Devil’s Paintbrush is no “Trivial Pursuit.” As one of two courses that makes up the fantastical duo of the Devil’s Pulpit Golf Association (DPGA), the official motto here is, “Two incredible courses. One incredible experience.” And we can’t agree more.
Named after a wild flower that grows nearby, and situated on one of the most dramatic properties in all Ontario, Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry sculpted an undeniably different golf experience along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. With views from parts of the golf course stretching as far as the city of Toronto more than 65 kms away (for our American neighbours that’s 40 miles), the elevation here is out of the ordinary.
Something else that’s out of the ordinary is the course at Devil’s Paintbrush.
It doesn’t take long for golfers to realize that they’re in for one-of-a-kind experience as they make their way up the entrance road lined with low piled stone walls. Amidst the sprawling landscape of dunes and undulations one can truly appreciate a sense of place and scale not many courses can replicate.
The Paintbrush — as many call it — is the truest form of links golf one will find west of Cabot Links: unpredictable, wild, tumbling, quirky and straight up fun. Before Cabot Links it stood alone in Canada offering a real links golf experience this side of the pond. From its fescue fairways, pot bunkers and even stone barn ruins, Paintbrush had no peer in our fine golfing nation.
The operative word at the Paintbrush is fun. Tumbling fairways, wildly contoured greens, random pot bunkers, strategic options, blind shots, double greens..what’s not to love? To play the Paintbrush is to understand the land as the ground game is your friend. On the tee, in the fairway, or on the green, golfers need to be aware of contours and angles of play.
As is the case in links golf, a certain randomness is always present in a round at the Paintbrush. You might find your “perfect” drive ended up in a pot bunker, or, your approach shot, which you thought would be tight to the pin, rolled off a false front or leaves you with a 150-foot putt.
Fescue grasses used from tee to green serve to keep the course firm ensuring that true links experience. The greens, surrounded by short grass, illicit fear in the weary and prove humbling for the golfer who is anything but focused on their recovery shot of choice, and yes, there are plenty of choices.
The Paintbrush is a modern masterpiece because unlike many other modern courses, it is a tribute to the roots of the game and a lesson in playability. Though brawny and stout, Paintbrush is far from penal and most golfers will make it around the course without needing a dozen golf balls. Options, width, great land, and short grass provide the challenge and define its greatness.
Enjoy the rest of the photo tour from a rainy, windy day at the Paintbrush…the way it should be.
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