“If you build it, they will come.”
Those famous words from Kevin Costner’s classic Field of Dreams weren’t referring to legendary country clubs and home buyers – but in a community of golf fanatics like ours here in York Region, the phrase certainly applies.
As real estate professionals serving Markham, Richmond Hill, Stouffville and other York Region communities, we’re always proud to highlight prized local courses – each one is a truly unique amenity and many do their part in attracting home buyers to the area’s exceptional low-rise neighbourhoods.
To help us get a better appreciation for what makes York Region’s courses special, we spoke with Adam Stanley, Director of Communications at the Golf Journalists’ Association of Canada and the author of Golf Canada’s recent Golf Real Estate Guide.
Adam argues that York Region’s courses – many of which were conceived by nationally-renowned designers such as Doug Carrick – offer course developers a perfect blend of prime location and natural space.
“Within a 45-minute radius of downtown Toronto, I’d argue that we have some of the best golf courses in the country,” Adam says. “It’s all about location – location, community and green space are all important for developers.”
This summer, eight different York Region courses were honoured with inclusion in Score Golf’s 2013 “Top 59 Canadian Public Courses” list – and that list doesn’t even include the region’s broad offering of luxurious private clubs.
With plenty of time still left to enjoy 2013’s golf season, August and September will be a great time to check out some of York Region’s top “hidden gems” we’ve handpicked – featuring a little insight from Adam.
Top Public Golf Courses in York Region
Renowned internationally for its accessibility, design, and immaculately maintained grounds, Eagle’s Nest Golf Club was rightfully deserving of its enviable #10 spot on Score Golf’s list. Providing beautiful views from its hilly location in Maple, Ontario, Eagle’s Nest also provides loyal golfers with innovative perks like the “Nine and Dine” dinner-and-golf package and the Eagle’s Nest Advantage Card.
“Eagle’s nest is a fantastic Doug Carrick Design,” Adam explains. “Carrick, one of Canada’s finest architects, created a true masterpiece… It’s always been highly regarded as one of the best courses in the country.”
The Angus Glen Golf Club and Conference Centre enjoys the unique distinction of hosting the Canadian Open – one of the PGA Tour’s most popular and star-studded championships – on both of its two golf courses. Developed on the grounds of a former cattle farm, the courses’ challenging designs are matched only by the club’s world-class clubhouse facilities.
“Angus Glen will be the host golf course of the Pan-Am Games in 2015, and will be going through a redesign this fall,” Adam says of the course. “Many, including me, are looking forward to seeing the new work.”
“One of my favourite courses in York Region is the Eagle’s Nest Golf Club. The City of Toronto skyline is breathtaking from the higher terrains of the course, and the course really challenges every aspect of your game. The condition is always superb.”
– William Lau, President, Living Group of Companies
Some more background on Angus Glen’s courses and surrounding community can be found in our recent Angus Glen Neighbourhood Profile and feature interview with Kylemore Communities’ President Patrick O’Hanlon.
Located just a short drive north of Markham in nearby Uxbridge, Wooden Sticks Golf Course offers golf enthusiasts a mix of original hole designs as well as “replica” holes – designed to mimic the hallowed fairways of PGA Tour destinations like St. Andrew’s in Scotland and Pine Valley in the United States. The club also houses training facilities, a public dining room and more.
“Eagle’s Nest deserves its place in the top 10, but a personal favourite of mine is Wooden Sticks,” says Adam, noting that the course offers golfers a “really fun layout” that stands out from the rest.
Top Private Courses
Richmond Hill Golf and Country Club
Boasting a fantastic Bathurst Street location just north of Highway 407, Richmond Hill Golf and Country Club is the ultimate course for those wanting to enjoy a great round of golf without sacrificing convenience. Open to both private members and the public, the course’s 18-hole layout offers golfers “a challenging mix of water hazards, sand traps and undulating terrain.”
Outside of golf, this special area amenity offers many family-friendly extras such as a spa club, fitness centre, racquetball/squash facilities, and even a martial arts centre.
Maple Downs Golf and Country Club
Maple Downs Golf and Country Club enjoys a beautiful location in one of York Region’s most cherished natural areas: the Oak Ridges Moraine. The club’s challenging and scenic 18-hole course, designed by Doug Carrick and Graham Cooke, has been recognized by Score Golf as one of the 100 best courses in Canada. This exceptional course has undergone extensive improvements and changes in recent years, in order to keep up with the changing demands of discerning golfers.
This private course’s members can also enjoy tennis facilities, a swimming pool, or drinks and a meal at one of the club’s casual and elegant food and beverage service areas.
The Best of the “Greatest Game Ever Played” – Right at Your Doorstep
As an older generation of Canadian homeowners gets ready to downsize to a smaller home in the coming years, golf and country clubs will likely be one of the key amenities guiding them in their search.
With that in mind, many golf course developers are building their clubs as central components of broader master-planned communities.
“A golf course is a beautiful green space, and those who aren’t necessarily golfers still appreciate the manicured land in their neighbourhood,” Adam says, noting that homes can be found within a very short distance of almost any Ontario course:
“For the last few years, the only way golf courses were being built in Canada was if they were a part of a real estate development. Developers just don’t have the confidence in building a golf course and hoping to get a good return on their investment, unless it’s part of a larger property – either a resort or a new neighbourhood.”
Regardless of what the future holds, the GTA’s golf courses continue to be among the region’s most valued offerings – and even act as a focal point of the community in areas like Angus Glen.
What’s your favourite place to tee off in the GTA? Let us know in the comments – we’re always on the lookout for great local courses!