Location: Brighton, Ontario (Prince Edward County)
Weather: Beautiful day, sunny and 25C
Green fees: $50
Tees used: Gold – 6633 yards Rating 73.9 Slope 146
Score Shot: 82
Tee time intervals: 10 minutes
Time taken: 4 hours, 25 minutes
Quality of service:
I received a very courteous welcome from the assistant in the pro shop, who was happy to discuss the golf course with me. The clubhouse had a friendly, unpretentious air about the place. The staff was very helpful and everyone in my group was made to feel very welcome.
Goat Track or Weekend in Paradise?
This was my first visit to Timber Ridge and I was impressed. It’s a golf course where accuracy is more important than length as any wild shot usually incurs a stroke and distance penalty. The first six holes are tree-lined, before the course opens up into a parkland setting. “Opens up” is perhaps a little inaccurate as thick fescue borders just about every fairway. I’d describe the bunkering as mundane – typical of many North American courses – I’d like to see a few Scottish style pot bunkers here and there to make golfers think.
While there are no Mickey Mouse holes, I don’t think there is an outstanding hole on the course either. The 385 yard 10th hole certainly grabs your attention, a dogleg left with a water hazard crossing the fairway 200 yards out. No problem if you can carry 230 yards into the prevailing wind but if you lay up you’re faced with a blind or semi-blind shot to the green.
The 205 yard 3rd is probably the toughest par 3 on the course, with tress and thick undergrowth – a lateral hazard – left of the green and water short right, but a nice bail out area long right.
While there are many tough holes, I didn’t find anything too scary as there just wasn’t as much visual intimidation as I’d expected.
How the rock rolls:
Timber Ridge has large, undulating greens, typical of many modern day courses. The greens were quite receptive and only medium pace. The ball ran fairly smoothly and to my surprise I seemed to read most greens pretty well. On the day, it was easy to leave downhill putts short, but I’m sure that won’t be the case in the middle of summer. Although I didn’t hole very much, I didn’t three putt either. But if these greens were cut down and the pins placed in Sunday afternoon positions, I’m sure I’d be telling a different story.
The golf course was in excellent condition although the fairways were probably a week or two behind courses in the GTA.
Making the Cut:
The course is well laid out on 200 acres of property – I don’t think I heard a shout of “Fore!” all day. It’s not the easiest track to walk, with some elevation changes in the back nine and, typical of modern courses, a few long walks from green to tees, but it’s no real problem for the committed stroller. The expected pace of play is 4 hours, 27 minutes, a little slow but mainly because it’s very easy to lose a ball.
This Weekend Hacker has no desire to play from tees that stretch a golf course to 7000 yards and beyond, but I was tempted to play the back tees simply because I don’t think I’ve ever played a course with such a high (146) rating. Maybe I was fooled by the receptive greens which only seemed to be running at 8 or 9 on the stimpmeter, but I really didn’t find the course that difficult.
It’s only 6,633 yards off the tips and it doesn’t play particularly long. With the exception of the 10th hole, the few water hazards don’t really come into play and in my opinion a rating of around 135 would be more accurate. Obviously, you’ve got to hit the ball reasonably straight but that could be said of many lower rated courses.
Hit To Your Pocketbook:
Timber Ridge is outstanding value! It’s quite a hike from T.O. to Brighton but it’s well worth the journey. Timber Ridge is a quality golf course and definitely in the hidden gem category. Despite my concerns over the degree of difficulty, this is a course with little or no let up, so bring your “A” game and get your handicap down!
Hacking Away: 150% (percentage of green fee value the experience is worth)
It’s the best 50 bucks I’ve spent for a long time. I’m trying not to go overboard here, but if this course was located just north of the city, it would be a $100‚ per round facility. It’s proof that if you’re willing to venture off the beaten track, there is great value to be found.
(Final rating is an indication of what the course is worth versus the green fee charged. According to the Hacker, a poor course could be worth less than the green fee charged, while a strong course that offers value might actually be underpriced.)