Posted : June 9, 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.
A couple of par fives from the end of the 404 in Sharon, is a golf experience filled with great holes and beautiful landscapes, mixed with historic charm and good value. Crossed by the creeks and surrounded by beautiful farms and forests, the short drive from the urban sprawl of GTA suburbia gets you back in touch with what brought the original settlers to the area.
As hundreds of commuters and tourists race past this charming, challenging layout, most would see just another golf course in the rolling country-side of northern York Region. What many wouldn’t know is that people have been enjoying this parcel of land for well over 250 years. Isaac Pegg knew a good thing when he saw it, settling this area as a Pennsylvania Quaker in the late 1700’s. He turned this part of East Gwillimbury into a productive farm and then built mills for flour and lumber. Facing the seemingly endless parade of cars on Woodbine Avenue, between the 4th and 5th holes, is a cairn dedicated to these original settlers, identifying the Pegg family burial plot. It recognizes the role these original Quaker settlers played in the development of the area. The farms and mills created by the Peggs predate the nearby Sharon Temple, a National Historic Site and even the founding of Canada for that matter. The land walked and enjoyed by golfers now provides a charming, recreational respite on these once historically, industrious lands.
The course with roots dating back to 1959, has been a local favorite for decades. Having had the pleasure of playing it for the past 30 years, the facility has one constant theme; change! Shawneeki has operated under a few different monikers, and gone through many design changes throughout the years. Most recently David Moote was brought in to make substantial changes to a few of the finishing holes to accommodate a new practice facility. All these tweaks and alterations have produced a golf course filled with a variety of holes requiring length, creativity and shot making ability to navigate the cedars, water courses and dramatic elevation changes. With great views of the surrounding Oak Ridges Moraine and Black River Valley, golf at Shawneeki gives a little taste of history, while presenting a pretty stern test to your game.
Shawneeki provides four tee decks to accommodate all levels of player. Ranging from 5301 to 6716 yards, the layout presents an enjoyable round for the high cappers, while challenging the more skilled player with length and well placed water and bunkers. The greens are generous with just enough roll to make the flat stick work hard. With rates from $38- $62, your round is both time and money well spent.
The round begins with a gentle handshake Par 4 and follows with a nice combination of risk / reward and length to test all parts of your game. A menacing creek and numerous ponds lie in waiting to swallow anything off line, while thick cedars line many holes forcing you to shape shots. The fourth hole is a terrific short par 4, playing downhill with a creek in the landing area. The green is circled by dense cedars so taking a rip with the big stick might find a heap of trouble. The front side finishes with a devilish duo of holes. Number 8 is a gigantic par 5 playing over 600 yards from the back tees, while Hole 9 is a beast of a Par 3 forcing a long iron or hybrid to a perched green all over water.
The back nine presents similar rolling fairways but also is routed over some dramatic slopes with beautiful views. As you turn the dogleg on Hole 11 you find yourself looking out over vast country-side that is awash in beautiful fall colours. Dogleg Number 13 can best be described as a love it or hate it hole. Its tee sits next to the babbling Black River and presents a split fairway with a large pond in the middle. The raised blind green is a welcome finish to this challenging hole. This hole is bookended by two remarkable short holes. Number 12 plays from an elevated tee on the side of a steep hillside, to a heavily sloped green 200 yards down into a valley. Number 14 starts high on a hill and plays to a well bunkered green with a huge fall off in front. Both holes provide as much challenge as they do beautiful backdrops to frame and will certainly stick in your memory bank.
Shawneeki is a pleasant, challenging daily fee experience located in the heart of northern York Region. A stone’s throw from the rural charm, filled with farms, antique markets and history that the area is blessed with, Shawneeki is a great destination for golf and exploring a little history nearby. Whether you are looking for a new place to play or just on your way through to many of the other great places in the Central Counties, be sure to make room for the sticks and fit in a lovely walk in Isaac Pegg’s footsteps.
Shawneeki Golf Club
18543 Woodbine Avenue,
Written by Rick Parnham
Associate Editor On The Tee magazine and Player Director for the BAGS Junior Golf Tour.
www.ontheteemagazine.com / www.bags.on.ca