Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Architect: Stanley Thompson (1931), Restoration by Ian Andrew (2006)
Yardage: 6,458, Par 71
My Quick Review: Certainly one of Canada's 50 best -- too bad course rating panelists won't get in the car!
Kawartha was a course that came highly recommended to me by people that had seen many great courses. It required convincing to make the two-hour drive to Peterborough, but now I am certainly a believer. Kawartha easily belongs among the 50 best courses in Canada, and could be higher, yet it's nowhere to be found in the magazine rankings.
The Routing is exceptional. Thompson moves you around this wonderfully rolling piece of land with ease. Elevation changes are substantial but gradual and walking Kawartha is a joy. Perhaps there are a couple of kinks, such as the walks to 8 tee and 14 tee, but fortunately these are scenic walks through the woods, which do not detract from the experience. Somehow, even crossing the entrance road to play the 17th and 18th holes, has an intimate experience.
If in the Toronto Area, Kawartha is absolutely a must-play. And the best part? It's semi-private and reasonably priced. Don't bother having your pro try to call to get you on one of the courses in the GTA, just get in your car and drive -- you will not be disappointed.
Hole 2: Par 4, 355 Yards
The second is all about the green. The hole moves to the left, begging the golfer to challenge the left side, but a tee shot to short on that line will be blocked out by trees. The smart golfer will play down the right side, using the natural fairway contours to bring his ball into the centre of the fairway and closer to the green.
|Approach to the 2nd
|2nd Green from Right
|2nd Green from Behind
Hole 4: Par 5, 456 Yards
This is really a par 4.5, but it's a very good hole -- a down then up par 5 that moves to the left and climaxes with a great green.
The tee shot is played downhill to a wide fairway that is pinched by a grouping of fairway bunkers about 250 yards off the tee. Players can try to skirt the left side of the fairway for a shorter approach into the green, but shots that flirt with the fairway bunkers have the preferred angle.
|The Gently Contoured 4th Fairway
|The Approach from 250 Yards
|The Approach from 210 Yards
|4 From Behind
Hole 6: Par 3, 223 Yards
This is a phenomenal par-3 that breaks the mould of traditional architecture. Not only is this par-3 over 220 yards, but it plays uphill, to a diagonal green, with the deepest greenside bunkering on the golf course. Though there is some room to run the ball onto the green, the steep grade of the slope short of the green, means that most shots landing short will not bounce forward -- instead, these shots will veer left, toward the deep greenside bunkers.
|The ground short of the 6th green slopes hard from right to left
|Shots that miss left find the deepest bunker on the golf course
Hole 8: Par 3, 151 Yards
It is a bit of a trek to get from the 7th green to the 8th tee, but at least the 8th is a stunner! Oh, and on the walk you get a glimpse at the left greenside bunker, which is among the most unique I have ever seen.
|The unique greenside bunker on 8
Hole 11: Par 5, 494 Yards
The downhill par-5 11th begins inconspicuously -- a tee shot to a fairly wide fairway guarded only by trees on the left, giving the player the feeling that the left is probably the ideal line (and it is).
|A stream protects the 11th green...
|As does a deep fronting bunker
Hole 13: Par 4, 391 Yards
On a course full of strong holes, this one may be the best. A short walk from the 12th green to the 13th tee passes by the back of the 18th green, and one cannot help but think, "wow, when do I get to play that!?" Fortunately, in seeing the 13th, most player's minds should return to the task at hand.
|Approach to 13 from right side of fairway
|A deep valley right of the green...don't miss here
|Very deep fronting bunkers... don't miss here either!
Hole 18: Par 3, 198 Yards
A stunning and difficult finishing hole, the 18th plays nearly 200 yards to an extremely well-bunkered, two-tiered green. Shots can miss short, but not anywhere else.
|Right Greenside Bunkers
|Left Greenside Bunkers
|18 from Behind - Note the Two-Tiered Green