The sun is shining and throughout Huntsville and Lake of Bays the trees are resplendent in fresh green leaves. Summer is here, and that can only mean one thing – golf season is here! Our region boasts multiple championship courses with scenic vistas and Muskoka landscapes you can’t find anywhere else. Book your tee time today and be challenged by dramatic elevation changes, natural water features and majestic, tree-lined fairways.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most of the region’s courses are just beginning to reopen to the public. While it is relatively easy to adhere to physical distancing protocols while golfing, courses are adapting to the situation by making some significant changes to the game and to their facilities. Despite these changes, golf course owners and management are doing everything possible to ensure that you can get back outside, get some exercise and safely enjoy one of our community’s favourite sports.
*Please note that as Provincial regulations change, golf course hours and services may differ. We recommend calling the course to confirm details.
Bigwin Island Golf Club
Bigwin Island Golf Club is all about luxury and enjoying a one-of-a-kind experience. It starts with the boat ride to the island. As you cross beautiful Lake of Bays you catch sight of the historic octagonal Marine Dining Room. You will be greeted as you step off the boat and your clubs will be whisked to the nearest golf cart. The par 72 championship course features fairways that are draped across the island’s rugged Muskoka landscape. Ranging from 7,166 yards from the championship tees to 5,346 from the reds, the course is accessible to multiple skill levels. With dramatic elevation changes throughout, players are treated to views of Lake of Bays from multiple vantage points. While the course is open to members only July and August, the public is invited to book tee times in June, September and October. Playing the course in the fall, surrounded by the vibrant colours of the leaves, is an experience in itself. Bigwin also boasts several dining options and is available for rental for weddings and events. To book a tee time it is best to call the course at 705-635-2582 or 1-800-840-4036.
Bigwin Island Golf Club has implemented a number of COVID-19 protocols. Indoor dining is currently not available and many other facilities such as the Clubhouse are closed as well. Every effort has been made to create a touchless play experience with special cups and the removal of rakes and ball washers. While players can still pickup takeout food from the Halfway House between the front and back nine, players must use their own phone to call in orders. The club asks that players arrive at the boat launch no more than 45 minutes prior to their tee time and a maximum of 6 players will be allowed on the ferry at one time. You can read the full list of Bigwin’s COVID-19 protocols online.
Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the iconic Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course. Co-designed in 1990 by renowned golf architects Robert Cupp and Thomas McBroom, Deerhurst Highlands set the standard for many of Muskoka’s championship courses to follow. The par 72 championship course winds its way over and through acres of forest and exposed Canadian Shield granite. The first tee opens to an expansive view of Fairy Lake, while the 10th hole is bordered by a massive sheer granite face that runs the length of the fairway. Every natural feature of the Muskoka terrain has been used to create a gorgeous but challenging course, including the white sand bunkers that ring the multi-level greens. The 7,011 yard course has 6 different tee deck levels to accommodate golfers of varying skill. The course offers a full-service pro shop and golfer’s lounge with the popular Antler Steakhouse available next door. Tee times can be booked online or by calling 705-789-7113.
As a result of COVID-19, both of Deerhurst Resort’s golf courses have implemented a number of new protocols. Driving ranges and putting greens will be available with limited numbers while there will be a maximum of 4 people in the Pro Shop at a time. The course has been optimized for touchless play, including raised holes and the removal of bunker rakes and ball washers. Only 1 person per golf cart will be allowed unless golfers reside together. Food and beverage service will still be available, with pre-made sandwiches and snacks offered at the Pro Shop, but indoor dining and seating are closed. Golfers should note that tee time intervals have been expanded and there is no bag drop service.
Deerhurst Lakeside Golf Course
The Deerhurst Lakeside Golf Course is the resort’s historic course, originally designed in 1966 with a Thomas McBroom redesign in 1988. True to its name, the course follows Deerhurst’s bay on beautiful Peninsula Lake before winding through a mix of elevation changes, deep bunkers and strategic water hazards. Walking the course is recommended, providing brisk exercise while allowing for immersion in the classic Muskoka landscape. The Lakeside course also provides access to a full-service Pro Shop and is conveniently located close to multiple dining options as well as the resort’s spa. You can book a tee time online or by calling 1-800-461-4393.
This season only the front nine holes will be available for play. Pandemic protocols outlined for the Highlands Course above will also apply to Lakeside.
Grandview Golf Club – Mark O’Meara
The Mark O’Meara Course at Grandview was co-designed by the course’s namesake, 1988 Masters and British Open champion Mark O’Meara. The course opened in 2001 and provides a sense of grandeur from the moment you arrive. A member of the ClubLink family of golf courses, Mark O’Meara features one of the group’s most impressive clubhouses, perfect for weddings and banquets when gathering restrictions are lifted. From the very first tee you can tell that this course was designed to integrate the unique landscape. Granite outcroppings reach skyward through lush fairways while white sand bunkers lie in wait. The course mates spectacular views, terrain that ranges from deciduous forest to wetlands and the opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife. As a ClubLink course, golfers must purchase a membership to play. Members can book tee times by calling 705-788-9978.
The Mark O’Meara Course at Grandview is now open with many COVID-19 procedures in place. Game play is designed to be touchless, with modified holes and the removal of bunker rakes and ball washers. Only one person will be allowed per power cart unless they reside together. Pro Shop services will be limited, with protective barriers and distancing measures in place. Golf access to the course is limited to 20 minutes prior to tee time and golfers should leave the property immediately following their round.
Huntsville Downs Golf Course
Huntsville Downs Golf Course is an 18 hole course located minutes from downtown Huntsville. The par 72, 6,566 yard course has 3 sets of tees, providing a fun, challenging experience for multiple skill levels. Features of the course include tree-lined fairways, challenging bunkers and undulating greens. There are multiple water features throughout the course, many of which are frequented by birds and other wildlife. The course offers a driving range, putting green and on-site dining room (when emergency orders permit). You can book your tee time online or by calling 705-789-1000.
Huntsville Downs is open now for golfing with COVID-19 safety measures in place. Players must book a tee time in advance with payment by credit or debit only. Only one rider is permitted per cart unless they come from the same household, and carts are not permitted in the parking lot. Touchless play is in effect with raised cups and the removal of rakes and ball washers. There will be no rental clubs, no indoor dining or seating and locker rooms are closed. Portable washrooms have been removed but Clubhouse washrooms are available with a limit of 2 persons at a time.
North Granite Ridge
The 18 hole championship course at North Granite Ridge is set in 320 acres of quintessential Muskoka landscape. Located in Port Sydney, the course provides privacy and tranquility as it winds through mature forests teeming with wildlife. Challenging enough for professionals yet friendly to all levels of golfers, the course traverses its namesake granite ridge, interspersed with deep bunkers and several water hazards. Long, open fairways are mixed with curving doglegs and off-camber greens. North Granite Ridge has a Tap & Grill serving starters, lunch and salads mixed with sandwiches and burgers (take-out only at this time). You can book a tee time through their website or by calling 705-385-0808.
North Granite Ridge is now open with COVID-19 protocols in place. A course ranger and 3 other staff members will monitor player behaviour while on course. Physical distancing is mandatory and only one player per cart is allowed. There are a maximum of 5 persons, staff included, in the clubhouse at one time and there is no indoor dining or seating. Portable washrooms have been removed, as have ball washers, bunker rakes and water stations. Tee times must be made in advance and will be a minimum of 9 minutes apart. Private and group lessons as well as league play and tournaments have been cancelled.
The natural beauty of Huntsville and Lake of Bays provides the perfect backdrop for a challenging and rewarding game of golf. The rugged Muskoka landscape provides unique natural features and gives each course a distinct flair. With a mix of expansive lake views, tree-lined fairways and natural granite outcroppings, a round of golf in the region will provide unforgettable scenery to complement a perfect outing on the links.