I have played this course several times, most recently mid-May 2013. It is located in Brighton, Ontario, slightly less than two hours east of Toronto. The course opened in 1999 but has a maturity that would make it pass as much older. For early season players this course had withstood the winter very well. Four distinct tee boxes allow for playability at all levels. This course is well conditioned and a fair test and for the price is one of the best values in Ontario. Added to this the fact this has been ranked in Ontario’s Top 100 and two hours won’t seem so far!
Fairways are even and consistent and easy to play off and the rough is fair and not too penal. There is a mix of woods and fescue and some water to guard holes and each hole (with few exceptions) seemingly plays independent of others so there is no sense of being crowded by others. Bunkers were in good shape, not pristine but playable and consistent. They do offer a driving range to warm up which for anyone driving will help loosen up for the round.
With each hole unique unto itself, the designer has allowed for fair landing areas throughout the course. I would not contest that driving poses the greatest challenge at Timber Ridge. It is the large, quick and undulating greens which are a challenge. Subtle breaks also exist and it is a course you will want to play again, and likely score better the second time knowing where to miss approach shots and how to read the greens. Some advice is to arrive early and practice putting on their practice green. You will get a good sense of speed and slope and its effects on long and short putts! With the course playing 6600 yards from the Gold tees, the slope rating of 137 is justified. The 7th hole is a long par 4, and the toughest on the course. Set in Northumberland County, the gentle rolling hills are felt for anyone walking the course but it is quite an enjoyable, relaxing walk.
The food is fresh made, tastes great and is good value. It is easy to order from the 8th tee so that your food will be ready for pick up after the 9th green. Staff are helpful, friendly and very proud of their course. I appreciate the layout and the sense that the course is straightforward and not at all ‘tricky’ or ‘gimmicky’. I have always left Timber Ridge feeling satisfied with my experience. I have heard from others in the past of the course being overbooked and of slow rounds, but this is nothing I have ever experienced. It is worthy of its accolades in terms of value and for quality. Not everyone is comfortable driving so far to play golf, but this is a real gem and one of my top three value courses in Ontario.
Aura –6 out of 10 – This is a combined score…a 4 at the offset, the course is so understated but when I left I would place it much higher, a solid 7 or higher. There is a quiet confidence to the course in its layout and condition.
Value (cost / experience) – 9 out of 10. Greens fees are what one might expect being almost two hours outside Toronto, quite reasonable. Where the real value kicks in is through signing up for their e-newsletter. Regular sales on greens fees are sent to your email inbox and the value is significant! I was able to play Saturday morning of the long weekend for $45. If I could have waited until 2pm, this rate would have been reduced to $30. But make sure you save some money for the numerous values they offer in their pro shop!
Course Condition (fairways/greens, layout) – 7 out of 10 – Greens are firm and fast (a little larger than I’d like), driving areas are fair and their course books provide good information. Yardage stakes exist, but having a GPS or laser will help given the size of the greens. Staff work hard to maintain a good consistent quality of the course.
Overall Experience (how did the round make me feel; would I return) – 7.5 out of 10 – I love this style of course. I feel it has an expansiveness to it which is relaxing. It is a layout and track that will test your game. Timber Ridge staff and friendly and very helpful.
Highlight (what is great about the course) – The second hole is my favourite; a beautiful, straightforward test of golf and will set the tone for a wonderful round. The tee shot on the elevated 10th, especially if you’re able to fly it over the creek, will test your mettle. Any one putt is a highlight!
Recommendation (magic wand…what would I change) – Signage off the 401 is inconsistent and older; it adds a unique take on their marketing tagline as a ‘Hidden Gem’. Once you’re off the 401 it takes about 15 min to get to the course. Bring bug spray if you’re early in season…or day.
Just So You Know – Taking time to enjoy the patio after your round is well worth it! You can see groups coming up to the elevated 18th, and it will help you learn how to play the approach and the challenging putt for birdie next time you play!
My Best Shot – Par 4 13th, I’ll admit it, I was lucky on my approach shot…it should have bounced on the green and rocketed off, but it spun more than a thin shot should and barely held on. My 45 birdie putt mercifully found the cup, avoiding a certain 8’ (ok, maybe 12’) comebacker for par!