The value of a golf course can be a very subjective thing. There are many ways to judge, rank, and appreciate a facility but few things resonate with more people than visual appeal. The scenes you take in while you visit a course generally make the greatest impression on you. To this end the York Durham Headwaters region of Ontario within its golf properties; to say there is a high quotient of beauty among them would be a vast understatement. We take a deeper look at what continues to attract golfers to these courses and brings them back to play many times over.
The Briars Golf Club
You can’t buy or build history and time undeniably adds its own layer of beauty to a golf course. That is what you will find on the original nine holes of The Briars, a layout brilliantly crafted by Stanley Thompson in 1922 and added to with another nine holes by Robbie Robinson. Visit here in the early morning and evening and subtle golden hour light reveals the nuances of the property – the shadows that draw across the rumpled land and give it character, or the shimmering water features that interject politely and peacefully. Many times you’ll need to stop and take a moment as you admire the classic Ontario resort property.
Royal Ashburn Golf Club
The Paterson family take pride in their golf course like few others can. Even with a setting near a large populace, its layout that is rich with flora (and occasionally fauna) provides a retreat from the urban environment. Details are not overlooked here, from the grassing lines of the fairways to how the holes were routed through land that seemed destined to host golf. You have a lot to look forward to here from the first tee onward.
Angus Glen Golf Club (South)
Now surrounded by the buzz of urban Markham, once inside the gates at Angus Glen you are carried back to a reserve of rich and interesting green space where you can appreciate the splendours of Ontario. With many holes that work their way through protected valleys, it’s easy to feel alone from the manufactured world here, while in touch with the natural environment. That effect is hammered home on the 18th green of the South Course as you make your approach and witness the intersection of forest, water, a green setting that is integrated with the surrounds, and an attractive clubhouse looming on the hillside above.
Angus Glen Golf Club (North)
The host course of the 2007 RBC Canadian Open has matured through the year to find its own identity among regional golf courses. In contrast slightly with the other course on the property with a slightly more “rugged” appearance that appeals to many. Fescue tipped mounding lines man fairways with pot bunkers also dotting the property. If you are a fan of Scottish golf you will love the look and flavour.
The landscape in the Uxbridge region may be among the best in Ontario, with sandy soil and rolling topography, and the number of quality golf courses that have emerged him only backs that assertion. With a design that pays tribute to some of the best golf courses in the world, along with many original holes, asking a player to choose their favourite test among the course will always bring a multitude of responses. Visually few are better than the second hole, a short par four that sports a tee box towering above the fairway with the vision of multiple holes laid out in front of you. It represents the course’s ability to intrigue you, test your skills, and delight your senses all at the same time. A theme that carries throughout the property.
Caledon Country Club
From its birth more than fifty years ago, the founders of the Caledon Country Club recognized the land it was built upon as one of its greatest assets. With a former name that meant “Land of Pines” you understand what you may be in for when you come to play their 27 holes. With green ribbons of fairways tucked among those trees, and wandering up and down hills and valleys, you’ll find a course that does not require length to enjoy and prides itself on its hole settings. Each year of maturity adds but another layer of delight to their property, one where architect Rene Muylaert squeezed the most from the setting.
Hockley Valley Resort
When the long fescue waves in the wind among the surrounds at Hockley Valley you will feel in touch with the sole of the game. Do it as the sun rises or sets and you may forget to swing your clubs, instead choosing to stand there and soak it all in. The fact you can take in those views from many elevated tees that look across the property is just another reason to visit. Suitable for all levels of golfers, this is a place where even if you score poorly, you will have enjoyed the scenery that lends itself well to four-season enjoyment,
Eagles Nest Golf Club
A taste of Ireland in the heart of the city. From the first tee, when gaping pot bunkers challenge you to cross them after traversing a fairway set among fescue-covered dune-land, you’ll be intrigued by what Doug Carrick was able to create. On a clear day the skyline of Toronto is visible in the distance while at the same time you feel isolated here from the touches of man. Visually the course both intimidates and delights, with rough-hewn bunkers that also stamp the property. For those who seek interesting features from the golf courses they prefer, Eagle Nest easily fills that demand.
Glen Eagle Golf Club
The Fall is a wonderful time in York Durham Headwaters and Bolton, where Glen Eagle is located, is a prime canvas for what this season represents. With mixed forest surrounds and enough elevation to extend the views, you have a perfect recipe for classic Canadian Autumn. The well-conditioned fairways are perfectly contrasted against the rich hues of the Fall leaf palette. That persists though each of their three nine-hole courses.
The scene at Osprey Valley is one that is often overwhelming to the senses. With three 18-hole courses (Toot, Hoot, Heathlands) the broad scope of the property can at first be intimidating. There is just too much for the eyes to handle. As you begin to tour each course and understand what Doug Carrick ventured to accomplish with each, the subtleties and genius of the designs reveal themselves.
On one parcel of land you get the full rich flavour of Ireland (tall mounds and grasses) the golf-rich wastelands of New Jersey (heavy bunkering and sand accents), and the distinct feel of North Carolina (dense stands of forest with pristine fairways). Combined, it keeps your eyes busy all day long and makes golf shots secondary to the experience.
Keep in mind that due to COVID-19 precautions, some of the activities may not be fully available, as well, you may need to purchase tickets online – make sure you check the locations website for more information to ensure a safe visit for all.