Photo Review: Nicklaus North Golf Club

Information:

  • Whistler, British Columbia
  • Public – Daily Fee
  • Jack Nicklaus (1996)
  • 49th in Canada (ScoreGolf)

Nicklaus North is part of the trifecta of Canadian Top 100 courses in the Whistler area that I played on my recent trip to the boujee resort town. The other two, Big Sky and The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, can be viewed by clicking here and here, respectively. Nicklaus North is probably the most famous of the three, though, but that comes with the territory. Whenever Jack Nicklaus, one of, if not the best golfers of all time, attaches his “signature” label to a golf course, it gets special attention.


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The approach to the par 4, 1st

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The marshland is a defining feature here at Nicklaus North, and the par 3, 2nd’s hazard guards this long par 3

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The par 5, 3rd plays to a double green, with lots of room to hit the green in regulation

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The longest par 4 on the course, the 4th plays a stout 460 odd yards from the back deck

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A tight tee shot opens up towards the green on the par 4, 5th

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Another double green awaits the player on the par 3, 6th, a mid-length iron to a slightly pushed up green

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The 7th green complex shows that when Jack was inspired here, he made memorable features that defined holes

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The par 5, 8th is one of the rare spots on this Nicklaus golf course that there’s strategy and shotmaking involved in the golfers process to get the ball in the hole

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With Whistler/Blackcomb in the background, the short par 4, 9th features a lovely view of the world-famous ski hill.

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The par 3, 10th requires a well-struck iron to avoid the hazard short and right

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Playing the longest par 5 back into the wind, the 11th plays longer than the 560 yardage

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The par 3, 12th is the hardest hole on the course, playing a full 220 carry over water

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A quaint par 4, the 13th is a mid-length two shotter

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Hitting it straight is key on the 14th

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A rare well-shaped green awaits the player on the mid-length par 4, 15th

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460 or so yards, playing over a stream with a slight dogleg to the right to a humpback-esque fairway, the 16th is easily the best hole on the course

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The signature hole, the 17th plays with water all down the left, making a difficult long iron approach to this meaty par 3

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The final approach to Nicklaus North plays over the same stream that the 16th did, making a thrilling conclusion


There’s no doubt Nicklaus North has its moments. The closing stretch is for sure the better part of the course, and 7-8 are decent holes as well. But my issue with Nicklaus North lies in the fact that it’s somehow top 50 in the country. If this golf course was not ranked, it would be an enjoyable round of golf. Still boring, sure, and mundane at times without much architectural interest (albeit, not many architecture geeks find their way to Whistler for quality golf with Capilano, Marine Drive, and others about an hour and a half south in Vancouver), but it doesn’t hold that “top 50” reputation that you expect quality golf that both charms the casual player and impresses, or at least intrigues the architecture nerd.

I don’t have any issue with Nicklaus North. They were a great host, the service was amazing, there was free lemonade on the first tee (!), and they treated everyone beautifully. The golf course was in great shape for the recent rain, they did everything right. My issue lies with Jack Nicklaus as an architect, who has yet to show me anything that truly excites me. Nicklaus North is a fairly standard golf course that gets a huge boost for being in Whistler.

Have you played Nicklaus North? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear some comments on the course and how others found the architecture and actual golf course. Leave your thoughts below!

 

 

 

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