A recent trip to Florida brought me back to thinking about a local course, a highly regarded, must play in the GTA. I was playing the 18th at a course near Ft. Myers and went to retrieve an errant tee shot hit by my son… yes it was him not me…. We came across a huge collection of balls along the edge of the framing pond and couldn’t figure out why so many golf balls were in the water at that spot. Then it dawned on me that the range at this course was an Aqua Range, a creative solution to space and water storage issues. This was the second time in my golfing travels that I had encountered a practice range that actually encouraged you to hit balls into the water; the other being Silver Lakes, right in our own backyard.
Often mentioned in conversations debating courses that are must plays, Silver Lakes Golf and Conference Center in Holland Landing, is definitely a GTA course worth the visit. Located on the east bank of the historic Holland River, this Bob Moote designed layout uses the natural marshlands, towering trees, and ponds to route you through an idyllic golf setting. This stern test plays true to the 5092 – 7029 yards on the card due to little elevation and thick carpets of fairway and rough.
This championship routing has been likened to the Carolinas since its opening in 1994, tight, meandering fairways framed with dense thickets and dotted with large ponds present as much challenge as you are looking to experience. Lengthy Par 5 Number 14 plays nearly 600 yards while Holes 9 and 12, two beastly Par 4s both playing more than 450 yards play to the grip-it and rip-it crowd. Shot makers will love the two short Par 4s. Hole 2 starts with a tee shot out of a chute of trees and finishes at a heavily sloped green behind a nasty pond. Everyone loves the risk-reward Par 4 that is drivable with a perfect shot. Number 13 is that hole. Shaped like a question mark, this most severe green site is heavily protected by a large pond and deep fronting bunkers.
The facility’s secluded setting is perfect for conferences and weddings. Located near the one-time terminus to historic Yonge Street bringing goods and people to the Holland River and places afar in Upper Canada, the quiet riverside layout is awash with the sounds of the plentiful waterfowl and the din of boat traffic on the river.
A great escape from the sprawling concrete and asphalt of the GTA, Silver Lakes offers a unique, pastoral charm and challenging golf experience. The course has plenty of teeth to test your skill and standing on the practice tee wrapping your head around dumping a bucket in the water alone will be an experience not soon forgotten.
Silver Lakes Golf and Conference Center
21114 Yonge Street
East Gwillimbury, Ontario
Canada L9N 0J8
Lat: 44.142598 | Long: –79.50737
Written by Rick Parnham
Associate Editor of On The Tee magazine and Tour Supervisor BAGS Junior Golf Tour
This article is an oldie but a goodie!
Posted: May 17, 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.