It was early March, 2012; a nice warm air began to waft in towards the city of Toronto and by mid-month all of the prerequisites necessary for the start of the golf season were in line. I believe it was March 19th, to be exact, that I played my first round of golf that year up at St. Andrew’s Valley in Aurora. Spring rates and still the normal gruffness that comes with early season greens – but I was playing…
In 2013, I felt that the golf season might never come. The lingering cold and intermittent snow days were tiresome and seemingly unwavering. As a dreary April dragged on, it wasn’t until the 20th of the month that I finally found myself on the links. Still with a sweater on and surrounded by bare, leafless trees, it seemed almost more like mid-October golf, but it hardly mattered. Hitting those first pure swings and sinking putts again, I was back where I wanted to be.
Now that the heat has finally set in and the spring shanks are hopefully starting to subside, it’s a fitting opportunity to feature some of the best public golf courses in the GTA…
An immaculately manicured 18-hole championship course designed by renowned golf architect Graham Cooke, Piper’s Heath has been named as one of SCOREGolf Magazine’s Top 100 Golf Courses in Ontario, and for good reason. With a full service driving range, GPS enabled carts, and a challenging but playable layout, Piper’s Heath will have you coming back time and again.
With three distinctly designed courses at the Osprey Valley Resort, there’s a unique experience at every turn. From the wasteland “Hoot” course, the parkland style “Toot” course, to the “Heartland” course (their newest addition), Osprey offers great tracks for all styles of play.
With stunning elevation changes, seriously undulating greens, and nerve-testing blind shots, the 27-hole layout at Pheasant Run will keep the excitement brewing all the way to next season.
A meld of cavernous pot bunkers, rugged fescue, and bulbous sand dunes characterize this Doug Carrick design. Eagles Nest is amongst the most premium public golf experiences one can get within the GTA, and one of the priciest as well. If you don’t have the time, or the money, for a full round at Eagles Nest, you can always opt for a jaunt down the fairways at its sister course, Turnberry, an executive 18.
If you’re a bit of an out-of-towner, or willing to be one for the day, drive the extra distance to Hockley Valley Resort. Celebrated Canadian golf course architect Thomas McBroom has carved out this hidden gem of a track into the hillsides of a real ski hill. With 100-foot drop-offs on par threes and funneled fairways, this is a true player’s course.
Known for hosting two PGA tour events, one of the few public courses in this region to do so, every time you walk the fairways of either the South or North Courses at Angus Glen one can step in stride with some of golf’s greatest legends.
The best municipal golf course you’ll find within the GTA, BraeBen is a City of Mississauga golf course that’s the highest point in the city. With a view all the way into downtown Toronto, BraeBen features an 18-hole championship course, a 9-hole academy course, double ended driving range, and having been built on a former landfill, it actually provides renewable energy to over 5,000 Mississauga homes.
St. Andrew’s Valley
Winding deep into the Aurora forest, St. Andrew’s Valley Golf Course has garnered a Four Star rating by Golf Digest Magazine. With 7,300 yards of championship caliber golf and a tricky creek that comes into play on nearly every hole, this course is as majestic as it can be miring.
Lowville Golf Club
Dick Kirkpatrick stapled Lowville into the cusp of the Burlington escarpment creating one of the true hidden gems of the GTA. Mainly servicing the Oakville, Hamilton and Burlington crowd, this is a day trip that discerning Toronto golfers should not ignore.
Running from July 22nd to 28th, 2013, Glen Abbey will play host to this year’s RBC Canadian Open. Dubbed as the unofficial 5th major on the PGA Tour, Glen Abbey is famed for having hosted one of the most historic victories of Tiger Woods’ career, as he became the first man since Lee Trevino (in 1971) to win The Triple Crown (all three opens in the same year) in 2000.