Golf Courses We Love: Cobble Beach

Cobble Beach Golf Links (Image: Cobble Beach Golf Links)

Every hole at Cobble Beach Golf Links offers views of Georgian Bay. (Image: Cobble Beach Golf Links)

Doug Carrick’s acclaimed Cobble Beach Golf Links put the Ontario tourist town of Owen Sound on the Canadian golf map with its launch in 2007.

Sometimes all it takes is one superior course to make a golf destination.

Opened in 2007, Cobble Beach Golf Links put the Ontario town of Owen Sound on the radar of Canadian golfers. The master-planned Cobble Beach resort and residential community sprawls along a vast stretch of pristine Georgian Bay shoreline minutes from town. There’s a Nantucket-style clubhouse housing 10 boutique-style guest rooms, as well as five guest cottages, the excellent Sweetwater Restaurant, and a spa. Building lots, houses and attached bungalows are for sale throughout the grounds.

But the centrepiece of Cobble Beach is an acclaimed 18-hole course designed by Doug Carrick where every hole is artfully sculpted to take advantage of the gorgeous setting.

Carrick’s layout winds through open meadows edged with mature woodlands. The terrain gently rises, offering commanding views of the course and Georgian Bay, then returns to the shore for a dramatic finish along the bluffs. Carrick sculpted his fairways to emulate the rugged hummocky terrain of the great seaside links of Scotland and Ireland. Small pot bunkers, closely mown chipping areas and hollows around the greens add to the challenge.

Far more demanding is playing through the swirling winds off the bay, which on a really blustery day can mean reaching for a fairway wood on even a short par three.

Owen Sound Ontario

Owen Sound is home to a roster of cultural festivals, including the Summerfolk Music and Craft Festival.

Cobble Beach’s signature hole? That’s probably the 17th, a par three at the water’s edge. From an elevated tee affording a jaw-dropping view of the bay and a nearby lighthouse, golfers hit 156 yards to a tightly tiered green surrounded by pot bunkers.

The resort includes a beachfront clubhouse, fire pits and an 80-metre-long dock for the boats of residents. Winding through the property and an adjoining old-growth cedar forest are 14 kilometres of biking trails.

Come winter, there’s skating on the community ice rink and cross-country skiing on 18 kilometres of groomed trails.

Nearby Owen Sound offers its own diversions. The picturesque harbour town 190 kilometres northwest of Toronto stages an impressive lineup of annual cultural festivals, including the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival in August. But Owen Sound is perhaps best known as the birthplace of World War I flying ace Billy Bishop, who was credited with 72 victories over enemy opponents and once forced the legendary Red Baron to withdraw from battle in a damaged aircraft. The Victoria Cross winner’s modest gravesite is found in the town’s Greenwood Cemetery.

Owen Sound is also home to another golf course of some renown: Legacy Ridge Golf Club, a classically designed lakefront layout by the great Stanley Thompson dating from 1920.

But it was Carrick’s masterful work at Cobble Beach that finally made the town a golf destination.

 

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