Le Chateau Montebello Club de Golf, Montebello. Quebec
The Fairmont Chateau Montebello golf course is an 18 hole golf course (Par 70) nestled in the woods on the hillside above the Fairmont Chateau Montebello.. The course was designed by Stanley Thompson in 1929 as a private course and only became open to the public starting in 1970. According to the club’s website, “In 1998, this Montebello golf course was ranked as the 2nd Best Public Course in Quebec and more recently was awarded the prestigious Double Platinum Award by Canada’s Golf Ranking Magazine. The course was also designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary in 1998.”
We were teeing off in mid afternoon and I soon found out that looking into the sun from the first tee made it almost impossible for me to follow the flight of my ball so after hitting one somewhere out onto the fairway (or so I thought), I teed up a second and did the same thing (or so I thought). The above shot is taken looking back at the first tee-off and the clubhouse from where I thought that my two balls might have landed. They weren’t anywhere in sight, so I proceeded to take a third ball out of my bag. I rarely lose more than two balls over an entire 18 holes (unless there are water hazards!!!) so this was not a good way to start a round of golf!
We chose to use a golf cart for this course and that proved to be a good thing to do. At least, driving a golf cart up and down hills and around multiple bends helped me to keep my mind off one of the highest scoring rounds of golf that I have ever played. I don’t know if it was the angle of the sun, or the new pair of glasses that I was wearing out golfing for the first time, but, by the time that I had completed the front nine, I think that I had lost 6 or 7 golf balls. I stopped counting and stopped scoring so there is no concrete evidence!
In hindsight, the funny thing about this particular round of golf is that I never hit any really bad shots. For the most part, they were just disappearing from sight. On other courses, I’ve often come across a ball sitting clearly visible out in the open in the fairway or only slightly concealed in the rough and wondered how the owner of the ball had not been able to find such an easy-to-find ball. Well, after this round of golf, I am certain that someone golfing behind me might be thinking the same thing about the balls that I left somewhere on the fairway or in patches of rough lining the fairway.
On this particular day, even the trees were being kind to me. If I got too close to the forest edge, a tree branch would happily catch my ball and throw it back out onto the fairway. Unfortunately, even when this would happen, and I would hear the wooden thud and see the ball drop to the ground, the ball would somehow disappear before I got to it. Now, to be honest, I have had this happen to me before when golfing in Saskatchewan but that was a bit different. There, the course might have only one hungry tree, and at the base of such lone trees there always seemed to be a large gopher hole. At Montebello, that wasn’t the case. The balls just disappeared before I could get to where I was positive I had seen them fall!
At the above hole, I almost reached the sand trap (but not quite) so was happy with my shot 🙂 . This is the type of tee-off location where driving the ball and then driving the cart gives dual pleasure if you ball happens to land out in the open. Lots of fun to drive down the hill to get to the ladies tee which was on a lower level.
At this particular hole, my shot from up on top of the hill landed beautifully in the open but then the ball thieves took over again. My second shot was equally long but a bit to the right. It landed in the open and rolled slowly off of the fairway right near an easy to recognize rock. My wife saw where it went. I saw where it went. We both saw where it went. When we got to that spot on the edge of the woods, it too had disappeared. I was beginning to doubt my golfing sanity. Had to be my new glasses!
About this point, I dumped the score card.
The 9th hole at Montebello is a Par 3, and a pretty Par 3 it is. The distance is not great, but the hole is a beauty. From the tee-box, the distance for the white is about 115 yards and from the blue about 180 yards. What the score card doesn’t show is that to get from the tee-box to the hole, your ball must cross a ravine and arrive safely on a small green sitting at the top of a fairly sheer rock face. I pondered my options. If I used my 9 iron I might get great loft and end up in the ravine. If I used my 7 iron, I might get perfect loft and still end up in the ravine. Eventually, I decided on the more direct route and used my 5 iron hoping that I could just clear the lip of the rock face with light enough weight to stay on the green. Sorry, no pictures so you’ll just have to take my word for it. I used my 5 iron, hit it perfectly and my ball stopped five feet from the cup. Then, I proceeded to miss the putt and par the hole. Grrr – how could I miss a five foot putt at a moment like that? A hole-in-one or even a birdie on that hole would definitely have helped me to forget the previous 8 holes.
We had managed to stay on-time through the first nine and continued on to the back nine. I ended off the day with par on another par 3 and par on one of the Par 4’s so didn’t feel too badly by the end of 18 holes.
The weather was absolutely perfect for our round of golf so I couldn’t blame wind or rain or fog for my golf score, but I was definitely enjoying the layout of the course and the lush fairways and greens. Perhaps my score reflected the fact that the surroundings were too interesting. We only saw one other couple on the course while we were playing the course, so it was just great to have no rush. Of course, that meant that I had plenty of time to stop and take a photo or two.
Absolutely no complaints about the golf course but our golf cart did decide to malfunction atop a rise while out on the back 9. A bit tough to push a golf cart around the course so I got to walk back to the clubhouse to get help and a replacement cart.
It is no surprise to me that this course is rated as one of the nicest in Quebec. Hopefully, the next time that I get out to play it, the golf carts will last all 18 holes, the weather will be just as fantastic and my score will be much lower :-).
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