Location: Ashburn (Whitby), Ontario
Weather: Warm, but overcast.
Green fees: $55 (Spring rate); Regular rate: $70 weekdays; $80 weekends)
Tees Played: Blue – 6510 yards Rating 71.5 Slope 135
Score Shot: 82 – 9 pars, but no birdies.
Tee time intervals: 8 or 9 minutes
Time taken: 3 hours, 55 minutes
Quality of service:
I received a warm and courteous welcome in the pro shop when I arrived.
The starter and ranger were both very friendly and wished me a good round.
The staff in the clubhouse were professional, although I did have to wait a little longer than expected for a BLT sandwich! Hardly a real complaint though.
Goat Track Or Weekend in Paradise?:
It’s easy to see why the Canadian PGA keep coming back here for their annual‚ Q school – Royal Ashburn is a great test of golf. There’s no real let up on their tree lined fairways, with water coming into play at no less than 9 holes. Royal Ashburn is very fair as well as very demanding, a nice combination.
How the Rock Rolls:
I like the set up at Ashburn. On the scorecard, the greens are divided into 6 segments so as well as front, middle and‚ back, you know before you play the hole whether the pin is on the left or the right. The greens today were in good condition although a little slower than I expected.
After some overnight rain the lush fairways at Royal Ashburn were quite soft and the course was playing it’s full length.
The sand in the bunkers was very consistent and all bunkers appeared to have been raked earlier in the day.
Overall, the course was well manicured, with the tee blocks recently moved to fresh positions.
Making the Grade:
This is not really a golf course for beginners but there’s no doubt that a good round at Royal Ashburn is very satisfying. Due to the weather forecast the course was relatively quiet and my playing partner and I played the front nine in 1 hour, 45 minutes before catching up with the field. My pet peeve is slow play, so I always enjoy a reasonably quick round.
My favourite hole is No.5, a very demanding par 4 of 400 yards, with water in front and down the right off the tee and a pond in front of the green to grab your attention. There isn’t a really weak hole here, my least favourite being No. 12, simply because the slightly elevated green is brutally tough for a hole in excess of 400 yards – beware of the nasty back-left pin placement!
Hit To Your Pocketbook:
Golf in the GTA is expensive, and the‚ $55 (Spring rate) green fee represents very good value for money. Prime time rates increase next week to‚ $70 Monday thru Thursday and $80 on the weekend. The golf course is very walkable, but if you need to add a power cart, there’s little change from‚ $100 – and that’s serious money for a Weekend Hacker.
For those on a tight budget, twilight rates on the weekend (after 1 pm) are $60. That offers fine value, and though you’ll save money, the cost in terms of time rises. Expect a five hour round.
Hacking Away: 95% (Based on full green fee of $80)
(Our “Hacking Away” rating is a percentage based on the value the Weekend Hacker assigns to the course as a percentage of the top green fee. That means a course could potentially be worth more than the green fee — if it offers great value)