2002 Ontario Golf Guide
Michigan and Ontario, have been enjoying each others golf courses since the ferryboats began sailing and the tunnels and bridges began accepting trains and cars. The events of late have made these forays into each other's sandtraps a little more formidable. However, we were happy to note that we were able to visit Canada this past week with no waiting time at either end of the Blue Water Bridge.
While there, we had the opportunity to visit with Phil Winch of the Sarnia-Lambton CVB. Phil wrote the lead for our Nov/Dec online issue. He witnessed the amazing 58 that Jason Bohn shot at Huron Oaks GC during the final round of the Bayer Canadian Golf Tournament. http://www.bayerchampionship.com "It was an incredible experience. For the first time in my life I felt that I was living a part of a huge story. I had 90 calls that week from news organizations all over the world. It was very exciting," said Winch.
Phil indicated that we sometimes forget how connected the Canadians and Americans are. He noted that after the terrorist attack, over 100,000 Canadians turned out for a candle night vigil in Ottawa in their support of America.
These are happy times for the Sarnia-Lambton area as the community is growing and unemployment continues to be the lowest it has been in years. Their new casino is going strong and a number of new companies are building there. They also had a strong year for their golf courses. We visited a couple of their fine courses. http://tourism-sarnia-lambton.com
Forest Golf and Country Hotel - The fine folks here still had a lot of cars in the lot for a nice November day. Andrew Palmer is the golf professional here with Sarah Vanos running the pro shop. Sarah indicated that they had a very strong year. "The September 11th event hurt us a little bit for about the following two weeks, then it got better. The Hotel has a nice unlimited golf package for 2002. For $103.50 you get a two-night three- day stay at the hotel and all the golf you can play. See their new website for details. http://forestgolf.lambtonshores.com
Oakwood Inn Resort is a storied property that dates back into the 20's. Dave Scatcherd, resort owner, has steadily improved the property since his family purchased it. Golfers will find all the amenities of a superior resort, including dining facilities. Summer fun at the resort is further enhanced by its driver and two iron distance from Lake Huron. The course, that plays at 5356 yards, assures golfers that there might be a birdie or two in their round. Oakwood is located in the resort community of Grand Bend, which offers golfers the opportunity to really submerge themselves in a viable Canadian community. Pull up their exciting new website to see the latest. http://www.oakwoodinnresort.com
Sawmill Creek- David Belling, Director of Golf, indicated that they had some dry weather this year, which impacted their course for a couple of weeks. Despite that, their rounds were up about 20% this year. Sawmill Creek is maturing into one of the great courses in Southwest Ontario. http://sawmill-creek.com
Bonnie Doon - Dave, Norm and Sara Anderson were out working on their new executive course when we stopped by. Their play was up 15-20% this year and they had a lot more Michigan plates in their parking lot. The new executive course is scheduled to open this summer.
Other courses in the area include Arkona Fairways, Indian Hills, Sand Hills, Widder Station, Ironwood and Mooretown.
If you really want to get away from it all, visit Blue Mountain, one of Canada's premier resorts. Thomas McBroom, a leading Canadian architect who designed the Monterra course, which is currently ranked in the Top Ten list of Canadian resort courses. The course is played in the shadow of Blue Mountain. McBroom must have a little Pete Dye in him in that he has named #15 the Coffin, # 14 Silver Lining and #10 Stage Fright. Monterra weaves through some of the resort lodging and can be a little tight is some places. The course had bent grass fairways and greens, razorback mounding and spectacular elevated tees to go with its 129 slope and 6581 yards.
Varied and challenging, Monterra boasts 76 sand traps, 6 water holes and tricky ravines all along its 6,581 yards.
Since its opening in 1989, Monterra Golf has received numerous awards and media recognition that include:
Score Canada - 'Top 10 resort course in Canada' (1990), Score Magazine - Canada's Top 50 Courses (1993) Canada's Golf Course Ranking Magazine - Top 35 Course in Ontario & Top 100 in Canada (1996) and Golf Digest - 'Top Place to Play' - 4 Star Rating (1999)
Blue Mountain offers great lodging,water slide rides for the kids, tennis, kayaking, hiking, biking and the beach. Green fees are close to $70 in the summer, and dropping to the low $40's in spring and fall.
Nearby Collingwood is a very nice walk around town. There is a ton of stuff to do in the Blue Mountain area. The Michigan Golfer highly recommends it. http://www.bluemountain.ca
The area due south of Windsor is about the flattest place on the planet and that's what makes the Kingsville Golf & Country Club truly remarkable. Here is an outstanding facility - 27 holes of rolling terrain with significant elevation changes, lots of bunkers, large fast greens, tight tree-lined fairways, water, multiple tee's and everything you might want to make the 30 minute trip from the Bridge most worthwhile.
If you tee it up on the Gold/Red course you are looking at 6,622 yards, a slope of 134 and a rating of 72.9. If you want something a tad easier try the White/Gold: 6,349 yards, 132 slope, par 72. If you left your "A" game at the tollbooth you may wish to give the White/Red a go: 6,364 yards, slope 126 and par 70.9. But any combination will be an excellent test of golf. Count on it!
Founded in 1927 Kingsville holds a special spot in Canadian golf history, and over the years has hosted many championship events.The Ontario Ladies Championship was held there in 2001.
Seven Lakes GC in Essex County is a new course by Matthews and Nelhiebel that will open this summer. According to designer Howard Nauboris, the new 18-hole master plan calls for large and numerous bunkers and additional tee surfaces.
Obviously, the most attractive thing about Canadian golf right now is the price. With the Canadian dollar plummeting against the U.S. dollar, everything is on sale.
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