Why Canadians—and Canadian Golf—Are Suddenly Cool

People around the world are talking about Canada thanks to our hip new prime minister, A-list celebrities that include a teenage golf sensation, and a very special course in Cape Breton.

Canadians have always felt cool. It just took the rest of the world time to clue in.

Ever since the election of our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, commentators around the globe have gushed about his blue-eyed good looks, hip style and natural charisma. Trudeau’s arrival has heralded an appreciation for all things Canadian—from the urban lumberjack-style outfits and beards sported by young men to the music of Drake and The Weeknd.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Image: @JustinTrudeau)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau works a crowd. (Image: @JustinTrudeau)

Our sudden hipness has made even our famously self-contained southern neighbour envious. As a recent New York Times article observed, “United States citizens grimacing over a political and cultural landscape riven by a brassy real estate kingpin, endlessly recycled superheroes and reality-show dopes may be forgiven for looking northward with yearning.”

As well as Trudeau, the Times cited movie stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, along with comedic stalwarts Lorne Michaels, Mike Myers, Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara, as reasons to envy “the country that gave the world ice hockey, the snow blower and Labatt beer.”

As a proud Canadian, I can think of many more reasons to envy the True North, not least our impressive roster of golf courses. At his brilliant Rocky Mountain designs in Banff and Jasper, legendary Canadian golf architect Stanley Thompson made perhaps our greatest contribution to the game by establishing a template for mountain courses followed through the decades since.

Brooke Henderson (Image: @BrookeHenderson)

Teenage LPGA Tour sensation Brooke Henderson. (Image: @BrookeHenderson)

These days the eyes of the golf world are on Cabot Links, a golf resort in the Cape Breton town of Inverness. Cabot Cliffs, a stunning seaside design by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, was named the best new course of 2015 by Golf Digest. Even more impressive, Cabot Cliffs debuted at No. 19 in the magazine’s ranking of the World’s Top 100 courses, ahead of such international stalwarts as Royal Birkdale, Carnoustie and Seminole. Golfers are flocking to Cape Breton to play Cabot Cliffs and its superb sister course, Cabot Links, which came in at No. 93.

And there’s yet another reason to envy Canada. Our most exciting young golfer, Brooke Henderson, captured her first LPGA title last summer as a wide-eyed 17-year-old. Early in 2016, the by now 18-year-old Henderson won her first major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, becoming the event’s youngest winner. The victory propelled Henderson to second place in the world rankings.

Likeable and photogenic and tremendously gifted, Henderson has all the tools to reign atop the women’s game for years to come.

Now that would be really cool.