Canada's relatively closer attachment to England probably explains why golf took root there earlier than it did in the US; and in fact a significant number of the early US courses were created by Scotsmen who had taken up residence in Canada. The country's very first was built in 1873 just outside Montreal, and received from Queen Victoria the designation of "Royal" Montreal Golf Club eleven years later—and that was eleven years before the game had gotten going in the States. Clubs were established in Ontario and Quebec not long thereafter, and today there are well over fifteen hundred courses across Canada. Naturally, the vast majority of these is located near the US border, since the part of the year in which golf can be played decreases rapidly as you go north (and no Canadian course stays open all year around). It's really too bad, given the abundance of dramatic landscapes that would make for some great golf if they weren't frozen so much of the time.
Like those who live in such other northern countries as Norway or Denmark, Canadians treat golf as a summer substitute for skiing and skating (or in this case, hockey). Around ten percent of the adult population plays at least occasionally, so it is a bit odd that Canada has not been home to more top-ranked golfers. To be sure, there have been some very good ones, including Al Balding and Stan Leonard, who distinguished themselves in the very first Canada Cup (now the World Cup) in 1953, when the home team took second (after Argentina). That debut of what would become one of golf's premier events took place in Montreal, home of John Jay Hopkins, the philanthropist who established it. Balding together with George Knudson eventually won the event in 1968. Dan Halldorson led his country to victories in two more Cups in the Eighties; but Mike Weir, who won the 2003 Masters, is the first Canadian player to make a name for himself in the big individual tournaments.
There are now hundreds of Canadian nationals on the teams of US colleges, where many US Tour champions are nurtured, so it is only a matter of time before one or another of the country's golfers becomes a dominant force on the world stage. All the pieces are certainly in place: with nearly 2400 courses (some 90% of which are open to the public) and over 300,000 players registered with the game's major organization, Golf Canada, the nation ranks as third in the world for interest in the sport, even if the pace of new course construction has slowed somewhat in the mid-2010s.