Toronto Golf Trip: Whistlestop Guide
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Toronto area on three separate occasions.
In those visits, I have managed to play a fair few different courses, particularly in the area around Cambridge.
It would have been nice to play some of the highly rated courses such as St George’s G&CC or Hamilton G&CC. Of course in North America a high percentage of clubs are members only so you can only get on as a guest if you know the right people!
Hopefully, these short reviews will give you a push to try some of them out yourself.
Glen Abbey Golf Course
Undoubtedly the most famous course I’ve played in Canada. A long-time host of the Canadian Open and home to the Canadian PGA.
Because of its location, the owners are looking at selling the property to be redeveloped as residential homes.
2021 may be the last chance you have to play the course before it gets bulldozed.
Here you can find a more in-depth review of Glen Abbey.
Piper’s Heath Golf Club
Piper’s Heath is a relatively new course that uses subtle undulations and mounding to give the appearance of being older.
Unlike a lot of modern courses, it doesn’t feature too many water hazards. Indeed there are only three holes where water should come into play, seven, eight and 14.
Among the best-conditioned courses I have played in Canada.
With the gold tees stretching the course to over 7000 yards my brother and I opted for the blue tees which were a more reasonable 6600 yards.
A course where position off the tee can be quite important to give yourself good access to the pin.
We managed to snag the first tee time of the morning which meant we got round in double quick time with no waiting. Looking at the online bookings at the moment this does look pretty busy, partly no doubt due to golf being almost the ideal pastime during a pandemic.
You also have the option of using their practice facility and driving range. Their prime-time green fees include a complimentary bucket of balls to warm up.
The standard weekday green fee is C$100 which is starting to get a little bit on the high side if you are playing often! However, in golf as in life, you get what you pay for. The quality of the course and the conditioning is such that the fee is justified. You can access cheaper times later in the day if you wish.
Guelph Lakes Golf and Country Club
For those of you not that keen on water hazards, the name of this course is due to its proximity to Guelph Lake rather than the amount of water on the course.
You still might find a watery grave on a few holes though!
Not that long, even from the very back tees but enough hazards to keep you on your toes.
Was in good condition when we played and looking at recent reviews that still sounds true today.
Enough undulation to make it interesting while still staying very walkable.
Weekday green fees and the twilight rate on weekends are $51 if you’re walking which represents pretty good value.
You can also take advantage of the on-site driving range.
Ariss Valley Golf and Country Club
A 27 hole facility with plenty of water around to lose a ball!
With twilight walking rates starting from C$35 rising to C$75 on weekends with the cart.
Looking at some recent reviews, it sounds like the course could do with a bit of TLC and is also rather busy!
Indian Wells Golf Club
Close to 40 years old, offers a mature and scenic setting to play golf.
On the front nine, the primary hazard is water while the back nine features more mature trees for you to worry about.
There are several dogleg holes so you will need to be able to shape the ball both ways. The course isn’t long at only 6400 yards from the very back tees.
Their weekday rate for walking is pretty reasonable at C$59, Even more so if you take advantage of their twilight rate of C$45.
Eagles Nest Golf Club
A championship layout that stretches to 7476 yards if you want to torture yourself from the back tees or you can hit a driver 300 yards!
This is one of my brother’s favorite courses that we played. I’m glad we decided to go for the gold tees which were a mere 6680 yards!
The course was designed by Doug Carrick and offers a good test of golf where you need to be able to shape the ball both ways and take on both sand and water.
It’s a top facility but that is shown in the price. Weekday green fees during the peak season will set you back C$205. While this does include your shared cart and use of the practice facilities that’s pretty steep for most people!
Puslinch Lake Golf Course
At the other end of the spectrum is Puslinch Lake G.C.
With twilight rates starting at C$40 And even weekend rates of only C$54 this course is a bit more manageable for the ordinary Joe.
Not as challenging as some courses, running to only 5300 yards and probably not in the tiptop condition of a championship venue. It was nonetheless a very enjoyable round of golf.
Most of the par-4s on the front nine are drive and pitch or even driveable for some long hitters.
The back nine does have a couple of long holes. Not too much water in play and not heavily bunkered the course should be enjoyable for pretty well any standard of golfer.
I joined up with some members who were really friendly and had a great game.
Savannah Golf Links
A course I’ve played on every visit to Canada.
One that I would consider joining as a member if I lived in the area.
Particularly considering most of the private clubs will have huge initiation fees.
Very pretty course with plenty of water to keep you honest. Certainly not a long course and while there’s quite a bit of undulation still very walkable.
I’ve always found the course to be in good condition and wouldn’t hesitate to play if I was in the area again.
Clearly, I’m not the only one who likes the course. Golfadvisor puts it in their top 10 value-rated golf courses in Canada.
Weekday twilight rates start at $30 for walkers which I think is superb value for money.
If you live locally you can get a membership covering weekdays and weekends after 3 PM for C$1300 plus tax. If you wanted to play weekend mornings as well then you would need to stump up C$1900 which I still think is great value.
Beaverdale Golf Club
One of more than 30 courses operated by Golf North. The majority in Ontario.
Beaverdale is a short golf course measuring only 4527 yards. Interestingly you are still allowed four hours and 15 minutes to play the course. I think if it took me that long to play a course of that length I would literally tear my hair out!
One of the cheaper courses I played in Canada with 18 holes starting at a little as C$24. Unfortunately, the condition of the course wasn’t the best and given its length I would be in a great rush to return.
With a course such as Savannah Golf Links available for as little as C$30, I can’t see the value in playing Beaverdale.
Cambridge Golf Club
A mature parkland golf course. Green fees are probably slightly higher than Savannah which I tend to use as my yardstick for courses in the area. A reasonable “members” course I thought, although a lot of the holes tend to be fairly straight away. Was in pretty good nick when I played it and to be fair did have one of my better scores there.
I wouldn’t place it above Savannah Golf Links though if you’re in the area.
Brookfield Golf Club
Another Golf North facility. This features three different loops of nine. A fair few holes will feature water, particularly on their gold nine.
Not very long with only one hole of the 27 in excess of 400 yards.
Quite a bit more expensive than Beaverdale but is just about worth the extra. The cheapest weekday rate starting at C$32.
Looks like it is suffering from slow play at the moment. Probably due to golf being one of the few things you can do during the pandemic.
Saginaw Golf Club
This was a pleasant nine-hole course which also had a nine-hole par -3 facility.
The course only opened in 2001 but closed in 2015 and was scheduled for redevelopment as housing.
Riveredge Golf Course
Of the Golf North properties that I played this and Grey Silo were the two that I would return to.
Although only nine holes and not particularly long this was a very picturesque place to play. Along with Grey Silo was in much better condition than other Golf North courses.
It is laid out in a mature woodland setting with unspoiled wetlands. Not surprisingly this is more expensive than the other Golf North properties I played, you will pay C$28 for nine holes. To be honest I would rather play nine holes here than 18 at either Beaverdale or Brookfield.
Doon Valley Golf Course
In the UK would be classed as a municipal golf course. Doon Valley is one of two courses operated by the town of Kitchener.
Offering a good test of golf from the back tees at 6543 yards the course is split in two, with 10 holes on one side of the 401 and eight on the other.
Eight of the holes run through wildlife habitat and the area outside of the golf course is off-limits to players.
With green fees starting at less than C$40 I thought this offered pretty good value for money considering the location and challenge of the course.
Grey Silo Golf Course
Played host to the LPGA’s Manulife Classic on three occasions. Even off the back tees is not especially long at only 6532 yards but water is in play on 11 of the 18 holes.
Twilight rates for walkers are actually very good value considering the condition of the course at C$45. However, if you want to ride and play at peak periods then you’re looking at around C$90 which is probably getting a little expensive for some.
The Oaks of St George Golf Club
Probably one of the better rounds I played in Canada managing 75 to the par of 72.
A relatively new course having opened in 1992. Green fees are pretty reasonable starting from as little as C$33.
Has been taken over by Golf North much to the chagrin of some on torontogolfnuts.
Toronto Golf Trip: Whistlestop Guide – Conclusion
A wide variety of golf courses covered from tour hosts down to nine-hole courses.
From C$200 per round down to C$25 per round.
There really is something for everyone depending on your ability and budget.
The covid pandemic has re-invigorated the golf industry and many courses are now packed.
Hopefully, this doesn’t lead to too much slow play as many people may walk away again.