By: Scott MacLeod, Flagstick Media
Ask a golfer in the know and they can provide the answer. The question? Where is one of the best places to play a wide range of spectacular golf courses at affordable prices between Toronto and Montreal?
The logical answer to those with their finger on the pulse of the golf world? The Bay of Quinte Region in Eastern Ontario.
Often overlooked as travellers whistle past on Highway 401, the area that includes population centres like Belleville, Brighton, Picton, and Trenton is bursting with fairways, many crafted by top designers, but all welcoming to the travelling golfer.
More than twenty golf courses dot this region that has benefited greatly from it’s stunning location near Lake Ontario. Fertile farmland and splendid vistas are attributes that strengthen any activity, but none more than the grand old game.
In 1895 the first course to established here, the nine-hole Napanee Golf & Country Club, served the needs of enthusiasts, and while it still continues to do so, it has been joined by a bevy of others. It has become one of the richest golf regions, per capita, in all of Ontario.
Bay of Quinte Golf & Country Club
In the early 1920’s the Bay of Quinte Golf of Country club in Bellville was established, the first 18-hole layout in the area.
Through history the club has hosted many significant championships and in the modern era, under new private ownership, they have not let themselves get lost in the past. Most recently the club opened their new “Nineteen Restaurant and Bar”
This upscale dining experience is the perfect cap to a day of golf and allows you to enjoy the best local foods in the region just steps from a putting green.
And what greens they are. The much-heralded course at Bay of Quinte stretches to nearly 6,600 yards. Easy to walk, the emphasis on quality turf conditions will make it attractive for any level of golfer. www.bayofquinte.com
Barcovan Golf Club
When great greens and a family-like welcome is what you seek, the Barcovan Golf Club in Carrying Place, near the Murray Canal and the Kente Portage Road (the oldest road still in use in Ontario), should be your destination.
For more than 50 years golfers have been attracted to Barcovan, a course laid out among 150 acres of treed woodland marked by water on more than half the holes.
Family-owned since 1973, your greeting here will be a warm one. That’s just a start to what you can look forward to.
The course has a reputation for fast, true greens and, much like Bay of Quinte G&CC, it proves to be an easy walk.
When you finish up be sure to head into the Tudor-style clubhouse, check out some the great golf memorabilia on-hand, and grab one of their famed burgers.www.barcovangolf.com
A trio of courses built in the last two decades have helped to grow the Belleville/Quinte area into a golfer’s delight. Timber Ridge Golf Club (Brighton) joins Trillium Wood Golf Club and Black Bear Ridge Golf Course (side by side in Belleville) in this attractive grouping
Black Bear Ridge
When owner Brian Magee set out to build a golf course he was determined that it would be no ordinary product. A passionate golfer and successful business man, he has high standards and knew that in the very competitive golf industry; he would have to offer an experience at a level that would be respected and appreciated.
He accomplished that and more in Black Bear Ridge, an award-winning design from the day it opened in 2005.
The expansive undulating property sits on is an idyllic golf setting, if you prefer a course of endless interest and natural beauty. You only need to look to the first tee and the vista it provides from seventy-five feet above the fairway below to begin your appreciation for the place.
Despite its youth, the main golf course has great bones provided by the mature landscape. It looks less created and more “drawn out” from the land. Playing as little as 5,145 yards and all the way back to 7,238 yards, there is a course within that to suit every player.
A couple years ago Mr. Magee made mention that the golf course was made for “maximum enjoyment” and it is hard to argue that this was not accomplished. www.blackbearridge.ca
Trillium Wood Golf Club
Next door to Black Bear Ridge, at Trillium Wood, Steven Ward created a playable design with modern construction that has stood the test of time.
Trillium Wood Golf Club is characterized by mature trees, large greens, elevated tees, rolling bentgrass fairways, picturesque ponds, and strategically placed bunkers. The magnificently scenic 18 holes gives one the sense that they have been part of the landscape for many years.
The par 72 course plays between 4900 and 6700 yards from four tee decks on over 200 acres of undulating wooded areas and scenic heathland. The course is supported by one of the region’s premier driving ranges with separate teaching and practice areas.
Perhaps most noteworthy is the sense that virtually every hole is its own separate entity. For most of the holes, foursomes will be alone, surrounded by awesome stands of fairway trees.www.trilliumwood.com
Timber Ridge Golf Course
Timber Ridge Golf Course opened to the public in 2001. Spread over some 200 acres along a ridge of sand near Brighton, Ontario it was perfect ground for a golf course.
Steven Ward created the design, weaving holes through hardwood forests and open meadows. The result was a course that received immediate acclaim for its fairness, variety of hole designs, and premium conditions.www.timberridgegolf.net
Picton Golf & Country Club
Picturesque Prince Edward County is known to many around the world as a burgeoning wine region. Long before the vineyards appeared golf was a popular pastime.
Founded in 1907 as a nine hole golf course and expanded to a full 18 in 1998, the setting for Picton Golf & Country Club, overlooking stunning Picton Bay, is just a start of it’s charms.
In a relaxed atmosphere guests are welcomed here and combining a visit to a nearby winery with a round of golf makes for the ultimate “County” experience.
With a new pro shop in 2013 and a clubhouse fully renovated the next year, you’ll find an environment where the meal or beverage on “the Golf Club Grill” is every bit as satisfying as the wander through their course.www.pictongolf.ca
So Much More
Of course, this is just a sampling of the Bay of Quinte Region golf properties. More novice players can also enjoy several nine-hole and short course options. They offer no less of a golf experience but can help you balance your days in the region which will be sure to be packed with activities and attractions – be it fishing, cycling, hiking, canoeing, winery tours and so much more.
The Bay of Quinte region is a well-round golf destination, one that should never be overlooked.
Plan to stop the next time you go by, or better yet, plan for a multi-day stay.
You won’t regret it.