Golf season is fast approaching and people all around the country are getting back into the swing of things. Over here at Loughborough Inn, there are a number of great Ontario golf courses and each one of them has different things to offer. Golfing can not only be a good pretext to plan a vacation – there are entire golf resorts set up with activities for the whole family while the adults play – there are lots of opportunities to get the kids involved as well. As both a refresher for long-time advocates and an introduction to first-timers, we’ve prepared this list of a few things to consider if you’re thinking about hitting the links this season.
Here are some things to consider when choosing from Ontario golf courses:
Uniqueness of Course
We like to think that choosing a golf course is a lot like choosing a restaurant. Most people, when they go out to dine, like to see a decent variety on the menu.
Uniqueness can refer to the amount of strategy required in each hole, but it can also be as simple as the geography and features of the landscape; water, bunkers, tree lines; it’s all up to personal preference. The only way to get a taste for this is to try as many as you can and rank them accordingly. Reviews can help with this, but also consider that the season and even the time of the day can affect how a course exhibits itself.
While there are few courses in Kingston – each one catering to different levels of expertise – the one closest to Loughborough Inn would be Inverary Golf and Country Club; we are going to restrict the examples in this post to clubs that are open to the general public (there are many lovely members-only courses in the area, like the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club.) Inverary is one of those examples of golf courses in Ontario that is outside of the urban area and nestled deeply in beautiful scenery. Not only do places like this tend to be cheaper, they frequently offer natural features that set them apart from centralized ones.
Once more like a restaurant, sometimes you want a location that has easy access to attractions. This is one element that informs where many families take golf-related vacations, and that has fueled the desire for all-inclusive resorts that have something for everyone. If you are choosing one of the courses in Kingston, you obviously have easy access to all the restaurants, venues, and institutions that are associated with the area; the close proximity of the Loughborough Inn to both the natural world and the urban positions it uniquely to suit these needs. Depending on how you want to structure your day.
While Ontario golf courses don’t have much in the way of palm trees or shark ponds, we have some of the most vibrant and full tree lines in the world.
Most of the time you need to play a course to get an idea of what the condition will be. Additionally, there are some things – like bad weather – that can affect the quality of the grounds. Casual water pockets can crop up and sudden debris can clutter the course. Depending on your skill level and investment in the game, this factor will weigh differently. Some people like fine dining, some people like eating at diners; neither of those people are wrong and both have the same goals in mind.
When scanning for Ontario golf courses, you’ll find many review sites with different metrics for ranking a site (they may be out of 5, 10, or 100) but the best way to do it is look for user reviews. Forums are a good place to find unbiased discussion on the overall conditions of a course, and you can sue all of this to weight how important the positives or negatives are to you. Also remember to weigh this accordingly if you’re on a budget.
For a prime example of a good course condition we can look towards the Colonnade Golf & Country Club. Halfway between the Loughborough Inn and Gananoque, you can simply take a quick scan through their photos to see what care they take in making the place presentable.
Every course has a signature hole, and most often it is the biggest draw to the course. Like a signature dish it depends what you’re in the mood for. As an example, Westbrook Golf Club lists its signature hole as #13, a 348-yard, par 4, and describes it as having “numerous trees lining the narrow fairway, which lead to a small green.” The more you play, the more a signature hole will mean to you.
There are other considerations depending on your level of commitment – caddies, bag checks, the club house itself, etc. – but we wanted to keep this list as general as possible.
Once you start testing courses with this checklist in mind, you’ll find that you start constructing your own reviews in your head and being able to make judgment calls on the fly.
Then, the next time someone asks you if you know a “nice local place,” you’ll be able to fill them in.
Contact The Loughborough Inn today to find out more about what Ontario golf courses have to offer!