By Bryan Dearsley
Wherever you happen to be in cottage country, you’re never far from some of the best golf courses to be found anywhere in Canada.
From gentle park-like 9-hole courses to extremely challenging 18-hole courses seemingly carved out of the rugged Canadian Shield, Muskoka’s got something for pros and amateurs alike.
Visit any of the 30 or more golf courses in Muskoka and you’ll find it hard to believe they weren’t always here, blending in as they do with the regions endless trees, rocks and water. And that’s very much the intent as the region’s unique landscape has enabled the world’s top course designers to express their wild side, embracing, rather than shying away from the granite that’s everywhere here.
As for Muskoka’s top courses, here’s LuxuryMuskoka’s take on the top that keep golfers coming back for more:
- Bigwin Island Golf Club – Dating back to the 1920s and redesigned by Doug Carrick in the 1980s, this par 72, island course on Lake of Bays remains the spot for the rich and famous to golf.
- The Rock – Located on lovely Lake Rosseau, the region’s richest lake, this 6,649-yard 18-hole course is famous for its fantastic rocky outcrops and rolling hills. Capable of inspiring golfers of all levels, it’s a course that places an emphasis on strategy as opposed to skill.
- Muskoka Bay Club – As wonderful as the golf on this spectacular Doug Carrick designed course in Gravenhurst with its trails through wetlands and mature forests is the magnificent cliff-top Clubhouse, a perfect place to enjoy a meal whether you golf or not.
- Rocky Crest Golf Club – As popular a place to stay and relax as it is for its golf, this Thomas McBroom designed course is literally carved out of that tough Canadian Shield so predominant in Muskoka.
- Deerhurst Highlands – The first championship course to be built in Muskoka and a definite ‘must play’, this challenging 7,011-yard course in Huntsville consistently ranks on SCOREGolf’s list of the top 100 courses in Canada.
- Taboo – A favourite of Canadian golf legend Mike Weir, Taboo in Gravenhurst is a joy from start to finsih, with some holes looking like elevated works of art with their backdrop dense pine and that ever present granite.
- Grandview – This Mark O’Meara designed 18-hole course near Huntsville seems literally carved out of the granite, wetlands and forests that surround it.
- Port Carling Golf and Country Club – This private course plays like a dream and includes stunning views, a 32ft tall waterfall and a beautiful clubhouse, all of it set on 275 acres of prime Muskoka real estate. Sublime.
- Windermere Golf and Country Club – Muskoka’s first course – built in 1919 when the cost of a round was just $1 – remains a delight to play. Afterwards, visit one of the region’s most popular patios at Windermere House for a spot of celebrity watching.
- Muskoka Highlands Golf Club – Popular for its Scottish-feel (particularly its first nine), this fun 18-hole course in Bracebridge boasts Muskoka’s highest terrain while.