Archive for the ‘course reviews’ Category

Evergreen – Dryden

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Eagles Landing’s sister course (if you will), Evergreen is also located in Dryden.  Not something I usually frequent, this par 32 is the location of my dad’s men’s league and I was fortunate enough to partake in the festivities.   Even as I described Eagles Landing as being pretty open and “simple”, this is one that takes it simple a bit further.

It’s something you would commonly refer to as a “pitch and putt” course.  Pitching with your driver of that is.  You’re able to bomb it off the tee without too much worry that trouble will rear it’s head.  However, I must admit, hitting your target isn’t all that easy.  One of the biggest challenges at this executive course is it’s greens.  Most of them are mounded (like a turtle shell) and sloping front to back or back to front (most of the time).   It also doesn’t help that they are quite small, somewhere in the 1200 sq feet range if we’re lucky.  It’s not often a matter of hitting the green, it’s where you hit the green.

That’s it in a nutshell and I think it serves its purpose quite well.  It’s a nice course to get started on, and in fact was the first course I ever played.   So, even though it holds some sentimental value, it’s not something I often get excited about visiting.  Maybe I should have referred it to as the red headed step-child of Eagles Landing?

Eagles Landing – Dryden

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

One of the stops during my vacation, was to my old home course, Eagles Landing.  This is where I held a membership for a number of years as a junior and through my college years.   I can’t think of the number of rounds I must have put throughout the years, but it’s always been my home course.

The course itself would be considered very basic in the realm of Southern Ontario.  However, for a small town in the middle of nowhere, it does just fine.  A 9 hole course that can stretch to about 6700 yards has a pretty forgiving layout.  Holes 1-6 are quite wide open, minus the out of bounds that runs along the sides of some of the holes, but are largely out of play most of the time.

I feel the course, although simple, has a great variety of holes.  Each hole carries its unique flavour of bunkers, water , out of bounds and occasionally bush.  It has both short and long par 3′s, 4′s and 5′s that run primarily east and west, in and out of the prevailing westerly wind.  One thing that remains consistent is the size of the greens.  They are large and often are slower than average, with my visit no exception to this.  I would say it’s pretty easy to get some 60-80 ft putts if you’re not quite accurate.

I suppose one of the knocks has always been the quality of the course.  This year it seemed to be in great shape, but that shouldn’t be surprising considering the summer Canada has had.  The bunkers are often filled with rocks and you’re hoping you don’t damage your club instead of thinking about your follow through.

But all of that aside, one thing that was a pleasant surprise was some of the maturation that has occurred.  Having only been able to play once a year if I’m lucky, it’s nice to see how things once planted several years ago are starting to bloom and take affect.  The trees on holes 5 and 7 have started to take the short cuts away and might make people think a half second about making the big shot.

Hopefully I’ll get to play her again next year!

National Pines

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of visiting the National Pines course, which is another ClubLink owned property. For the 2nd year in a row, I was able to play it the weekend before the Canadian Tour Championships. Having this luxury, I was able to experience some of the conditions the pros go through. This includes excessively long rough, harder and faster greens and overall just good conditions.

As much as I want to forget my front nine, which was one of the worst starts in a number of years. I certainly couldn’t forget the condition the course was in. Freshly off another evening/night of rain, underneath a cloudless sky with temperatures in the mid-20′s… I couldn’t ask for anything more.

One of the most difficult things I found about the course is your tee shot. What I’ve found is that most courses will impose a dogleg that starts around half way through a hole or further out. At National Pines, the dogleg often started at around the 1/4 mark of the hole. This means, not only you have to deal with imposing trees, you also have to take into consideration the far side of the fairway if you can’t shape your shot towards the dogleg.

Secondly, as I mentioned before, the rough was incredibly long and thick. This was especially the case around the green. Coupled with harder greens, the ball would often roll through the green and end up in the nasty stuff. Even though it would normally be a standard little chip, you had to use a higher lofted wedge to punch it out and try to land it softly. Not something that’s easily accomplished for the typical handicapper, and grew a little tiresome towards the end of the round.

Hopefully, I can get invited out next year around the same time… I can honestly say I would look forward to tackling this pristine course every year. Of course, the other way would be to join ClubLink, but that’s a different post all together.

Orchard Beach; Near Hole-in-one

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Over my numerous rounds of golf over the years, I’ve been pretty close to sinking that elusive hole in one. I’ve been within inches quite a few times even on some short par 4′s. Saturday, during my round at Orchard Beach I rolled one up so close it was actually hanging on the edge. About a 1/4 of the ball was hanging off the back of the cup, I think the only thing preventing it from dropping was the wind that was pushing it the opposite way! It will have to wait another day!

As mentioned, I played a round recently at a 9 hole course named Orchard Beach, which is local to my home in Keswick. It reminds me a lot of my ex-home course in Dryden. A pretty casual course that’s a little on the simple side, yet possesses it’s unique challenges.

The course is put together pretty well with a real natural look as it rolls throughout some hills that sit above Lake Simcoe. It lacks a solid mixture of holes as it’s made up of average length par 4′s. Every hole has a unique risk associated to it ranging from OB, a pond or at minimum some fescue. It makes it difficult enough that you can’t grip it and rip it, but enough flexibility to take some short cuts without too much risk, which gives the course the “fun” factor. My only real complaint is the lacking of another true par 5.

I would have to say the 9th hole, a very short, down hill par 4, is a hidden gem when it comes to scenery. It faces the western shore of Lake Simcoe where you can witness some amazing sunsets. (I think I need to start bringing my camera out to these courses) I feel I could get used to playing this course on a regular basis.

Silver Lakes

Friday, August 15th, 2008

For the first time, I used LastMinuteGolfer.com to book a tee-time, this time for a trip to Silver Lakes. I was able to save about $50 for a tee-time for two. I’ll definitely be looking at using it more often for some of the local courses. As for the course itself, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and I was able to appreciate everyone’s comments right away.

One of the most common comments I’ve heard is the “Carolina’s look and feel” it provides. Even though I haven’t personally been there, I’ve seen enough media (pictures & tv) to appreciate it. One of the first things I noticed was the abundance of practice area. Driving range, a couple of putting greens and a bunker/chipping area.

Another thing I liked was that were no real holes that had huge doglegs. The majority of the holes bent slightly right/left or left/right, but nothing ridiculous even though courses like to throw one or two of them over the span of 18 holes. When you coupled the slight doglegs with narrow’ish fairways, it often meant an accurate tee-shot regardless of which way you fade the ball. I’ve always enjoyed this type of game management.

It’s really hard to find anything negative to say about the course. I wasn’t a fan of the bunkers and how hard they were, but considering the amount of rain we’ve had, I wouldn’t expect them to be anything else. Together with the outstanding rate you can get from LMG, I’m definitely looking forward to playing this course again.

Caledon Woods

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

I’ve been spoiling myself on the golf scene lately, especially with the ClubLink courses. This past Saturday I visited Caledon Woods, just north of Bolton.

Just across the street from another course, Glen Eagle, both courses seem to look fairly different. Of course, as most ClubLink courses are, the course is maintained very well. As for the course itself, once you step out of the pro shop, you’re able to see some (17 & 18) of the types of holes you’re going to be battling throughout the round. However, some of the elevations changes you see on those holes is about as exciting as it gets from a variety perspective. Outside of the elevations, it’s primarily setup with a number of above-average length par 4′s, with many of them pretty straight forward. Also, with only 3 par 5′s, the course amounts to a par 71.

I can’t say the simplicity of the course translates into the same type of challenge when it comes to your game. The course can definitely hold it’s own if you can’t hit the ball too straight, specifically around the greens. The fairway bunkers seemed well placed, even for the longer hitters. All in all, it’s a solid track that would provide any golfer a good test.

To top off the season, I’m hoping to play National Pines later this month. I played this course last year and it was in great condition… it doesn’t help that the Canadian Tour’s Championship is held the week after though!

King Valley

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

I spent most of Saturday afternoon sitting around the beautiful and private King Valley clubhouse, waiting for the thunderstorms to roll through.  At first, there was so much rain that the course temporary suspended any playing due to flooded fairways.  We were ready to head out again, but yet another storm came through, but this time there was nothing behind it.

So, 2 hours after our originally scheduled tee-time, we started to meandered our way through the beautiful fairways (or in many cases, the rough).  One of the first things that caught my attention was the bunkering.  They seemed to be strategically placed through the fairways and around the greens.  The biggest attribute was the ability to penalize the golfer for entering said bunker.

The second thing I admired the most were the greens.  They weren’t overly large in size, and were very contoured.   They were often elevated with danger on at least one side, and a lot of the time two sides.  I believe they’re still fair given you always had a safe shot on your approach.

All in all, it’s an excellent course and considering it’s on the drive home from work, it only adds to the desire to join ClubLink.

Pines of Georgina

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Yesterday, I made my way out to the Pines of Georgina golf course up in Pefferlaw to play 9 quick holes. I’ve read somewhere that a magazine considered it one of the best hidden gem’s in Ontario. I would probably have to agree with that statement. For only $27 or $48 to walk 9 or 18 holes respectively during weekend primetime, it’s a pretty decent deal.

I’ll be the first to admit, it’s a pretty straight forward course, but it certainly doesn’t make it easy on you. The tight confines of holes 4, 5 and 6 put a big price on accuracy. Hole 4 has OB on the left and water hazard on the right. Not that it’s intimidating enough, you have to carry the ball 200 yards from the tips to hit over another water hazard.

Putting everything together with the price, the quality and the challenge; I feel POG is a worth a drive… to Pefferlaw!

For the record: I shot 42 with 2 doubles and 5 pars.