Golf and the great outdoors

Golf Course pic for article

As featured in The Chronicle Herald. 

FORE! That’s the sound of the near future, as excited golfers watch their ball land near a hole at Forest Lakes Golf Club, the soon-to-be completed course at Forest Lakes. The course will put Nova Scotia on the map as a golfer’s dream destination, the same way Cabot Links has peaked the world’s interest in Cape Breton.

Why, you ask? The 18-hole course at Forest Lakes has been designed by Nicklaus Design, the golf course design firm behind golf’s legendary ‘Golden Bear’, Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus Design is widely regarded as the world’s leader when it comes to golf course design, having created nearly 400 courses in 36 countries, worldwide.

Bringing the best of the best to Atlantic Canada is something Forest Lakes is fast becoming known for, and golf is no exception. But a golf course doesn’t become perfect all on its own, no matter how good the design is.

A course like Forest Lakes Golf Club must be developed in an environment that is attractive, exciting and beautifully landscaped, while still retaining elements of the natural surroundings. The landscape of Forest Lakes fits the bill, as the lush trees and rolling terrain of the community’s countryside provide the perfect setting for the course, while Holes #12 and #13 will be played alongside picturesque Cochran Lake, just one of the course’s scenic elements.

“This is going to be the best golf course in the Maritimes,” says Jon Scott, consultant with Nicklaus Design. “It is a completely different style course than that which you would see anywhere else in the region. It’s a parkland golf course, where each hole is going to be unique in how it utilizes the terrain. Other golf courses have the coastline, the romance of exclusivity, and the history. That will not be enough. What you have here is something so special that it will supersede those accolades.  It’s also going to involve some thought on the tee as to how you want to play, and will offer plenty of room around the course’s obstacles.”

Chris Cochran, lead designer with the Nicklaus team, has put meticulous attention to detail into every hole, right down to every square inch shaped, ton of earth moved, and seed of grass planted. The course’s professional shaper, who has worked on a number of Nicklaus courses over the years, is much like an artist. Not only is he an expert in shaping, but he has vast knowledge of different soils, terrains, and in any unexpected conditions that may arise during the shaping process. The course is his canvas, as he forms and molds the landscape into the shapes, lines and curves.

Currently, seven holes have been cleared and five more are to be seeded by mid-summer. Grass is grown on two of the 18 holes, while ground work, shaping, irrigation, seeding, and fertilizing continue on the back nine holes, which hasn’t slowed down throughout the long, cold winter. Barry Scott, Turf and Landscape Manager for Forest Lakes Golf Club, confirms that the course is well on its way to being ranked on the top tier of the best Nicklaus Design courses in the world.

The course layout is designed for skilled, professional golfers, but is equally as friendly to the everyday golfer, with five sets of tee decks, ranging from 5,033 yards up to the PGA tour-worthy 7,460 yard layout. The course’s additional facilities, including the Clubhouse and Youth Golf Academy, will complement the course, offering top-of-the-range facilities for residents and the local golfing community.

Of course, keeping in line with Forest Lakes’ commitment to environmental sustainability, all areas of the community, including the golf course, will be protected during construction. Landscaping for the course, for example, has been designed to maximize the use of recycled water from the course’s irrigation lake, Bear Lake.

The excitement of the project continues to build as each hole is precisely finished to perfection. One can easily imagine the hours of enjoyment and challenge that await golfers of this stunning course. The changing seasons will bring new vistas and experiences. From fresh new greens of spring, to the sparkling lakeside waters of summer, and the splendid colours of fall foliage, Forest Lakes Golf Club will be one course you can’t afford to miss out on.