Deerhurst Resort has all the ingredients for a perfect road trip

Road trips come in all shapes and sizes, but our quest isn’t simply to get out of town and play golf. That’s too easy. We want memories, a magnificent escape, a unique experience, something we’ll still be excited about long after the last putt drops. Obviously a much taller order.

For decades Muskoka has been known as “cottage country” or Toronto’s summer home, a gorgeous forested region of sparkling lakes, summer camps, small towns and quaint resorts, that draws thousands of visitors annually. Until the latter part of the 20th century, it was rarely thought of as a golf destination.

Deerhurst Resort changed that perception in 1990 with the introduction of Deerhurst Highlands, a brilliant layout by Bob Cupp and Thomas McBroom, where the Muskoka landscape was allowed to shape its design. The Highlands course launched a mini-golf boom in the region and made Muskoka a “must play” Canadian golf destination. Like Cape Breton, Whistler or the Okanagan, Muskoka has a golf personality that is unique and exciting. For Toronto area golfers, it’s the perfect road trip.

Just aim the car north towards the bustling town of Huntsville, then on beyond for a few minutes to Deerhurst Resort. From the long winding driveway, you’ll get a brilliant panoramic view of the lake and several golf holes spread out before you. This is the start of your magnificent escape.

A great road trip must have great golf

Deerhurst Highlands is carved out of the rugged granite and dense forest of the Canadian Shield. The sheer expanse of wilderness is staggering. From the clubhouse, it takes several minutes by cart just to get to the first tee – winding higher and higher through the woods until you burst out of the trees to experience one of the best first hole views in Canada – a magnificent scene from the elevated tee looking out over Fairy Lake.

Deerhurst Highlands Hole #1

And then it’s a magical ride though a wonderful mix of holes, from elegant tree-lined fairways to rugged granite shelves and wide-open links style sections, all the while climbing or plunging through dramatic elevation drops. Every tee deck presents a new Instagram possibility, each hole offers a new challenge.

Deerhurst Highlands is perennially ranked among the top courses in Canada and the 10th hole (pictured above) is often mentioned as the signature hole, with its 90-foot rock wall facing back at golfers on the tee. The par-3’s on the front are magnificent one-shotters from elevated tees, and the double green for #8 and #17 is quite intriguing. Emerging from the forest to play fescue-lined links style holes on 4, 5 and 6 is a shock – there’s not a tree remotely close enough to hit.

Whatever you think is the best hole on the course will be sure to spark debate amongst your group, but one thing is certain – you’ll all want another shot at the Highlands.

Incredible comfort awaits

Deerhurst Resort offers a multitude of beautifully appointed lodging options for couples, families and groups, from hotel rooms in the main Pavilion or Bayshore lodge to 1, 2 or 3-bedroom condos nestled in the surrounding hills. Rooms are designed in a contemporary rustic motif and enjoy spectacular views of the lake or wooded countryside. Many of the condo suites include a fireplace and all rooms are just a few minutes walk to the beach and other Resort activities.

Brand new condo suites will also be available starting in July at the commanding Lakeside Lodge.

Lakeside Lodge (artist rendering)

Kicking back with a beverage and your buddies on the balcony of your condo after a round of golf is almost mandatory on a road trip. With a soothing view of the water, it’s a perfect spot to discuss the day’s play and plan your next assault on the course. Or just make plans for dinner.

Food is never an afterthought on a road trip

More decisions! There are four distinct restaurants at Deerhurst, each offering an exceptional dining experience:

  • The Eclipse Dining Room offers gorgeous lake vistas and is the perfect spot for breakfast or a dinner buffet.
  • The Compass Grill and Bar is for more casual fare or maybe just a glass of wine. Compass features a tapas style menu.
  • The Maple Pub and Patio, with awesome views of the bay and golf course will appeal to road trippers looking for pub-style food, a relaxed atmosphere and a wonderful collection of cool beverages.
  • The Antler Steakhouse has a menu that highlights a variety of Canadian steaks. Situated adjacent to the Deerhurst Highlands Pro Shop and a few minutes from the Pavilion in a charming log cabin with magnificent views, the Antler also features an outdoor patio area with a fire pit that is ideal for a beverage before or after dinner.
The patio at The Antler Steakhouse

Deerhurst is committed to the “eat local” food movement and harvests its own maple syrup, honey and herbs right at the resort.

More activities

This is a golfing road trip after all, so what better way to add “more” than with some additional golf. Deerhurst Lakeside is the original course at the Resort and the 4,600-yard par-63 layout is a perfect way to do 36-a-day either before or after your round on the Highlands course. Lakeside meanders along the shoreline before heading up into the hills and although not long, it will still provide plenty of challenge, especially on the slick small greens.

Deerhurst Lakeside Course

If you still have time, Deerhurst offers a wide variety of resort activities including water sports, hiking, biking, fishing and boating. There are sightseeing tours and even an art gallery.


From May 13 – June 27, 2019, Deerhurst is offering a midweek “Golf on Us” package that includes a round of golf on Deerhurst Highlands and accommodation for less than you’d expect to pay for green fees alone – just $99.50 per person based on double occupancy, taxes and resort fee extra.

For more information about Deerhurst Resort and your next road trip, click HERE.

Pavilion Entrance at Night
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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