Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bracebridge Golf Club Course Review

Bracebridge Golf Club 
Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

Architect: Unknown (1959)

2,870 Yards, Par-35

Rating/Slope: 67.5/119

My Quick Review: The 8th hole alone is worth the price of admission.

I had driven by the 9-hole Bracebridge Golf Club dozens of times before I decided to stop in near sunset earlier this week.  For an after-5PM green fee of $14.37 (tax in!) I had the golf course to myself and was told I could play as much as I'd like.

For those that are concerned about conditioning, well, you won't enjoy Bracebridge GC.  Conditioning is close to non-existent with little (OK, no) delineation between fairway and rough; tee boxes are cut like rough on many golf courses; and, greens stamp at 4 on the parts that have grass.

Those that can look past conditions are treated to a wonderfully, quirky layout.  Not a golf course I would like to play everyday, but one I am very glad I took the time to play.

Holes to Note
Hole 2: Par 4, 325 Yards -- A cracker of a hole  Continuing away from the clubhouse the OB runs along the right side of the hole on the 2nd.  There is plenty of room to play left, but the ideal line into the green is straightaway.  

Though it can partially be seen from the tee, this wonderful natural movement in the fairway only comes into clear view 100 yards from the tee.

Golfers unable to make the carry to the upper portion of the fairway are left with this completely blind approach from 150 out.

If you make the carry to the top-level a speed-slot will kick the tee shot toward the green.

Missing long is not good as shots will run down this area of fairway cut.  Fortunately, the green does not slope much from back-to-front.  Actually, the green does not slope at all.

Hole 5: Par 5, 460 Yards -- A wonderful hole on any golf course.  The tee shot offers plenty of room to the left, but an intimidating drop-off and stream loom to the right.


Prairie Dunes, Ballyneal, eat-your-heart-out, Bracebridge GC has some unbelievably rolling fairways


The longer the tee shot, the narrower the driving zone.  Longer hitters will risk reaching this large drop to the right of the fairway.  Some strategy here too, as the ideal line into the green is from the right-edge of the fairway.
The approach from the valley is completely blind..
While approaching from the upper level gives a clearer view of the terrain that must be crossed...
If you thought the greens at Crystal Downs have some tilt, wait 'til you see the 5th at Bracebridge.  Severely sloped from left-to-right shots missing left have little chance of remaining on the green.  I am glad to see the matching of maintenance meld to architecture as green speeds over 6 would render this green unplayable.



Hole 6: Par 4, 317 Yards -- A seriously quirky hole.  The view from the tee gives an indication of the drop-off to the right, but the majority of the driving zone is blind from the tee.

From the forward tee the landing zone is more easily seen...
The golfer that chooses to lay-up to the 150 yard marker and the wide portion of the fairway has this narrow chute through which to play his approach.
Approaching from the right-side of the fairway is completely blind.
A look at the driving zone.  Tilted and with wonderful movement in the land.

A look back at the driving zone and the area of thick rough that was completely blind from the tee.
As is the case with many of the greens at Bracebridge, missing long is not an option.

Hole 8: Par 4, 285 Yards -- Taking a page out of Perry Maxwell's book the 8th tee shot is completely blind, played over a rise.  I had an inclination that the hole may move left, but there is little in the way of visual cues from the tee.

Upon cresting the hill, the golfer is treated to some more excellent and varied terrain.  The approach from 150 is still completely blind.
As the golfer crests the second hill he is treated to one of the most interesting green sites I have seen; and I mean anywhere.  The green is set at the bottom of a valley in the centre of a large and deep punch-bowl.  Seth Raynor would be jealous.




A look back at the excellent 8th.

Golfers attempting to drive the green and missing to the right are met with a nasty recovery.

The 8th as seen from the 9th fairway.



  1. I get it. You saw the bell on the pole, and realized there might be something special there.

    Heck the movement you show in the ground makes the place a must see.

    Come see CB again.

    Big Lefty