I’ll always look back at this memory and smile.
I’ll always look back at this memory and smile.
Batteaux Creek – A beautiful golf course that complements its natural setting
It’s an annual tradition, travelling north for a fall round of golf at Batteaux Creek. Located just south of Collingwood, ON, in Nottawa, this course will provide an enjoyable and challenging golf experience for all players. Located close to the Niagara escarpment provides the scenic backdrop but you will need to focus as each hole provides unique challenges with water, woods and natural areas requiring solid ball striking in order to score well. The course is very walkable and with five tee boxes can provide a stern test for even the best player. An active membership makes advanced booking important, even in the shoulder season of the fall. I was fortunate to get an early morning tee time with two members and even with three previous rounds under my belt they were able to provide me some valuable insight – both off the tee and on approach shots.
The layout is a real strength for this course. While there are plenty of hazards to capture errant shots, landing areas are fair, just be mindful of where the trouble lay. The conditioning is impeccable; tee boxes are always well mown and flat, greens roll true and only few have serious and significant undulation. The fairways are sensational and bunkers are fair to play from. Course designer Stephen Young used diverse greenside features like tightly mown runoffs on hole 1, bunkering on hole 5 (I seem to find that greenside bunker every time) and mounding and rough as found on 18. Even the use of elevated green design such as on 10 and 11 create diversity which will have players needing to think through their shots throughout the round. The landing areas are not too tight but only on few holes can you take a true grip it and rip it approach. Favourite holes for me are 1, 4, and 13 (although there many strong golf holes to choose from). Practice facilities are very strong and the clubhouse is clean and comfortable.
This is not going to be the highest rated value course I’ve played but the quality makes it worth a public players’ consideration. The natural beauty and the condition make it worth the drive (honestly, the last 15 km approaching from Shelburne are sensational; it’s a great drive along the Niagara Escarpment).
Aura – 7 out of 10 – Should be higher. The website does not do the course justice (although I will applaud Batteaux Creek for their investment in the helicopter overview video). It won’t make best value play lists and lacks the cache of resort Muskoka courses. Don’t be fooled though, it’s a quality golf course.
Value (cost / experience) – 6 out of 10 – A peak green fee of $86.50 is appropriate, but for me as a public player who resides two hours away this will remain an annual visit and not more regular. With the quality of this course, the price is fair. But it is not the strong value play of other courses like Black Bear Ridge or Tarandowah. Membership is where the real value rests.
Course Condition (fairways/greens, layout) – 8.5 out of 10 – This is the strength of Batteaux Creek. This course utilizes its natural setting very effectively, is extremely well maintained and the result is a fantastic golf experience. Full marks to designer Stephen Young who has created 18 very strong golf holes in a stern but fair test of golf. The Superintendent and staff are to be credited for having a course in late September which played like it was peak season.
Overall Experience (how did the round make me feel; would I return) – 8.5 out of 10 – Fourth time playing and I look forward to next fall. If I lived close I’d get a membership in a heartbeat. At $2650 + tax, that is good value!
Highlight (what is great about the course) – The fact that I make a day of this golf experience is the real highlight for me. My drive, seeing the sun rise and shine on the changing leaves along the escarpment gets me into a relaxed frame of mind. Once there, using their practice facilities prepares for the round. Meeting new members (it’s tough to play as a single here) is a great experience; the people are so friendly and helpful. And given the fair test of golf that it is, a good score represents really good play!
Recommendation (magic wand…what would I change) – I have no critical suggestions about the course, I quite like it. It makes the most of its environment. I do feel the website is a little ‘clunky’ and not as visually stunning as its course. There is considerable information which is not as clear as it could be presented. So, all that to say is I’m nitpicking. It’s a very strong course.
Just So You Know – I’ll allow myself two: the first was my approach on a short par 4, hole 2. My approach of 104 yards bounced once and hit the stick leaving me a 10 foot birdie putt. After an errant approach on hole 10, I had a 30 yard chip which hit, rolled and dropped for an unsuspected birdie (and made up for my missed putt on 2!)
OK, so I’ve been a little quiet of late. But I have to admit that the fall is my favourite time of year for golf. Temperatures are a little more comfortable for someone like myself who prefers walking. The colours in Ontario in October are spectacular and on a dry day, the course conditions are often some of the best they will have been all season long. Let’s not even talk about value because this is hands down the ideal time for a value conscientious golfer (this is where GolfNow provides its real value).
As days get shorter and the window of the golf season across Canada (with the exception of some areas of British Columbia) is coming to a close I have a heightened appreciation for the limited opportunities to play. The fall tends to attract the more avid of golfer as well; fair weather players have long but their clubs away in the garage for the season. As someone who plays more than my fair share of rounds as a single, the solitude of a course on a crisp fall day is one of the highlights of the golf season.
Another reason to embrace fall golf is it is likely you’re playing your best golf of the season. The rust of the spring is long gone and the hard work in the summer to refine and re-find your game has come to a peak. My handicap has dropped a full stroke in the past 4 weeks with some outstanding play. And while my putting remains as mysterious as ever there is confidence and consistency with ball striking which means I am less likely to lose balls in the fall leaves.
OK, fall golf has its draw backs. It’s not perfect. But taking a page from the Morning Drive relaxed rules of golf, proposed earlier this year; I drop a ball where I felt I should have found it and play on…no penalty. Leaves are bothersome and not all courses take care to blow leaves away regularly. But me, I liken myself to a squirrel who is preparing for winter. I’ll get out and play as often as I can during this season. I know there will be an extended stretch where I’m hitting into a net or a dome and putting on my basement carpet and not into the sweet sound of a cup (and I do encourage you to listen to this great cup sound which Cabot Links have, with a metal plate on the bottom to make that drained putt sound even better!).
Put on a sweater, book a tee time and enjoy the fall golf options which are out there across the country. This time of year passes far too quickly and before long courses will close for another winter. And here’s hoping it’s a kinder winter than last year, but for now layer up and get out there! Maybe I’ll see you Friday…and Sunday!