Photo above: Blue Springs No. 5, Par 3, 181 yards (Credit: Kevan Ashworth)
Sometimes it’s difficult to know why a particular course doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Blue Springs Golf Club in Acton is certainly below the radar when compared to Greystone, Glencairn and Rattlesnake Point, its more illustrious ClubLink neighbours down the road in Milton or even Glen Abbey in Oakville.
That’s OK according to Blue Springs members who relish playing their hidden gem without all the attention and traffic that would come with being better known.
Director of Operations Dave Belletrutti echoes that sentiment and adds that the course can really test every aspect of a player’s game.
Joined by several members of the Fairways Bunker Squad, I visited Blue Springs in late June to find out firsthand why the members liked it so much.
As Dave Belletrutti said, it really is a lovely piece of property and ideally suited for a golf course. Situated hard on the side of the Niagara Escarpment, Blue Springs rises and falls with almost every shot. The scenery is dazzling and the routing is inspired – lots of natural fairway contours and green sites.
The most memorable will be the par-3 17th hole which tees off from an elevated perch. It looks like you could throw the ball down to the green below but it’s still a mid to short iron away and protected by hazards both front and left. The green cants hard from front to back and when the speed is up, as it was the day we played, you absolutely have to keep your ball below the hole.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. The front nine opens with a gentle downhill par 4, followed by a picturesque one-shotter from an elevated tee, then a short tight dogleg that will really test your accuracy. It’s a great introduction to the golf course and immediately exposes one of the constants at Blue Springs: slick greens with humps, contours and plenty of roll.
All of the greens are quite interesting and fun to try and read. In our case, they really produced some embarrassing results, none more so that the par 5 12th hole which gave the four of us a combined 13 putts (if you include one ball that was putted off the green twice).
Blue Springs demands some length too. It will never be described as a bomber’s course – it maxes out at just over 6.800 yards and has too may tree lined fairways that twist and turn – but there are definitely holes where you need a long drive to set up a shorter approach, especially to some of the elevated greens.
The last three holes on the front are maybe the strongest stretch on the course – two good par fours that are rated as the toughest holes on the outward nine, followed by a double dogleg par five. No 8 is really cool. It requires a long drive over water to a fairway that bends away at a 45 degree angle, then a long approach to a raised green. And if the 9th isn’t tough enough, perhaps the thought of pros watching from the PGA of Canada head office adjacent to the hole will kick it up a notch.
I think the 10th hole is one of the toughest on the course. The downhill tee shot has to hug the right half of the fairway to avoid kicking into the woods. Then it’s a short iron approach to an elevated green protected in front by a pond and to the left by a mini-mountain. The green is just plain nasty. Par here is always an excellent score. There’s no bailout anywhere and going with less club off the tee just leaves you a longer shot from a downhill lie.
I’ve already mentioned the slippery green on the 12th but it’s also rated as the # 1 handicap hole too. At 515 yards from the tips, it’s not overly long but it’s very tight and the green is raised and surrounded by ball-rejecting mounds. Perhaps big hitters could get home in two but the green is designed for a high lofted wedge shot, not a screaming missile launched by your 3-wood.
Several holes on the back nine allow you to whale away with the driver without too much concern: 13, 14, 15 and 16 – but again, length isn’t the most required commodity at Blue Springs.
To score well, it really boils down to three things: accuracy, a deft putting touch and being an Olympic athlete. Did I mention the long uphill climbs from 3 to 4, 8 to 9, 12 to13 and 17 to 18? These are all-world treks where you hope you don’t have the honour when you reach the next tee, just so you have a bit more time to catch your breath. I suppose you could take a cart but what would be the fun in that?
Blue Springs is a demanding course. Most holes don’t give you a lot of options but if you can score there, you can likely take your game on the road and do pretty well anywhere. I like that kind of golf course. You never get tired of playing it and it constantly hones your skills.
Give it a try. You’ll definitely have some fun and I think you’ll be impressed too.
For further information on Blue Springs please visit www.clublinkmembership.ca