Springfield Golf and Country Club – A Short Course that is Tall on Quality
I have driven by the course countless times on my way to Guelph; it is unassuming from the road. With a chance to play there with someone from Guelph I was very excited to see what lurked past the parking lot and the clubhouse. Located at the very southern part of Guelph, Ontario (north of Aberfoyle) this course is less than 5500 yards from the blue tees. While not long, it is in superb condition and makes for a very enjoyable golf experience.
In an era of courses competing for relevance with back tees pushing 7000+ yards, Springfield is a throwback. Their website bills the course as a Florida-style course and it is an apt description. Gently rolling, tree lined and with water hazards sprinkled throughout, it is an enjoyable play for golfers of all skill levels. I was most struck with the quality conditions; the course was sensational. Tee boxes were immaculate, greens practically free from ball marks and bunkers very playable. The pro shop staff and marshals were courteous and professional.
The semi-private course begins with a tightly framed par 4 which runs gradually uphill and left. There are more open areas to the course after this stunning opening hole. None of the holes played overly long, but some of the par 3’s are stout in relation to the length of some par 4’s and 5’s. While the elevation changes are subtle, they are effectively utilized with well positioned tee areas which frame holes nicely. The signature 13th hole requires two solid shots to reach an island green. The course is not a pushover by any means, but the length does provide some strong scoring opportunity.
The chance to order food after 8 will keep you on pace and the tight 10th hole, as with the first, will grab your attention and get you focused. The greens roll very well with a consistent speed which can be deceptive on some holes; be sure to assess if you’re hitting uphill or downhill as putts will be affected by this.
The experience was outstanding and I will be sure to make a return visit.
Aura – 6 out of 10 – The course remains relatively new, opened in 1989, so it lacks the cache of older courses. Also, its location is far enough from the GTA to keep it as, what I would call, a hidden gem.
Value (cost / experience) – 7 out of 10. This is not going to get the highest marks for value, but if you consider the overall experience and the quality of the course it is a very fair price. Peak fees are under $50 before taxes and there are times when 18 holes at Springfield would be exceptional value. Check their website, they do offer specials.
Course Condition (fairways/greens, layout) – 8.5 out of 10 – The conditioning of this course is its strength. The tee boxes, greens and fairways are all consistently excellent. The layout provides good diversity of holes. Some holes allow players to bomb it freely and others will demand accuracy over length. It was one of the better conditioned courses I had played this year.
Overall Experience (how did the round make me feel; would I return) – 8 out of 10 – The entire experience at Springfield was a positive one. The course allows good players chances to score well and for others the length will provide a welcome chance to play in a reasonable amount of time. It was a most relaxing experience. I really enjoyed this course and look forward to a return trip.
Highlight (what is great about the course) – The convenience to Highway 401 is surprising but you feel that you are in the middle of nowhere as there is no development in an around the course. But location aside, the real strength of this course is its condition.
Recommendation (magic wand…what would I change) – I was surprised on a couple occasions where greens staff would not stop mowing while we were putting. This was not a significant issue for me but my playing partner was distracted. It’s a quick fix and an important one for repeat guest business.
Just So You Know – The Pro Shop is very well stocked with gear and apparel. There was some outstanding value on items. Small pro shops can provide great value from time to time so be sure to check them out. Springfield’s is no exception.
My Best Shot – A 12 foot birdie on the beautiful short par 3 4th hole had me in rare air at -3. My putter was on fire. And while I struck the ball well all day the putter cooled off considerably. Still, coming in at four over par for my round was both pleasant and surprising and only fueled my desire for a return trip.