Golf. The very word is like a beacon of joy for those who are passionate about it. Once upon a time it was a sport reserved only for elites, intimidating to those who were not proficient and practiced in technique and etiquette. But today, golf is truly a sport for everyone—all ages and all skill levels. Rolling greens invite veterans and newbies alike to spend a handful of blissful hours enjoying the carefully-groomed outdoors… as long as your ball stays on the fairway, that is. Rain or shine, golfers will golf. If the course is open, there will be tee times booked. We ask you: what better way is there to spend time with friends and loved ones than being active outdoors and testing your skills on the green?
With the start-and-stop nature of the restrictions we’ve faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our beloved pastimes have remained unavailable to us. Not so with golf. It was one of the first public activities to open up each time restrictions were eased. The natural distance between groups of players and the wide-open outdoor spaces made it an ideal activity for maintaining physical distancing. This was a mark of good fortune for us here in York Durham Headwaters, because we love golf. We have several world-class and championship courses, and people from all over the world travel here to experience golf in Ontario. Therefore, with travel limited, golf is one thing our YDH people are able enjoy in their own backyard.
One of our well-loved courses belongs to Hockley Valley Resort in Headwaters. This 18-hole championship golf course is certainly challenging, but the gorgeous scenery must not be missed. Headwaters region, of which Hockley Valley sits right in the middle, is famous for its rolling hills and dramatic landscapes. In fact, Hockley’s emerald-bent grass fairways were designed by Canadian course architect Thomas McBroom, who skillfully incorporated them into the natural landscape. So, whether you’re putting like a pro or learning the basics of your swing, you will enjoy your day on this golf course no matter how your game went.
Full transparency: I am no golf pro. Sure, I can smack the ball a good distance down the fairway… sometimes. But I don’t mind admitting that I’ve had more than my fair share of whiffs, all things considered. I have no control, no finesse and no professional golfing-related aspirations. But one thing I do have down to a “tee” (pardon the pun) is a brilliant ability to channel my inner Happy Gilmore.
Needless to say, my golf game on the day I took up the challenge on the green at Hockley Valley Resort… well, it stank!
That didn’t stop me from enjoying my day on the course, however. It never does. Our tee-off time was at 8:30 in the morning—my favourite time of morning to golf. At this time, the sun is up and is just starting to burn off the mist hovering over the ground, which makes the entire course wonderfully fragrant. I adored my long walks in the woods… that I took to retrieve my lost shot, the cool rushing water on my hands… as I dug my golf ball out of the stream, and the rustle of leaves from the large shade trees… as I misdirected yet another drive into a thick trunk.
(I am sure that, at this point, Hockley would appreciate me mentioning that they kindly ask golfers not to spend too long looking for lost balls. I happily share my tales of searching because they didn’t last long—my ball is always neon pink for a reason.)
The best part about Hockley’s course—especially for a golfer like me—is that it is quite vast. This is no compact course squeezed into the last bit of green space to be found in the busy city. This is open air country. At Hockley, one doesn’t often run into other golfers. Even though all tee times were booked on our day, Peter and I rarely saw other groups. It was like being on our own private course. For me, that is fortunate because it meant strangers were not running up against us, in prime position to watch my golfing shame… which I bear with good nature; it is what it is. For everyone else, no matter your experience level, it means you get to play in your own little nature bubble, for each hole is like a world of its own.
Yes, my golf game is not a pretty one. But I love it anyway. I love when I have the opportunity to get out on the green. I am not exaggerating when I state that Hockley Valley is the most beautiful course I’ve been to, and believe me, that’s saying a lot, because my golf game has truly tanked on many a gorgeous green all over York Durham Headwaters. So while other, more seasoned golfers will be able to count Hockley as one of the most challenging and most visually stunning courses they have ever enjoyed, I can do them one better: it is one of the most challenging and visually stunning courses that I’ve ever crouched on, and in my best Happy Gilmore voice, hissed to my neon pink ball, “Why didn’t you go into your home?! That’s your home!”
Hockley Valley Resort
793522 3rd Line EHS, Mono
Story by Katherine Ryalen