Stay & Play in World Famous 1000 Islands Region of Ontario
We arrived at Smugglers Glen Golf Club well ahead of our 12:50 tee time thinking that we would grab some lunch, hit balls, chip and putt, all the things that golfers should do before a round. Then we ventured across the street to The Glen House Resort, home for the night, to see if we might get an early check in at the 100 plus year-old resort overlooking where the mighty St. Lawrence River meets the tail end of Lake Ontario. While I was checking in my friend Brian went to check out the bar and restaurant area and make a reservation in anticipation of pre dinner martinis and feasting on the famous Prime Rib offered up in Shipman’s Dining Room.
Brian reappears just as I finished checking in procedure and said, “Come check out this view!” We ventured into Smugglers Lounge and then out to the patio area overlooking the St. Lawrence River and our US neighbors immediately to the south. A good drive and 3 wood might just get you into the USA.
He also strongly suggested that we see if we could tee it up sooner giving us more time sipping on a cocktail and gazing over the million-dollar view! Thankfully that mission accomplished!
Smugglers Glen Golf Club was introduced to Eastern Ontario landscape in 2005 and immediately became a hit with golfers on both sides of the border. Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal are major feeder markets as well as New York State immediately to the south.
“It is a pure Stay & Play experience” said Director of Golf Jason Boyce. “Once here you park your vehicle everything is here, no need to get in your vehicle until it is time to go home.” “Repeat business is big for us and we are very proud of that fact. It means that we are providing a good product and we believe great value and atmosphere.” Boyce added.
We can now vouch for that. The course although by todays standard of 7,000 plus yards might be considered short at 6,600 yards, we found it fun to play and had plenty of challenge from the 6,200-yard white tees.
In style the course is more of a target golf rather than grip it and rip it.
The first hole kind of puts everything into perspective. Standing on the tee box, to your right, another view of the St. Lawrence River. 433-yard uphill par five where driver is probably best kept in the bag. With a very narrow landing area, driver likely puts you in the bunker left or behind a rock wall right. God, forbid you hit that rock wall and no telling where you might end up.
Carved out of the Canadian Shield, elevation changes add that other dimension to a pristinely manicured course whose landing areas for the most part are fairly generous, the premium is on 2nd shots.
The 500-yard, risk reward, par 5, 4th probably the toughest hole on the course for most, I made a double. I hit a nice drive from and elevated tee. There is a hazard diagonally crossing the fairway. No way was I going to go for the crossing of the hazard. Don’t you hate it when you hit a shitty lay up??? Next one into the hazard and viola, double bogey! Great hole though. Boyce suggested that the tree lined 414-yard par 4, 11th is the toughest hole. Long drive required, and 2nd shot must avoid the left side bunker protecting ½ of the green.
I would agree with Boyce on the Signature Hole being the 13th. 526-yard, par 5 where the big hitters will try to fly the bunker on the dog leg left. For us mere mortals, we will aim straight out at the glistening rock face of the Sheild. Fairway slants to the left, right side is best the rest of the way home.
Favorite holes, there could be a pick’m affair. Those with red lounge chairs close to the tee box are winners for me. It was worth it to take a minute, sit in the chair and enjoy the panoramic view in front of you. Even though I butchered the fourth, next time I can see myself living up to that challenge. Yes, it has chairs.
Number 9, River View is a fun hole leading to the turn, where a pretty damn good hotdog awaits. That ended up being lunch. Leave driver in the bag, narrow landing area, hit to about 125 yards from the green and leave your self a full shot into the green.
The Gambler, short par 4, 12th – 240 uphill and not much room for error around the green. Come up short and you could roll all the back to a position of hitting one of those ugly ½ shots that won’t stop on the elevated green. Not sure why, only 2 chairs here!
No chairs here but the Green Monster 18th is a great double dogleg finishing hole. 565 yards from the white tees, definitely a three shot hole as water protects the left side of the fairway as you approach the green which is tucked in behind. A very satisfying par!
Great green grass holes aside, one of the most notable holes is the 19th hole, Smugglers Lounge within the Glen House whose deck overlooks the St. Lawrence. We spent a lot of time playing this one, but did not mind at all! In fact, after a few pints and a little freshening up we were back at the Lounge this time cozying up to the bar for the previously mentioned pre dinner martinis. Even though we had reservations in the renowned Shipman’s Dining Room which was a buzz with activity, we made an executive decision to have our Prime Rib dinner right at the bar. Service was excellent and charming right where we were. Shipmans and Smugglers atmosphere is contagious, not only with vacationers but the locals love it too!
The Glen House Resort has 72 with accommodation styles to suite whatever your taste might be. The variety of accommodations includes: jacuzzi suites, river view and riverfront deluxe rooms, two-bedroom chalets and non river view rooms. Many of the rooms and suites are equipped with fireplaces and balconies or patios overlooking the 1000 islands.
This gem in the heart of the 1000 Islands is a short drive from Gananoque, Ontario. For more information and a complete listing of Stay & Play Packages outlining accommodation options it is all right here. Glen House Resort & Smugglers Glen