ PAR 4 ~ BLUE 333 YDS ~ WHITE 323 YDS ~ GREEN 314 YDS

This hole is wide open to the Strait with a steep pitch 175 yards out and a very wide easy to hit fairway. Long left is safe and long right is out of bounds  so play it down the middle. The long ball hitters will have an easy wedge to the green which might stick on this green which slopes front to back; the ball will probably run to the bottom leaving a difficult 2 putt. Do not try to hit and stick on this green with anything under an eight iron. Best bet is to bump and run onto this one and hope for a stop before the trip to the bottom. This is an easy par for the pros and an easy double for the rest of us.  Be careful.

LUCKY 13 ~ HOLE 13 ~ PAR 4 ~ BLUE 357 YDS ~ WHITE 347 YDS ~ GREEN 312 YDS

Thirteen is an exciting and challenging hole that runs along the ocean and is a pleasure to look upon. It is a 357 yard par 4 with a “dogleg” to the right that requires a precise tee shot. The right side of the fairway skirts along the ocean and to make the corner comfortably you need a drive of 220 yards placed accurately because mature trees loom in the middle of the fairway at around 180 yards and along the right edge before the corner a thicket of trees lies in wait for any errant drives.  If you got the drive you wanted you then have a carry of around 150 yards over a pond into a beautiful green that slopes up with a bunker left and ocean at the back.  You have to factor in the wind which is a constant issue plus a firmer green which will not hold shots unless they were launched very high.  Any pitch back is going to be tricky if you are long. Many mid to high handicappers play this hole as a lay-up and happily take bogey but for those bold enough this can be a well earned par. Should you decide to lay-up the pitch to the green across the pond is longer than it looks at 75 yards. Precision and strategy are important when playing lucky 13. The prudent bogey golfer will lay-up in front of the pond, wedge the ball in close and still be going for par. The not so prudent golfer here usually gets a double or triple. Note: The direct to the green tee shot over ocean and marsh requires a carry of 326 yards of the tee. Be careful it is 300 yards to carry the marsh and ocean. The reward for your risk is a possible eagle and fame.

SWEET AFTON - HOLE 14 ~ PAR 5 ~ BLUE 525 YDS ~ WHITE 481 YDS ~ GREEN 456 YDS

The name Sweet Afton sums this hole up most accurately. The Afton River in Scotland was always known as the Sweet Afton because of its beauty and serenity. The song "Flow Gently Sweet Afton" describes this hole and how to play it.  For some, this is the hole that they would love to skip going directly from 13 to 15. For others, they would play this hole 18 times for the round. Many others would rebuild the green or fill in the tidal marsh to make it to their liking. This hole evokes strong feelings from all who play it, be they scratch or bogey golfers.  Although this is not the signature hole, it is the defining hole in the round of golf for most players.  Sweet Afton offers great rewards for risk takers that are successful in their shot making, so birdies can be had here but only if earned. On the other hand, the penalties for taking the risks and not making the shots will move even the scratch golfer into bogey and double bogey territory.  In essence this is the perfect golf hole.  Sweet Afton has to be played with the mind coupled with very high quality golf shots so it has become the defining hole for all who play at Glen Afton.  Laments are overheard on the tee box at number 15 that could make a best seller if published, "Best Excuses in Golf".  This was the most difficult hole to write about simply because justice cannot be done in describing this hole; you have to play it to understand why it brings out the best and worst in players.

Sweet Afton flows from a tee box backing on the ocean down to a tidal marsh and then gradually elevating over a rise and down to a target green.  Alister MacKenzie always said that the best holes in golf provide for alternate routes and shots with associated risks on the way from tee to green.  So it is here as well.  From the back tees it is a 325 yard drive across the tidal marsh to the 200 yard marker, making it easy to come in high with a 3 iron sticking it close to the pin for an eagle opportunity.  Did I mention that going right on this hole is not a good idea as out of bounds awaits those errant shots so take care and watch the prevailing westerly breezes that can float a perfect 300 yard drive beyond the white stakes. Keep in mind that a drive of less than 290 yards will leave you with a blind shot as the green is not visible from the tee box side of the hill. Determining the direction of the green from this spot is tricky as the mow lines do not parallel the direction to the hole, nor does the fence line. Throughout the day, the offshore breeze or wind will cut a lot of distance of the tee shot making the 180 yard carry over the marsh impossible for many golfers. The proudest of the long hitters can put a few balls into this tidal marsh before playing to a bail out area running to the left of the marsh. Conservative play when windy calls for taking the first shot left of the marsh, then placing the second shot on the crest of the hill for a very long approach to the green.  Don't go too far left or the water in front of 13 comes into play. Although the green is completely open from the front and it is easy to roll the ball on, it has a narrow profile, bunkered and mounded on the left and mounded on the right.  All shots going right will leave you with a chip shot over high mounds to a green sloping severely away from your shot. There is no chance of an up and down here so you will be looking at a double or, if really lucky, just a bogey.  Looks can be deceiving so be warned; play to the bottom of the green under the hole and putt up to the hole for your birdie or par.  It is very difficult to learn how to play this hole and advice offered is seldom taken. By the way, be careful what you say on the next tee box.

HOLE 15 ~ PAR 3 ~ BLUE 157 YDS ~ WHITE 147 YDS ~ GREEN 141 YDS

This is the last of the group of holes known by some as the "Dirty Half Dozen" starting at hole 10 and ending here. Like its predecessors, this hole can push you into bogey territory very quickly. This hole plays across water to an “elevated”  tiered green protected on the side and back by bunkers.  Do not go long into the back bunker because you cannot get up and down from there.  Do not play short as the sloping approach will kick your ball back and down the hill leaving you with an opportunity to demonstrate your flop shot in an attempt to preserve par.  This green can provide for a lot of fun in efforts to two putt this great equalizer of holes.  Be careful here as double bogeys are taken here as often by the pros as by the bogey men.  Like all holes at Glen Afton, the alternate route is a lay-up of the tee out 130 yards from the tee box followed with a wedge to the green still leaving a chance for par.  P.S. The perfect loft and flight to hold the green can be achieved with a 7 or 8 iron for some scratch players. Note: Bogey golfers have a slight chance of holding the green with a five wood.  

HOLE 16 ~ PAR 4 ~ BLUE 407 YDS ~ WHITE 377 YDS ~ GREEN 344 YDS

OK, breathe a sigh of relief, you can coast home from here; now is your chance to make up a few strokes starting with this easy par 4. The hole is straight away from the tee, leaving an easy approach shot into a big flat green. The rough on both sides of this fairway is playable so there is not much risk here.  Honest!

HOLE 17 ~ PAR 3 ~ BLUE 200 YDS ~ WHITE 180 YDS ~ GREEN 135 YDS

This hole runs directly into the westerly prevailing wind so club selection becomes difficult.  On a very calm day, a 4 iron will do nicely but there are times when the driver can be used particularly if the pin is at the back of this very deep green which adds another 30 yards to this hole. This can play like 210 or 220 so take care.  Accuracy is a must here as the green is flanked on the left with water and a deep bunker on the right.  The green is tiered it also slopes front to back and right to left, and it is very fast.  Did I mention that a par would be nice here?

HOLE 18 ~ PAR 5 ~ BLUE 503 YDS ~ WHITE 493 YDS ~ GREEN 378 YDS

This is a hole for the long ball hitters; it is wide open and allows for the power hitters to be there in two. The landing area for bogey golfers second shot is narrowed by a pond on the right at the 150 yard marker. A very accurate second shot is required here. The green is very generous and will hold a ball coming in from the 200 plus yardage markers. The green is protected left front with a bunker and a false front.  Balls hit short will roll back off the green so don’t be shy, be aggressive here. This is a good opportunity for a birdie.

 Comment by Ian Barrett ~ Glen Afton is definitely one of those courses with the rare quality of making golf extremely fun to play and extremely fun to talk about afterwards.  Glen Afton is the most enjoyable, playable course on Prince Edward Island.

 

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A Brief History of PEI

Contributed by Jennifer Tully