Having benefited from an irresistible momentum during the pandemic, golf is more popular than ever in Quebec, with an increasingly young clientele. According to Golf Quebec, more than 1 million Quebecers will once again play at least one round of golf this year. The 18 holes as a pretext for discovery? Certainly ! Embark on a tour of the “little” Gaspésie, from Métis-sur-Mer to Bonaventure!
Métis-sur-Mer is the gateway to Gaspésie. This was already the case more than 100 years ago, when the first tourists, often wealthy English speakers, went there by train. It was the Astle family, owners of the Métis Lodge as well as the Boule Rock, Hillside and Seaside hotels, who founded the Boule Rock Golf Club in 1919. Redesigned a few years later, the course laid out in the foothills of the Appalachians retains to date many of the original features.
“Since the pandemic, there has been a return to nature tourism, observes Jean-François Fortin, general manager of the golf club and mayor of Sainte-Flavie. And golf is, in my opinion, a form of tourism where we walk around, we take advantage of the perspectives and we take our time, in line with the movement of slow tourism, which is really in fashion today. »
We also want to make more room for campers. “We are going to sell seasonal pitches with a golf membership card, so we hope to get around a hundred new members, says Claude Bégin, shareholder of the JGS Group, who also covets the purchase of the Fort-Prével golf course, in the sector. from Gaspe. This could make the operation profitable because currently, we do not have the traffic to say that it is profitable. Nevertheless, steps with local customers and young players have made it possible this year to increase the number of members from 80 to 135.
A must stop for travelers heading to Gaspésie, the Cantine des Navigateurs has made seafood its specialty since 2015. Nordic shrimp poutine, lobster roll, fish and chips, homemade bouillabaisse, everything is good and the portions are generous . Also, be sure to ask the owner, Mitchell Pelletier, to taste his homemade ketchup!
Nestled in the hills a little set back from the city, the Matane Golf Club stands out for the variety of its course. The holes near the main lodge are generally flat, but the terrain changes quickly as you enter the wooded area.
The judicious design of the field, however, means that we very rarely hit blind. Instead, tee shots with a bird’s eye view are common, with hole number 8 even offering a view of the Matane River below as well as the St. Lawrence River beyond the town of Matane.
“For six or seven years, we have implemented a marketing offensive where we focus on the quality of what we do, says the general manager of the club, René Chouinard. In addition, when you come here, you are very close to the Vignoble Carpinteri, there is deep sea fishing, the wildlife reserve of Matane, the Gîte du Mont-Albert, the Reford Gardens, everything is within 30 minutes , one hour. »
The operation seems to be bearing fruit, as the club was able to complete the installation of an automated irrigation system while the golf cart fleet was completely renewed.
We go to Cargo for its breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River, which is only a few meters from the large windows of the restaurant, whose design is a nod to the industrial and maritime heritage of the city. The bistro menu naturally features local fish and seafood.
Founded in 1968, the Revermont Golf Club was built on either side of the Matapédia River. The course is therefore nestled in the meanders of the mythical salmon river, which offers some impressive views, but which can also intimidate the average golfer – we are! Nevertheless, the fairways are wide and clear, they are also generally flat – it is a golf course that is easily traversed on foot.
“We welcome a lot of tourists after the Saint-Jean-Baptiste celebrations, many of them settle in at the nearby campsite, some take the opportunity to spend the week here, says club president Roch Paradis. We have also been a member of Terego since last year, we have welcomed about twenty campers in our parking lot – we allow them to spend the night if they play a round with us. »
A not-for-profit organization, the club recently spent more than $300,000 to update its irrigation system, which is nearing completion. We also modernized the maintenance equipment in addition to renewing part of the cart fleet.
Housed in a former police station, La Captive offers a gourmet bistro menu with a great choice of burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, nachos and healthy bowls. As for the beers, they are brewed on site: you can see the vats behind the bars of the old cells, which are still in place!
A true jewel of Gaspésie golf courses, Golf Carleton-sur-Mer is simply breathtaking. Seven of the last nine holes offer breathtaking views of Chaleur Bay and Barachois – hole number 15 actually overlooks the entire landscape with a 360-degree view that also allows you to see the mountains on the north side. It is on this side that the first nine holes are laid out, added in 2003 – the original course was laid out in 1928, by the sea.
“We’re lucky to have two completely different nine holes,” said club general manager Alexandre Parent. On the mountain side, there are narrow fairways, wooded on each side, with a large central lake bordering three holes. Of course, we don’t have the seaside views, but for the golfer, it represents a great challenge. »
The club is popular with local customers with nearly 270 members, but we also take care of welcoming tourists, in particular by offering a free locker and keeping visitors’ bags for the duration of their stay. “They can get around by bike and avoid walking around with their RV, for example,” illustrates Alexandre Parent.
After the aperitif on the beautiful terrace of Le Naufrageur microbrewery – a must in the area! –, we go to the Resto-Pub St-Joseph, located in the Hostellerie Baie Bleue, which gives it the advantage of being open every day. Its generous seafood poutine is worth the detour, as are its excellent burgers and sandwiches.
It’s not every day that you have the chance to walk a golf course with the person who designed it. Wade Gifford designed the second nine holes of the Club de golf Fauvel, but also the new section of the Carleton club as well as the courses of the Chandler and Fort-Prével clubs, in Gaspé. At 80, the retired teacher tells us about his many projects, including widening a fairway here or changing the layout of a green there.
“I’ve played 500 to 600 courses in my life and Fauvel’s number 5 hole, I think it’s among the most beautiful I’ve seen,” Mr. Gifford told us modestly. It’s very beautiful visually, but it’s a challenge to play even if it’s not very long, with the lake in front, the stream next and two deep bunkers that protect the green, which is wide and not very long. deep. We are very happy to have imitated Mr. Gifford by succeeding our tee shot!
The name of the friendly café at Pointe Bonaventure alludes to the Acadian ancestry of most people in the region – many Acadians found refuge there after the deportation of 1755. Housed in a former fishery, the establishment has retained the original vocation since it serves fresh fish and seafood, in salads, on pizzas, in tartare… There is even a Gaspé paella to share!