Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Architect: Doug Carrick (1991)
3,032 Yards, Par-35
My Quick Review: Unique, Quirky and Fun!
As mentioned in my review of Calerin Golf Club, I've been seeking out new golf courses to play within a couple hours of Toronto. While I called Calerin the best 9-holer in Ontario, Pickering Golf Club may have the most unique holes. It is amazing that these simple and quirky golf courses can go so under-the-radar.
Pickering Golf Club began as Seaton Golf Club in the 1950s. I visited Seaton some fifteen years ago -- I was told the back nine was exceptional -- but after taking an hour to play 3 holes because of unbelievably slow play, I left. In 2010, most of Seaton's front-nine and some of its back-nine gave way to housing and the Pickering Golf Club opened as a 9-hole course in 2013.
The first tee shot sets the stage well for the course -- unique and quirky -- a difficult and intimidating tee shot over a ravine and a set of power lines running overhead. The par-5s at the 1st and 7th are both excellent birdie opportunities.
While some 9-hole courses offer little in the way of variety in length, Pickering provides a wide-range including the remarkably difficult 442 yard par-4 second. A mostly blind and very narrow tee shot will leave a mostly blind approach to a drop-down green that melds perfectly with the land.
Back-to back par-3s at the third and fourth play back and forth across a ravine and both require an aerial approach.
The fifth through the seventh are more traditional, back-and-forth golf holes, though are still quality golf holes. The unique golf returns at the 8th, a terrifying 232 yard par-3 requiring an aerial approach over a trio of deep fronting bunkers. This is not the type of hole one expects to see on a 3,000 yard golf course!
Easily the best hole on the course, the ninth is a 385 yard par-4 played uphill to rolling-land. A cautious tee shot can play short of bunkering leaving a semi-blind approach from an awkward angle. A bold tee shot that plays up the hill and challenges the bunkers gives a preferred angle and shorter yardage -- which is a huge advantage on this green that falls sharply away from the line of play. A great hole!