A return to Lake St. George

The Discovery Tour is all about finding new places to play. Each week, I’ll play and review a course in Southern Ontario that I’ve never played before and perhaps is a bit under the radar for other golfers too. For the most part I’m looking for courses where the green fee is modest.

I first visited Lake St. George north of Orillia over 20 years ago. Back in those days I’d sometimes help our distribution team deliver copies of Fairways Magazine to various courses. I usually chose to go to the Muskoka region because it was so beautiful and a great place to end up after a busy day. Lake St. George was on that route and every time I was there, I was impressed by the setting and vowed to get back and play it some day.

Well, it took over twenty years, but I finally got there this week. Before teeing off, I had a nice chat with Greg Louth, who is now the owner. When I first went there his mom and dad ran the course and Greg was the Director of Golf. Greg’s son is the now the General Manager and apparently there are more generations of Louth family members waiting their turn. That’s quite a succession story that dates back to 1979.

Lake St. George has three nines; the North nine is the original one and was built in 1952. It’s reserved for nine-hole rounds. We played the West (Bob Moote, 2002) and the South (Robbie Robinson, 1972).

The west course weaves in and out of the northern forest and is dotted with ponds and a sneaky little creek that I didn’t see until it was too late. Holes 4, 5 and 6 wrap around a wood lot and are particularly strong. My favourite hole on the front was the 9th, a 90-degree dogleg that is visually puzzling. It isn’t long but requires a very precise tee shot to get to a landing area where you can get a peek at the green.

The South course traverses a more open routing where Robinson has fashioned a collection of holes adjacent to a river valley. There’s a trio of each par types on this nine and they’re all challenging – the par-3’s especially at 180, 210 and 210 yards respectively.

My favourite hole was the finishing hole, a relatively short par-5 (456 yards) that doglegs left and heads uphill. You must avoid that big pine tree (pictured above) in order to have a go at the green but naturally my tee shot ended up right behind it.  C’est la vie!

Overall, the course is player friendly and would be fine for any skill level. I plan on a return visit this summer to play the North nine and hopefully get my revenge on a few holes that didn’t treat me well.

Lake St. George is great value – $48 walking (M-T) and $60 Friday to Sunday and holidays. https://www.lakestgeorgegolf.com/

Peter Mumford
Peter Mumford is the Editor of Fairways Magazine. He's played over 500 different courses in 21 countries and met some fascinating people along the way. He's also a long-suffering Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

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