July 26, 2019 will be recorded as another date of significance in the history of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club in Gatineau, Quebec with the opening of two new holes on their Royal Nine course.
Royal Ottawa Golf Club President George Smith gave a short presentation to assembled members followed by Club’s Vice-President Karen Rothfels cutting the ceremonial ribbon to officially open what will now be the 4th and 5th holes on the Royal Nine. Ceremonial tee shots were then taken by Alison Green, Marie Kiar, Ashley Lafontaine, Bella Mehta and Cole Thurger.
Royal Ottawa Golf Club Members then participated in a nine-hole tournament playing the Royal Nine in its new configuration with a shotgun start.
As the tradition at The Royal Ottawa is to name their golf holes, members will be asked to submit names for the new holes for consideration.
George Smith gave some context to the opening of these new holes on the Royal Nine.
“The opening of these two new beautiful holes on the Royal Nine is significant as we will now de-commission current holes #2 (Sand Pile) and #3 (The Oaks) to free up space and area for what we think will be one of the area’s best practice facilities. Our current range will then be transformed into a short game area. This new practice facility at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club will have one of the largest footprints in the area.”
Flagstick reached out to Royal Ottawa’s Golf Course Architect Neil Haworth for his thoughts on the changes being made to the Royal Nine.
“The main users of The Royal Nine are seniors, families and beginning golfers, therefore we had to make sure the two new holes are very user friendly, with no forced carries at all and let the golfer roll the ball along the ground. The two holes use the ridge as a main feature with the hole 4 tee shot playing up and onto the plateau and the green on hole 5 sitting on a spectacular high point above the ridge with amazing and relaxing views back across the property. The greens have interesting contours but are still relatively small and they match the other 7 greens on the Royal Nine course. The existing white pines along with the sandy ridge and plateau were the key natural features that we used to determine the layout. Both create very interesting visuals and playability and give dramatic character to the holes. Except for the tees on hole 4, the rest of the holes were built on sand. Not only did this allow for quicker and less expensive construction, it will ensure excellent grass quality in the years to come.
Just like the main course where my goal was to make sure the new holes, when open, are better than the originals (Hole 1 – short hitting golfers can now tee off and get up on top rather than being down in the bottom on the right; the new par 3, 3rd is a fairer hole than the old par 3, 2nd; the new par 4, 4th is a fairer hole and approach than the old par 4, 5th that required an uphill shot over a bunker; the new par 5, 5th is a fairer hole for the shorter hitters as they are no longer blocked out on the third shot and it is also more dramatic visually from the tees) and I believe the character of the site and the playability of the new holes will be just that.
The new holes should be fun to play by all levels of golfers and hopefully members will enjoy and play more golf on the very popular Royal Nine.”