Ontario is home to one in three Canadians. In a province that covers more than one million square kilometers, there is no shortage of good golf courses. From old, established private clubs to city-owned “munis”, Ontario’s got it all.
In fact, according to ScoreGolf’s most recent Top 100 course-ranking list, Ontario boasts three of the top five golf courses that Canada has to offer. The country’s second largest province is also home to the headquarters of ClubLink and the Royal Canadian Golf Association. The Canadian Open is frequently contested in the province, and Hamilton Golf & Country Club will play host in 2012. Ontario has produced many golf greats – both amateur and professional.
I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy this grand-old game in Ontario since I was a teen. Born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo, I learned to love the game at Westmount Golf & Country Club – home club to two-time U.S. Amateur champion Gary Cowan and a frequent hangout for Moe Norman, who was an honorary member.
While I found it nearly impossible to choose five golf-related things that I love about a province with more than 800 courses, I did give it my all. So, check out this random list of a few of the best reasons to be a golfer in Ontario.
Whirlpool Golf Course Niagara Falls, ON
1. Stanley Thompson-designed Courses
Why We Chose It: With nearly 80 courses that bear Thompson’s stamp in Ontario alone, there’s no shortage of opportunities to experience the unique traits of a course sculpted by one of Canada’s foremost golf architects. There are too many to mention in one paragraph, but a few favourites include private courses like St. George’s Golf & Country Club, Westmount Golf & Country Club, St. Thomas Golf & Country Club, and Dundas Valley Golf & Country Club. Public best bets include Whirlpool Golf Course, The Briars Golf & Country Club, and Rockway Golf Course. I never tire of teeing it up at a course designed by “The Toronto Terror.”
2. Cobble Beach
Why We Chose It: Since this 18-hole course near Owen Sound opened, it’s become a much-loved summer stop. Stay at the inn to experience the full beauty and vistas of Georgian Bay that this Doug Carrick-designed gem offers. Add in the Nantucket-style clubhouse, and one of the best burgers I’ve tasted, and Cobble Beach is definitely worth the drive.
3. Talented Teachers
Why We Chose It: Ontarians are lucky to have access to some of the top teachers in golf. Sean Foley was trained in Ontario and now works with various PGA TOUR players. Henry Brunton, who recently became the first Canadian to be named a Master Teacher when U.S. Kids Golf announced its Top 50 list for 2011, is one of many talented teachers. Don’t delay, book a lesson with your local CPGA pro today.
Tarandowah Golfers Club Avon, ON
4. Best Links course: Tarandowah
Why We Chose It: Since being named Best New Golf Course in Ontario by several magazines in 2008, this London-area links-style course has been giving golfers in the southwestern part of the province a wee dram of golf in the Highlands. Though it’s 3,463 miles from St. Andrews, Scotland (as proclaimed on its website), Tarandowah offers a similar experience. It honors the traditions of links golf with sod-faced bunkers, whistling wind, ferocious fescue and dry, fast fairways. And, with green fees of $52 on weekends, there’s no better bang for your buck.
Why We Chose It: Because it is so exclusive. The mystic surrounding the course alone makes it worth a mention. Hidden off a country road near Port Stanley, this course, owned by London businesspersons Chris Goodwin and John Drake, often hosts celebrities – from Hollywood actors such as Michael Douglas and Sean Connery to National Hockey League players.
Get out this spring and discover all that Ontario golf offers – you won’t be disappointed.