Discovering Duntroon Highlands
Many golf courses use nature or geography as part of their identity – Pines, Lakes, Valley for example – and sometimes they even live up to that description. At Duntroon Highlands, there’s no doubt – the course sits atop the Niagara Escarpment and offers magnificent views out to Georgian Bay and the surrounding countryside.
It’s a wild ride too or in our case a great walk. The starter offered us a cart when we showed up on the first tee and when we told him we were walking, he said not to worry, he had a defibrillator and oxygen. He also offered us a guidebook and said it was just in case we got lost. Funny guy!
The opening hole is the first of several bomber holes. You’re looking straight downhill at a broad fairway and nary a hint of trouble in sight. Bombs away! Oh oh, should have read the guidebook. It’s bombs away if you keep it down the left, but you’re blocked out on the right side of this dogleg par-5 that sharply turns a corner at the bottom of the hill. Lesson learned. Consult guidebook.
There are more bomber holes on 6, 9, 10, 17 and 18 but in between is a mix of challenges that will test all of your skills. The toughest are several holes that play to greens perched part way up the hill where you can’t see the putting surface and approach shots that come tantalizingly close can often run 30-40 yards back downhill.
One of my colleagues described the course as having “sneaky good greens” and I totally concur. They have enough contour to make you think twice about your line but if you don’t also consider where the ball might go if you miss, you could find yourself with a lot of real estate to cover on your next putt. Remember it’s the Highlands and it’s built on the side of a hill. Every putt breaks somewhere.
We may have caught a break in that regard on the day we played. The greens had been sprayed recently with something and they were a bit sticky. Still quite puttable but I suspect not as fast as they usually might be.
Duntroon Highlands was built from farmland in 1986 by a man named Dalton Sampson. As near as I can tell, he didn’t have any experience in golf course design although he did have some input from a friend who owned another course. Sampson had a deep love for his land and a desire to preserve its natural beauty and that shows through in the routing and use of ponds and creeks.
What fun that must have been creating his own golf course!
And fun to play too. For more info on Duntroon Highlands, click HERE.
People in the News
Congratulations to Unionville’s J.C. Deacon whose Florida Gators captured the Men’s NCAA Division 1 Championship earlier this month in Scottsdale. Then to top off his team win, Deacon was honoured with the Dave Williams Coach of the Year award by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
J.C. played some terrific golf around Toronto as a junior and looked to have a pretty bright future in the pro game. A national championship at UNLV along with teammates Adam Scott, Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman, led to struggling for a few years on the Canadian Tour before an opportunity opened up to go back to UNLV as an assistant coach to Dwaine Knight.
That, apparently, opened his eyes and coaching has been his passion ever since. John Berkovich did a profile on Deacon for Fairways a couple of years back. You can read it HERE.
They Said It