I first played at Royal Ashburn Golf Club many moons ago in a junior tournament when it was still known as Thunderbird and my recollection of the layout a little sketchy. However, I do recall that it played tough that day and the course got the better of me. Ashburn has been on my short list of must plays for several years but the opportunity to strike it of the list, and try to exact some revenge from my early defeat , has eluded me so when the chance came for a return visit after so many years arose I jumped.
The course opened its fairways to play back in 1962 as the Whitby Golf Club only to change its moniker to Thunderbird in the early years. After a visit from His Royal Highness Prince Andrew in the fall of 1999, and to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the community of Ashburn, the course became The Royal Ashburn Golf Club. In 2006 the course was granted Armorial Bearings by the Governor General and the new coat of arms is proudly displayed to this day.
With five sets of tees ranging from 4896 to 7104 yards the design is set up to appeal to players of all skill levels. Playing from the correct tees, those of novice and intermediate playing ability will find this course enjoyable while the skilled low handicapper will face a stern test from the back tees. This well conditioned course flows naturally over gently rolling terrain with fairway corridors bracketed by mature trees and great use of mounding, ponds and a meandering creek, that is an integral part of the design on several holes, creates a wonderful parkland golfing experience.
The course presents a great mix of long, medium and short holes and also throws some risk reward opportunities at you to keep you on your toes. There are numerous outstanding holes on this routing that it is too difficult to single out one as a signature hole but the par threes here are as good a collection of 3’s as you will find on any course.
|Hole 4||Hole 7||Hole 13||Hole 16|
The opening par 3, 4th hole demands a purely stuck mid or long iron to a large green complex protected by a fronting creek, pond left and a large gapping bunker right. The only safe place is on the putting surface. The 7th hole is a great short hole that is a test from any tee block. The putting surface is elevated some 40 feet above the teeing ground making club selection tricky. The green is of the two tiered variety with bunkers all around leaving little margin for error. Number 13 is a gorgeous hole. The putting surface is level with the teeing ground and a creek weaves its way between the tee boxes before meandering its way down the left side of the hole and encircling the green. The hole generally plays in to the prevailing wind so proper club selection is at a premium. The 16th hole may be the best of the bunch. The tee blocks are spread out offering three distinct angles to the back-to-front sloping green complex protected by ponds front right and left. From the Black tees the hole is a beastly 200 yards and requires your Sunday best shot through a shoot of trees if you hope to use the putter for your next shot. If I had my druthers I would pick #16 as the signature hole for Royal Ashburn.
If you do not have Royal Ashburn on your 2014 play list your list needs to be edited –add Royal Ashburn immediately.
Royal Ashburn Golf Club
995 Myrtle Rd W
Whitby, ON L0B 1A0
Written by Alistair Orr
Editor/Publisher of On The Tee magazine and Director of Golf for the BAGS Junior Golf Tour.