From The Vault: Golf Ontario Style

Ed. Note: During the early- to late-2000s, I wrote Golf Ontario Style, the official golf tourism marketing publication for the Province of Ontario. Here’s the 2005 edition:










Welcome To Ontarioby Jeffrey Reed

The golfing population of Ontario, and the millions of annual visitors to this province, have more than 700 golf courses to enjoy at their leisure. That number is staggering. The Greater Toronto Area alone boasts more than 200 golf courses. Just two hours southwest, the city of London holds the unofficial title of, Golf Capital of North America, thanks to its per capita participation rate and close to 50 beautiful golf courses. And just across the lake from Toronto, the Niagara Region has become a golf destination, with more than 40 golf clubs beckoning visitors to the honeymoon capital of the world.
Clearly, Ontario loves golf. As one of more than 12 million Ontario residents, I am no different. In 2004, I was fortunate enough to enjoy 70 rounds of golf in southwestern Ontario, which boasts some of the finest golf courses anywhere in the world. In fact, just a short drive from my suburban London home rests Redtail Golf Course, one of the most exclusive and most beautiful golf courses anywhere on the globe, and host of the 2005 Ontario Amateur Championship; and two of Canada’s finest public courses, Forest City National Golf Club, and the new Thomas McBroom-designed FireRock Golf Club.
No matter where you visit in Ontario, there is sure to be a quality golf course ready to welcome you to its plush fairways and greens. Travellers to Ontario’s Lake Country and Northern region not only have 90 resorts to choose from, but also a myriad of marvelous golf courses, including Gravenhurst’s Taboo Resort, Golf and Spa, home course of 2003 Masters Champion Mike Weir. The Muskoka region is dotted not only with glimmering lakes, but also with stunningly beautiful golf courses for golfers of every ability.
Golfing legend Arnold Palmer once said, “What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive.” Providing the best Mother Nature has to offer, Ontario’s golf courses are things of beauty. Whether you are a scratch golfer or just out to enjoy the outdoors, you’ll be glad you visited Ontario.

Western Ontario

Western Ontario is a unique setting where country meets city. From border-town casinos to cottage country, every community rests just minutes from a gorgeous golf course.

Sitting in the heart of Western Ontario, London is a golfer’s paradise, with no fewer than 65 courses surrounding the city of 350,000. Home to the University of Western Ontario and world-renown medical centres, London’s golf offerings include 81 holes of city-run golf, respected across Canada. as a model operation. Thames Valley opened in 1924 as one of Eastern Canada’s first public courses. Lake Erie and popular Port Stanley beach rest just south of London.
To London’s northeast, Perth County awaits visitors with the Stratford Festival, North America’s largest repertory theatre featuring the work of William Shakespeare, and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in nearby St. Marys.

Highland Country Club

Two cities bordering Michigan offer an abundance of activities. Resting along the beautiful shores of Lake Huron, Sarnia is both a boater’s dream, and a golfer’s delight. PGA Tour star Mike Weir hails from the Sarnia hamlet of Bright’s Grove. At the border, the Point Edward Charity Casino sits in the shadows of the massive Bluewater Bridge. Windsor, known as the Rose City, borders the city of Detroit, and offers its own casino and quality golf courses. Nearby Pelee Island, “Canada’s Southern Jewel,” offers world-class birding and wineries.

Along Lake Huron, some of Ontario’s finest beaches and golf courses make up Bluewater Country. Sandy-white beaches of Georgian Bay draw thousands of vacationers each summer. Huron County has world-famous sunsets, and scores of golf courses, including Oakwood Inn Resort & Golf at Grand Bend. And, more than a half-million visitors experience the natural beauty of Pinery Provincial Park each year.

Toronto & Area

Canada’s largest city offers the best of both worlds: a vibrant area of more than four million residents; and 200 golf courses resting idyllically within an hour’s drive of Toronto’s CN Tower and SkyDome. Famous landmarks, a myriad of shopping and fine dining, theatre, museums, plus world-class sporting events await you in downtown Toronto. Just around the corner you will discover peaceful surroundings of babbling brooks and undulating greens.
From its modest beginnings in 1793 as a military garrison, the town was named York in honour of the Duke of York, and 41 years later incorporated and renamed Toronto after the Huron Indian word for “meeting place.” Today, Toronto is a sophisticated cosmopolitan area keeping its small-town charm. It’s a clean, friendly city boasting comfortable accommodations.

The CN Tower is the world’s tallest freestanding structure at 553.33 m and the most famous landmark in Ontario’s capital. SkyDome, home of baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays and football’s Toronto Argonauts, was the first stadium in the world to feature a retractable roof. Ontario Place also hugs Toronto’s fabulous Harbour front. The Guinness World Book of Records also recognizes Toronto as home of the “Biggest Underground Shopping Complex,” call PATH, where golfers are sure to discover the latest trends in golf fashions.

When it’s time to tee off, Jack Nicklaus-designed Glen Abbey Golf Club, and new masterpiece Wooden Sticks are just two Toronto-area courses ready to accommodate you. The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame is also on site at Glen Abbey.
Endless attractions and scores of golf courses for every budget make Toronto a world-class destination for the golf traveller. A soaring cityscape, and fairways lined with majestic trees: both are yours in Toronto and area.

Kitchener, Hamilton, Niagara

The historic region bordered by Kitchener, Hamilton and Niagara is aptly called, “Festival Country,” for its many seasonal events drawing a world-wide audience. Centrally located between Toronto and several U.S. border cities, this geographic gem is also a golf mecca, with courses suited to every taste. From championship courses to municipal links, these three area partners combine to offer a golf retreat without boundaries.

Put on your party hat at Kitchener’s annual nine-day Oktoberfest, North America’s largest Bavarian festival. The Farmer’s Market in nearby St. Jacob’s, not to mention great golf courses like Doon Valley and Rockway, make Kitchener a fun destination.

More than two dozen golf courses grace the mountainous landscape of Hamilton, a warm municipality home to the Royal Botanical Gardens, where you’ll be charmed by the world’s largest lilac collection and Rose Festival. Hamilton also houses the Canadian Warplane Heritage Musuem, Hamilton International Tattoo, and three outstanding 18-hole public golf courses: King’s Forest; Chedoke Martin; and Stanley Thompson-designed Chedoke Beddoe.

While Hamilton sits at the western most tip of Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls is where you will find one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Board the Maid of the Mist and cruise right to the base of the American and Horshoe Falls. Visit Old Fort Erie and Queenston Heights, profound reminders of the War of 1812. Northeast of Niagara Falls is Niagara-On-The-Lake, a delightful community of antique shops and charming bed and breakfast inns.

You’ll need a good night’s sleep before tackling one of dozens of golf courses in the Niagara Region. Royal Niagara, Whirlpool, and Legends on the Niagara are just three of the area’s outstanding links providing a perfect golf excursion.

Lake Country, Northlands

Ontario’s Lake Country and Northern region showcase unforgettable natural beauty. Home to Algonquin Provincial Park and its 7,725 square kilometres of outdoor adventures, Canada’s northern beauty also plays host to some of the most beautifully designed golf courses the world has to offer, thanks to Mother Nature’s brush strokes, and a helping hand from some top golf course architects.

Running through Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Orillia, Highway 11 provides a main passageway to all golf courses throughout Lake Country. North Bay and Parry Sound, and northward along the combination of highways 11 and 17, the road leads to golf heaven.

Just two hours north of Toronto, the Muskoka Golf Trail offers six spectacular courses and four first-class resorts. Rocky Crest Golf Club, The Mark O’Meara Course at Grandview, Taboo Golf Club, The Lake Joseph Club, Deerhurst Highlands and The Rock Golf Club must be played during a golfer’s lifetime. In total, Ontario offers 85 resorts. Combined with breathtakingly beautiful golf of Lake Country and Northern region, it’s no surprise why the world comes to play in Ontario.

Lake Country rests just one hour north of Toronto, so there’s plenty to do besides golf. Every modern amenity, from shopping to fine dining, is just moments away from the clubhouse of any area golf course. Barrie, North America’s fastest growing city, offers its own spectacular sites. Whether you’re visiting the city, or taking in the nightly entertainment at any of the first-class resorts, you’re sure to feel welcome.

Georgian Bay is a site to see, with its 30,000 islands – the world’s largest concentration along its eastern shore. In Northern Ontario, fishing, hiking, canoeing and a breathtaking backdrop make this region a sportsman’s paradise.

Eastern Ontario

Stretching from Peterborough, north to Pembroke, and east to Ottawa, Eastern Ontario offers a choice of more than 120 golf courses. A spectacular area combining the gorgeous green hills and valleys of rich Ontario farmland with the northern white rapids of the Ottawa River, Eastern Ontario is home to the nation’s capital.

Ottawa ranks among the most beautiful cities in the world. Incredibly topographical, this city is unique in its history from the days of the Loyalists to modern-day culture and lifestyle. Covering an area of 4,662 square km, golfers can bike, take a bus or ride a train to any of the area’s scores of golf choices.

The Marshes Golf Club is a wonderful 7,027-yard public facility for golfers of all abilities who demand the best in amenities and course conditions. Capital Golf Centre executive course is set next to the NCC Greenbelt and one of the Ottawa Valley’s oldest cathedral forests, while only minutes from downtown Ottawa. Eagle Creek, designed by Ken Venturi, is a natural beauty with its meandering streams and mature forests.

The challenging Royal Ottawa Golf & Country Club, founded in 1891, combines beauty, brawn and history. Travel west to Kingston, and you will find Cataraqui Golf & Country Club, founded in 1917 and designed by Stanley Thompson. It’s widely considered one of Canada’s top golf courses.

The links are just one element to Eastern Ontario and the Capital Region. The Parliament of Canada with its Changing of the Guard, and Rideau Hall, the residence of the Governor General of Canada, are must-see sites. Ottawa honours every season with events and activities. The Tulip Festival in May celebrates the coming spring. The Franco-Ontarien Festival, Jazz Festival and Buskers Festival also see the city come alive.

From Ottawa travel the scenic Rideau Heritage Route to Kingston. Created by the British, the 202-km canal was built between 1826 and 1832. Man-made canals and locks connect to lakes and rivers that shape the surrounding towns and communities. Incredible golfing, canoeing, and fishing are found here thanks to this engineering masterpiece.

At the southernmost end of the Rideau Canal is Kingston, where waters cross into Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the western gateway to the 1000 Islands. First a fur trading post and military ground, Kingston served as Canada’s capital from 1841 to 1844. Ancient forts and historic landmarks are the roots of Kingston.

Among the many fantastic stops in the eastern region is Brockville, the city of the 1000 Islands and one of few North American cities to have its own flag. Many festivals are celebrated here from Celtic and Gaelic festivities to the five-day celebration of living on the river, called Riverfest.

Moving southwest, the sister cities of Belleville and Trenton are favourite haunts of local fishermen due to their location to the Bay of Quinte and the Trent-Severn Waterway. In fact, Belleville is known as, the sport fishing capital of Ontario. When you’re not after birdies and eagles on the golf course, you can cast your line and fish for bass.

Peterborough, and the Kawarthas, named by the First Nations people meaning “bright waters and happy land,” offer year-round activities. Lakes, rivers, canals, and scenic golf courses make this area of Eastern Ontario a perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of urban living. With its many natural wonders, and picture-perfect golf, Eastern Ontario is truly paradise.


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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office established 1989.