Welcome to the 2015 Traveling Golfer Top 100!
With more than 800 courses stretching throughout the province, there is a wealth of opportunity for those looking to tee it up in Ontario. From the stunning topography of the near north and Muskoka’s resort courses, to an exceptional bargain in Windsor, to the heralded ground of several Stanley Thompson classics, each has a place among Ontario’s 100 greatest courses.
What follows, however, is not your typical ranking. The 2015 Traveling Golfer Top 100 Ontario Courses is what we believe to be the world’s most transparent and thorough golf course ranking.
Any great course evaluation, though, begins with a great panel. Apart from the fact that each panel member must have played well over 100 of the top 300 courses to be eligible, the beauty of our rankers is their diversity. From the hottest golfer on the PGA of Canada circuit, Danny King, to avid golfer David Sanders, a 4.0 handicap who has played a remarkable 825 courses in Ontario alone (he claims he has just 22 left), to golf & travel professionals, our panelists cover the gamut of those who appreciate great golf architecture and sublime golf experiences. And while they have all played throughout the province, from the most exclusive private facility to the scruffiest of public tracks, they each reflect how beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To see how we crunch the numbers CLICK HERE.
Among the top 100 (OK, it’s actually 101, since there was a dead heat for 100th!) there are no fewer than 32 public-access courses, meaning you don’t have to be a member to enjoy outstanding golf in this province. And with representation ranging from Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay to Niagara Falls, and from Windsor to Ottawa, you also don’t have to live in the GTA to savour some of the best golf Ontario has to offer.
We expect the final results that follow to be fodder for great debate. Rankings invariably generate passionate discussion. They create bucket lists for players—from tourists to local residents. They increase the profile of golf courses and resorts. They get us thinking about what constitutes greatness, and about where we’d like to play next.
Feel free to let us know where you personally think our panel members have erred, and where you believe they got it right. We look forward to your input.
—Claudio DeMarchi, Owner and Publisher, The Traveling Golfer
The Top 10
| 1. St. George’s G & CC, Etobicoke (70.43)
As holy shrines of golf go, St. George’s is Canada’s Jerusalem. Ranked No. 30 on the planet last year by Golf Digest, the 1929 Stanley Thompson masterpiece occupies a tumbling, weaving property in the heart of Toronto that has staged five Canadian Opens…Read More
| 2. The National Golf Club of Canada,Woodbridge (69.69)
“A beauty to behold and a beast to play,” Ben Crenshaw once succinctly observed. Added Canadian golf immortal George Knudson: “If you play four rounds in a row here at par or better, you can play the Tour.”…Read More
| 3. Hamilton G & CC (West-South), Ancaster (67.24)
This month marks the 100th anniversary of the informal unveiling of the Harry S. Colt classic. What was then a 6,350-yard par-73 has evolved into a 6,928-yard par-70, but it remains one of North America’s great parkland courses and among golf’s finest testaments to enduring design…Read More
| 4. Westmount G & CC, Kitchener (57.52)
With many of the holes cut from bush and swamp, the labour was often unforgiving in nature for architect Stanley Thompson’s troops in carving out this pure test of golf in northwest Kitchener…Read More
| 5. Beacon Hall GC, Aurora (53.86)
“I wish it were mine to play every day,” expressed course architect Robert Cupp, who worked with Canadian architect Tom McBroom in crafting this perennially top-5-ranked Ontario layout…Read More
| 6. Toronto GC, Mississauga (53.69)
Positively no course in Ontario evoked more eloquence from our panel than the recently refurbished Toronto Golf Club. Although it was founded in 1876, the current location served as the fresh canvas for Harry Colt, then one of the world’s preeminent golf architects, in 1911 after he was brought in from England to craft the Mississauga layout…Read More
| 7. Coppinwood GC, Uxbridge (50.83)
As its website literature attests, this is “purely and quintessentially a golf club.” Provided plenty of room to breathe, this elegant 2006 Tom Fazio creation was laid upon a vast 357 acres of rolling terrain in the midst of quiet farm country northeast of Toronto—a property Fazio described as “an ideal piece of land; rolling, with great views…Read More
| 8. Devil’s Paintbrush, Caledon (48.92)
At some courses, golfers are limited by their depth of talent. At Devil’s Paintbrush, they’re limited only by their imagination. There are no imposing forced carries from the tee called for here; no high-trajectory, soft-landing long-irons required to hold the putting surfaces…Read More
| 9. Muskoka Bay Club, Gravenhurst (48.36)
Easily one of the most picturesque courses in Ontario, the 2006 Doug Carrick design embraces Muskoka topography in all its glory, from mammoth granite ridges and dramatic elevation changes, to streams, beaver ponds and dense woodlands…Read More
| 10. Bigwin Island GC, Gravenhurst (47.03)
Named for the noted Ojibway warrior and hunter, Chief Joseph Big Wind, and the site of a historic luxury inn that lured such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Clark Gable, Ernest Hemingway, H.G. Wells and the Rockefellers, Bigwin Island’s first course was carved by none other than Stanley Thompson in 1922…Read More