Next time you’re out in the knee-deep snow, remind yourself that all of that shovelling is actually off-season training and you’re just working to strengthen your core in an attempt to add 10 yards off the tee. Because before you know it, the season will be upon us and you’ll have 23 great courses in the Bay of Quinte Region to choose from.
You could find yourself surrounded by silence on the back nine at Black Bear Ridge Golf Course, in Belleville. This world-class course was named the Top Course in Eastern Ontario and one of the Top 30 Golf Courses in all of Canada by Golf Digest in 2013, and will be home to PGA Tour Canada’s The Great Waterway Classic in 2015. Literally right next door (reachable by as little as a PW) is the equally serene, beautiful and challenging Trillium Wood Golf Course, characterized by mature trees and elevated tees. With a reputation for being one of the most affordable golf courses you’ll ever play, Trillium has been voted Quinte’s favourite golf course 13 years in a row. Playing either course, it’s no surprise to see groups of deer feeding in the surrounding fields, or even shuffling across the fairway as you plot your way through the many wooded holes.
Taking a quick jog north of the 401 to Stirling’s Oak Hills Golf Course, odds are you’ll spy horses, foxes- even cows grazing just feet away, as your partner lines up their putt on the 14th green. Oak Hills is the only 36-hole offering in the Region, with the rolling hills of the 18-hole Highland Course full of elevation changes and the shorter Glen Course giving a flatter terrain, with multiple sharp doglegs lined with trees. Travelling south west toward Brighton, Barcovan Golf Club has more striking treed woodland – 150 acres to be exact. But don’t get too caught up admiring your surroundings or you’ll easily join the long list of victims to their notoriously fast greens, which typically measure 9 or 10 on the stimpmeter. This is the course where LPGA pro Lorie Kane calls her home away from home, using it to recharge after tournament stops.
Speaking of tournament stops, Bay of Quinte Golf & Country Club in Quinte West has hosted more provincial championships than any other course in Ontario. Pro golfer and Belleville-native Jon Mills (have a Jon Mills pic) cites it as playing a key role in his development and having “a strong layout that challenges all levels of golfers, but can yield high scores”. This parkland course just the other side of the bay was partly designed by Robbie Robinson, who sits in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fameand apprenticed under the famed Stanley Thompson.
And speaking of pro golfers, one of the oldest courses in Ontario, the Napanee Golf & Country Club (established in 1897), has its course record held by one of the most famous pros of all time- none other than Sam Snead. A copy of his score card hangs in the members’ lounge and makes for great 19th-hole conversation (have a pic of the scorecard). That is, once after you’ve had a chance to gab about how the 1920s club house was built on an old horse track. Napanee’s towering pine, maple, oak and chestnut trees make it both a must-see and a must-play.
From oldest to newest, Quinte Hills Golf Course opened its greens in August 2013, offering 9 holes surrounded by natural water, conservation areas and countryside. With the development of additional 9-hole executive course set for 2015, it means you get even more golf in the Bay of Quinte Region. New golf trends are in the mix here too. For those interested in the 12-hole movement, West Highland Golf Course in Madoc is one of the only official 12-hole courses in the province, Camden Braes Golf & Country Club in Odessa offers a 12-hole rate, and Wellington on the Lake Golf Course in Prince Edward County has a layout that also facilitates playing 12 holes, with a division between the front 3 holes, which are more links-style and open to the wind, and the back 6 holes, tucked between the trees and more parkland in nature.
But it really is the rural Ontario golf experience that sets Bay of Quinte Region golf apart and Timber Ridge Golf Course in Brighton is one of shining examples. Recently ranked #8 in Ontario Golf’s People’s Choice Award for the top 50 courses in Ontario, Timber Ridge meanders through mature bush and open landscape, as you work toward its infamous large, undulating greens, where a tricky pin placement can easily mean the difference between par and triple bogey. You’ll find the same challenge and charm is true of Loyalist Golf & Country Club in Bath, a course that rookie Web.com Tour member, Canadian Albin Choi, says “Has it all. An outstanding golf course that’s always in mint condition.” Any golfers visiting the Bay of Quinte Region in 2014 will want to make a point of playing Loyalist in August to gauge their skills against the tougher course conditions that Loyalist G&CC grounds crew will be implementing in preparation for PGA Tour Canada’s The Great Waterway Classic, from August 18 to 24. While you’re there, pick up tickets to the event and watch some of the best players in North America right in our own backyard and check out everything else the Bay of Quinte Region has to offer outside of amazing golf.
Stay and Play Packages are available right now (www.bayofquinte.ca/golf) for golfers who want great golf to look forward to across the Region.