The words "Montreal" and "golf Mecca" collide in the same sentence about as often as the words "Freddie Couples" and "that's good," but guess what: Canada's second-largest city is a great golf destination, with more than 100 courses-from links to parkland and from pushover to punishing. The pride of Quebec also features fantastique French cuisine, a killer summer jazz festival and a decidedly Continental feel. It's like Paris, without Euro Disney.
Montreal Island Golf Club
South course: 7,255 yards, par 70; North Course: 6,603, par 70;
Greens fee: $40-$65
514-448-6000, cgimgolf.com" "searchresultsdate"]; Designer: Pat Ruddy
Why it's worth it: What a dump! At least it was. Renowned Irish designer Pat Ruddy took a former municipal dump and turned it into a superb links-style test that twists and turns though 170 acres of heaving dunes, hungry pot bunkers and spacious fairways. Holes like the 351-yard eighthwhich demands a precise drive to avoid a tough downhill liewill please bunters, if not bombers.
St. Raphael Golf Club
No. 1: 6,589 yards, par 72; No.2: 6,957;
Greens fee: $150
514-696-4653, golfsaint-raphael.ca; Designer: Neil Haworth
Why it's worth it: So, you've already caught Presidents Cup fever? Us, too! But the 2007 host site Royal Golf Club of Montreal is more private than Garbo. So play St. Raphael across the street. Course No. 1 is a nice warm-up, but No. 2 is the main attraction, and worth every penny. Already a demanding test, designer Neil Haworth recently turned the screws, making greens smaller and lakes larger. And it's a thinking man's course. The par-5 18th plays much shorter than its 589 yardsif you can cut the corner by blasting it over a cluster of pesky oaks.
Le Versant Golf Center
Des Seigneurs: 7,103 yards, par 72; Des Braves: 6,785 yards, par 72; Des Moulins: 6,078 yards, par 70;
Greens fee: $12.95-$69.55; 450-964-2251, destinationkohler.com" "searchresultsdate"]; Designer: Graham Cooke
Why it's worth it: It's mean, it's muscular, and if the Des Seigneurs course were human, he'd have scary tattoos and brass knuckles. Graham Cooke's track respects power. You'll need big drives to hit and hold the multi-tiered greens, which, when missed, leave you with nerve-jangling downhill lies. Still, all the trouble's in sight and you can pull driver all day.
Where to eat
- [LIST "l A former sailors' inn that dates to 1880, Restaurant du Vieux Port serves great steak, lamb and everything under the sea. 514-866-3175, restaurantduvieuxport.com."] [LIST "Grab a table at Chez L'Epicier, where you can enjoy pan-fried Marieville foie gras while wearing flip-flops. 514-878-2232, chezlepicier.com."]
Where to Stay
- [LIST "The missus will love Pierre du Calvet, which is quaint, romantic and 256 years old. Rooms from $155 to $205; 866-544-1725, pierreducalvet.ca."] [LIST "Your golf buddy will likely prefer the Omni Mont-Royal Hotel, located downtown, with its heated pool and spa services Rooms from $219 to $249; 888-444-6664, omnihotels.com."]
What to do
- [LIST "Ah, the joy of sax. The annual Montreal International Jazz Festival (June 29-July 9) will showcase the likes of B.B. King and John Zorn. (Jake Trout and the Flounders will not be appearing.) montrealjazzfestival.com"] [LIST "It's the summer of George! Seinfeld alum Jason Alexander highlights the annual Just for Laughs Comedy Festival (July 13-23), along with Bill Cosby. hahaha.com (Seriously, that's the web site.)"] [LIST "Paris? Puh-lease! Take in the architecture of Old Montreal, like Notre-Dame Basilica-an 1829 Gothic masterpiece where Celine Dion married that 100-year-old guy beneath the 5,000 gold-leaf stars on the vaulted ceiling."]
When to go
Average daily high temperature
July: 79 Aug.: 76 Sept.: 67 Oct.: 55