The newest addition to the Kaneff Golf Group, Royal Ontario was completed on a stunning piece of land north of Oakville, Ontario in 2002. Land so perfect for a golf course that it seemed like destiny that it would eventually hold one.
Royal Ontario no doubt has some growing up to do, but it has some wonderful traits that will ensure that it will become one of the top courses in the west end of the city in years to come. Word is that their new clubhouse is now finished as well.
Most noteworthy fact about this course that left an impression on me, was the piece of land this course is built on. Making your way around the course youare certainly left with the feeling that the course followed the natural movements of the land, not the other way around. The routing of this course is superb. Mature trees, generous use of water, fescue and ample bunkering certainly help make Royal Ontario a tremendous challenge as well.
One word of caution right off the top. The tee shot at #1 is a tricky one that snakes to the right as the fairway drops into depression. The ideal tee shot is a power fade to avoid going through the fairway (and onto the 2nd green!).
Another hole to watch is the tricky par 4 5th hole. It plays to about 280 yards and definitely tempts you to take a run at a green that is tucked way around the dogleg to the right. Unless you possess one of the golfing world’s best banana balls it would be very difficult to turn the ball enough to get it around the corner and onto the green. Ample bunkers and long grass greet greedy players that do not find a suitable place to lay up.
One of the more notable features of this course is certainly the twin par 5s (9 and 18) that wind around a large lake approaching the soon to be built clubhouse. Both of the par 5s present difficult driving conditions as the fairway tend to really pinch beginning at about 220 yards. Anyone except the longest hitters around will likely need to layup their second shots on either of these holes, so there is no need to get too greedy off the tee. This will certainly prove to be a stunning spot to watch tournament action as this course grows up. The 9th and 18th tend to give you a bit of an amphitheatre sort of feel and patrons will no doubt be easily able to watch action from either hole once the clubhouse is completed in the coming year.
However, upon initial examination Royal Ontario makes the grade. I am certainly interested in watching this course grow up over the coming years and I hope that the price tag does not grow too much along with it.