The golf season is upon us and we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the best golf courses in York Region.
The region’s golfers are blessed with some fantastic options as there are a whole host of quality private and public golf courses. In fact, just last year in 2016, eight different York Region golf courses were included in SCOREGolf’s list of the top 100 golf courses in Canada and there are plenty of other courses to enjoy in addition to those.
To help us get a better appreciation for what makes York Region’s golf courses special, we spoke with Adam Stanley, Director of Communications at the Golf Journalists’ Association of Canada.
Adam argues that York Region’s golf 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.”
With this in mind, we looked around to find the cream of the crop as well as some hidden gems and put together our list of the best golf courses in York Region.
Top Public Golf Courses in York Region
Eagle’s Nest, Maple
Renowned internationally for its accessibility, design, and immaculately maintained grounds, Eagle’s Nest Golf Club was rightfully deserving of its enviable #28 spot on Score Golf’s list. Providing beautiful views from its hilly location in Maple, Ontario, Eagle’s Nest has a links style course that has earned it many plaudits, while the dining options in the clubhouse are some of the best around.
“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.”
Angus Glen, Markham
The Angus Glen Golf Club and Conference Centre enjoys the unique distinction of having hosted 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 was redesigned ahead of the Pan-Am Games in 2015, and still remains one of the best public golf courses in York Region.
Some more background on Angus Glen’s courses and surrounding community can be found in our Angus Glen Neighbourhood Profile and feature interview with Kylemore Communities’ President Patrick O’Hanlon.
Copper Creek, Kleinburg
Regarded as one of the best public golf courses in Ontario, Copper Creek can also stake a claim to be the most beautiful. Set in forests outside of Kleinburg, the Doug Carrick-designed course offers some breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside – as well as some top quality golf.
In addition to its beautiful surroundings and challenging course, Copper Creek also offers a unique 4 ½ hour guarantee to golfers, with vouchers for future play offered if play time runs over that time limit.
St. Andrew’s Valley, Aurora
Tucked into the Aurora forest, St. Andre’s Valley is a true gem and was recognized as such when it was given a four-star rating by Golf Digest. Beautiful views, an excellent course layout and plenty of challenging holes combine to make an enjoyable course for all levels of golfer.
In the words of the course itself, “Some courses are a real challenge while others are fun to play. St. Andrew’s Valley is a magical combination of the two.” It’s a bold claim but they can back it up and that makes this par 72, 7304-yard course well worth a visit.
Top Private Golf Courses in York Region
Richmond Hill Golf and Country Club, Richmond Hill
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, Vaughan
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 the 54th best golf course 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.
The 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.
Beacon Hall, Aurora
Although its SCOREGolf ranking has slipped a little over the years (2006 – 5th; 2008 – 6th; 2010- 8th; 2012 – 8th; 2014 – 9th; 2016 – 11th), Beacon Hall is still rightly considered one of the best golf courses in Canada. The course is known for being one of the nicest in the Greater Toronto Area and it’s quality was recognized this year as it was chosen to be the first ever Canadian golf course to host a local qualifier for the US Open.
An exclusive private club, equity membership is limited to just 260 members, with new members having to purchase certificates form existing members. However, this exclusivity brings benefits as members have unrestricted use of the course.
The National Golf Club of Canada, Woodbridge
Listed in first place in ScoreGolf’s 2014 top 100 list and second in last year’s rankings, The National Golf Club of Canada is undoubtedly one of the finest golf courses in Canada. Designed by former professional golfer George Fazio and his nephew Tom Fazio, the course offers the most challenging golf you will find in York Region and is known as being one of the toughest golf courses in the world.
Describing itself as a “pure golf experience”, The National is also one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the GTA and the expensive membership is still only available to men. However, if you ever get a chance to play there, it’s an experience you will never forget.
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!
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.
* This article was originally published in 2013. It was updated in 2017 to reflect changes in golf courses in York Region