King’s Forest’s nice length and tight tree-lined fairways are challenging enough to stand up to even the finest players among us. While water rarely comes into play on its eighteen holes, this course is really defined by its wooded parkland layout. On many holes hitting an iron off the tee is a great play, giving you a better chance of keeping it in the fairway and having a decent approach with your second.
This municipal gem once served as a conservation area and occupies a beautiful natural space that is fittingly framed in by the escarpment known as the Hamilton Mountain. Operated by the City of Hamilton, it is more often than not in great condition and carries a price tag that any golfer would love. With a top green fee still under $50 it can certainly be considered one of the best values in the province.
Rumor has it that this course was designed with a Canadian Open in mind and course improvements embarked upon during the 2002 season are reminiscent of Bethpage Black and the improvements it saw to its layout in anticipation of the 2002 US Open. The bunker count has increased on many holes, including some of its’ easier to reach par 5s. So, they are not quite as easily reached any more, as many of these bunkers we placed right out in front of these greens preventing you being able to bump it onto the green with a long iron or metal fairway wood.
The stretch of holes from 10 through 12 make up the meat of the golf course. Number 10 rewards golfers that hit the fairway with their tee shots with either a side hill or downhill lie (or both) leading to a long elevated green.
The signature 11th hole tees off from a tee deck well over 100 hundred feet above the dogleg left fairway below. This hole is very reminiscent of the classic 11th hole at Glen Abbey, with players hitting their tee shots from an extremely elevated tee and watching and hoping they find the fairway below. I have seen more tee shots pushed into the right trees on this hole than I would care to mention. The view from this elevated tee into the heavily treed valley below is quite stunning.
The 12th is a tight tree lined par 4 that demands a precise fade off the tee to keep it in the sharp dogleg right fairway. Missing the fairway either right or left means trouble one way or the other.
For value and a tough test that is not too far to travel for most city golfers, King’s Forest is an oasis for the public golfer. Just don’t forget to call early to ensure a time, trust me on that!