Posted : July 24, 2014
Our blog is chock full of great ideas for fun things to see and do in York Durham and Headwaters. We are always adding new content and updating old posts, but sometimes you might stumble upon something from our vault. If this article has inspired you to hit the road, be sure to double-check that the featured stops in this post are still welcoming visitors.
Canada Day is a lot of things to a lot of people. The birth of our nation in 1867 is celebrated every July 1st with fireworks, lots of outdoor fun, a few cold ones and for many, a round of golf to satisfy our national thirst for the links. Since I had plans on Canada Day, the day before brought a buddy of mine and me to the Newcastle Golf Club for our traditional mid-year round to honour the land of the maple leaf and quench our thirst for a new golf experience.
Having driven by the exit to the quaint historic Village of Newcastle many times, it was about time to get off the 401 and enjoy this little piece of Southern Ontario. The Club is located in the far eastern reaches of Durham Region on aptly named Golf Course Road just north and east of the Village. This area sees hundreds of thousands of travelers go by each year on their way to or from somewhere else. Not always was modern highway driving the method of travel in these parts. Preceding the 401, Hwy 2, originally built by Mr. Danforth linking Toronto with Montreal, was the main thoroughfare cutting right through the middle of this charming village, providing a glimpse at all this area has to offer. One of the area’s most notable settlers was Daniel Massey, of farm equipment fame, made his start in one of the village’s historic storefronts. Still well connected to the rural roots of this area, the Village of Newcastle is a step back in time.
Arriving at the golf course and not knowing what to expect, I was first struck by a sign post signifying the course’s opening year. In a year that saw so many historic events, 1967 wasn’t just the 100th year birthday for our nation, the last year for those mind-boggling Maple Leafs to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, but it was also the year golfers were blessed with the opening of this hidden gem. It became readily apparent as the round unfolded that being a Centennial baby myself, I wasn’t the only remarkable thing born in 1967.
Built over the rolling Southern Ontario landscape surrounding Graham Creek, the routing has a yesteryear feel to it. Fairways with steep slopes, blind shots and nary a flat lie to be found, lead to greens smaller and more sloped than average. The opening hole is the perfect introduction, playing as the number one handicap hole, the drive must climb a hill and your approach must avoid a large sentinel hardwood to reach the green well protected by traps and thick trees long. Four of the first five holes play as some of the toughest challenges on the entire routing, with turtleback or heavily sloped greens, forced carries over water and more sentinel trees. One of the most difficult greens on this side is found on number nine, with slopes everywhere and a considerable false front, this par is no easy feat. This side is by far the tougher of the two, playing almost 300 yards longer.
The back nine is a little more forgiving but has a series of standout holes on its own. Eleven with its massive drop into the valley of Graham Creek and equally massive climb back up to a well fronted green, is a hole you won’t soon forget. The creek comes into play again forcing a challenging decision on number 16. A sizable forced carry is needed to clear the creek leaving a wedge to the green. Those a little more faint of heart might choose a layup to the hazard that will put a long iron in your hand for an approach to a small green protected by cedars and an embankment. The final short hole, plays into a hidden bowl guarded by a towering fir tree. Hit it high or hit it low, but don’t dare catch the boughs for fear of a lost ball and big number.
The current management has a focus on great value and friendly experiences. Newcastle will bring both of those to your golfing dollars. This challenging layout playing 5100 – 6400 yards and as a par 70 will force the best from your game.
I know that having the same birth year and enjoying a stern test of great value golf will have me making a point of packing the sticks, some bright plaid shorts and spikeless shoes the next time my car is headed near Newcastle. I would love another go at the slopes and swales of this other Centennial baby. Newcastle is an absolute must for anyone looking for a great value, and surprising challenge. Easy to get to off either the 115 or 401, whether you are heading to the Kawarthas, or Eastern Ontario you need to put Newcastle on the agenda.
Newcastle Golf Course,
2429 Golf Course Rd.Newcastle, ON L1B 1L9
Associate Editor, On The Tee Magazine www.ontheteemagazine.com
Tour Supervisor, BAGS Junior Tour www.bags.on.ca