By Patricia Bandurka
It’s considered the “sixth Great Lake”, a place where the Blue Mountains paint the canvas and the crashing waves provide the soundtrack. For me, I consider it a diamond in the rough – a precious gem waiting to be discovered.
I have had the pleasure of living in the Collingwood area for the past few months. As a city girl, I have grown quite fond of the charm and simplicity of the Blue Mountain lifestyle and have relished in the easy going and friendly environment. However, I am a golfer and exploring new places to play has become a job that I take quite seriously. If you’re looking for the ultimate golf experience, play one round in this Ontario golf haven and it too will woo you into falling in love – capturing your heart as it has captured mine. With challenging courses encompassing the shoreline, I am certain that you will be captivated by the beauty and wonder that is Georgian Bay.
The Bay’s natural yet rugged landscape has been a staple in Canadian history going back to the seventeenth century when Samuel de Champlain called it “the calm sea”. But perhaps its greatest accomplishments is that it provided inspiration for many paintings done by the Group of Seven and without question the vision for golf architects to create some of the most challenging golf courses situated on the Georgian Bay coast.
A perfect example is the Doug Carrick masterpiece, Cobble Beach. Located in Owen Sound, the links-style course is arguably a hidden golf treasure. From the first tee to the last, panoramic views of Georgian Bay are showcased as it winds its way through the woodlands and fescue. The course is nothing short of demanding. Rolling fairways, fast greens, and a number of bunkers – I may have found a few during my game – make for an interesting and visually appealing round of golf.
no images were found
The 17th at Cobble Beach is the course’s signature hole with an elevated tee shot that puts you in line with the blue waters of Georgian Bay. The hole is going in my books as one of my favourite par 3’s of all time and I really didn’t mind making double bogey. The picturesque setting of the lighthouse and surrounding areas remind me of the tranquil setting of Cape Cod. More than a golf course, Cobble Beach has ten suites available in their Nantucket style clubhouse and recently added cabins for golfers interested in Stay & Play packages. Golfers can look forward to a relaxing oasis following their round while enjoying views of the Bay.
Throughout the summer, Cobble Beach is promoting “All You Can Play” for $99 Monday-Wednesday! That’s right! This is not a typo! You can play as much golf as you want based on available tee times from dawn until dusk. “All You Can Play” is also available Thursday to Sunday. Rates are subject to change. If you’re looking for your next golf vacation this summer, look no further then Cobble Beach! www.cobblebeach.com
To the southeast in the town of Thornbury lies The Golf Club of Lora Bay. The golf course offers a memorable round of golf that pays homage to the Ontario countryside that wanders along the beautiful Nipissing Ridge and Georgian Bay. Designed by 1996 Open Champion Tom Lehman and notable Canadian golf course architect Tom McBroom, the course was the site of the 2007 TELUS World Skins Game where John Daly crushed his driver onto the par-4 2nd hole green without breaking a sweat. With panoramic views of Georgian Bay on the majority of holes, golfers will appreciate the lay of the land and tree lined fairways. The course is a welcome challenge and as Tom Lehman stated “it’s a strategic triumph and pleasure to play”. www.lorabaygolf.com
McBroom’s next work of art can be found in the heart of the Blue Mountains. Monterra is a traditional links-style golf course cut out through the trees. Its inviting layout consists of well placed bunkers, multiple water hazards, and stunning elevated tee shots. The finishing holes at Monterra are quite possibly my favourite. The Blue Mountains and the Village are heavily featured and I found myself in awe of the European ambiance. A world-class Stay & Play resort, you can enjoy a round of golf in the morning, relax on the Bay during the day, and enjoy the Village at night. http://www.bluemountain.ca/golf.htm
The Cranberry Golf Resort has the distinction of being Canada’s first Audubon Society certified golf course and my personal backyard for the summer. Cranberry is a popular Stay & Play resort framed within the Georgian Bay landscape and Blue Mountains. Golfers can expect a challenging round of golf in a natural setting which includes strategically placed bunkers and water hazards protecting greens. The course is a worthy adversary and not to be taken lightly as there is not a single parallel fairway in sight.
Set in the countryside of Nottawa and not too far from the Traveling Golfer headquarters lies Batteaux Creek. This course favours a fader and is in meticulous shape with well-groomed fairways and greens that are fast and true. The Steve Young designed course utilizes the natural environment to its advantage and provides picturesque views of the Blue Mountains on several holes. www.batteauxcreek.com
Last but not least, The Blue Mountain Golf Club is a semi-private golf course that holds the honour of being the longest established golf course in the Collingwood area of Georgian Bay. Breathtaking views of the Blue Mountains along with the Niagara Escarpment act as a scenic backdrop to the course’s well maintained tees, fairways, and greens. The club recently added a double row irrigation system which provides pristine conditions to members and guests. The course is fair, forgiving, and is in its own element throughout the golf season. www.bmgcc.net
I have only just scratched the surface of where to play in South Georgian Bay. If you get chance, check out Osler Brook Golf & Country Club in Collingwood and Stone Tree Golf Club in Owen Sound. Put South Georgian Bay on your must play golf bucket list and experience the golf, mountains, and the scenery of Georgian Bay.