Spread across 270 historic acres, Knollwood Golf Course is a challenging 36-hole facility comprised of the Old Course set right alongside the New Course—both designed by well-regarded course superintendent Jack Harris in 1970 and 1990, respectively. Players can opt for a round on the Old Course or the New Course links and enjoy hole designs that embrace the natural Ancaster topography. Elevated tees and long, perplexing par 5 holes with ominous names such as Buried Treasure and Redemption lead to finely timed fairways that open up into stirring panoramas. The New Course entices advanced club swingers, and the Old Course's more accessible series of par 4 holes with large, accommodating greens is appealing for beginners.
Knollwood players don clean-cut golf attire and enjoy a golfer's paradise that has been open to the public since 1970 and keeps players happy with sprightly paced 10-minute tee times, on-site restaurants and beverage carts, and a "no-argue" rain cheque policy. The facility's proud groundskeepers maintain large, naturalized areas on the course intended to encourage the wildlife to thrive and occasionally join in on a game.
Some consider it therapeutic. Others find it a challenging exercise. Either way, the driving range is an oasis where golfers send shots soaring toward a variety of targets spread across the 300-yard fairway from the two-tiered structure peppered with 57 stalls. Launch Golf Centre remains open throughout the year, allowing players of all stripes to work on full drives in spring, mid-iron approaches in summer, or using putters to swordfight snowmen in winter. During cold months, players can opt for heated hitting zones as they thwack golf balls into the snowy tundra. The centre also offers table service for food and drinks while players are honing their skills. For players looking to improve their skill sets with the help of an expert, six teaching professionals conduct lessons and clinics to smooth the path toward lower scores.
The piercing clang of well-struck drives resonates across the grounds at Golden Ridge Golf, their echoes beckoning to clubbers to come groom their game at the multifaceted complex. Guests can smooth out rough-edged swings with a stint at the 300-yard driving range, where players can hit off of natural grass or faux-turf mats and take cover in sheltered hitting bays during rainstorms or pelican pranks. An 18-hole mini-golf course channels the charm of an old country town with a decorative wagon, general store facade, and putters that double as moustache combs. All of the grounds’ score-shaving resources are utilized to the fullest during Golf Academy clinics and lessons, which are overseen by CPGA-certified pro and former touring professional Gordie Burns.
Brisk breezes from Lake Erie and nearby Niagara Falls waft across Emerald Pines’ 6,200 yards of manicured greens and oak-lined fairways, gently eddying past a rustic clubhouse that embodies the club’s homespun charm. Golfers can launch balls across the course’s 18 holes and driving range with name brand products found in an on-site pro shop, where a holographic projection of Mike Weir reenacts his most celebrated putts. The club’s rustic sensibility extends to the fully staffed kitchen’s menu, which comforts tummies with barbeque platters, jumbo hot dogs, and 8-ounce new york strip steaks.:m]]
At Fairtree Golf Centre, links-lovers hone long-games on a 300-yard driving range and short-games on a two-acre practice area. After grabbing their buckets of Pinnacle range balls, which the staff replaces each season, golfers toe up to one of 50 fibre mats that look out upon the range's expanse. Thwacking through a large bucket typically takes about 45 minutes, although some may opt to save a little ball ammo for the short-game area's two putting greens and arduous sand traps. Since there is no time limit on either of the facilities, players can take their time and recite a farewell haiku to each and every ball.
Beaver Island State Park stretches out over 950 acres at the southern end of Grand Island, on the shores of the upper Niagara River. The park's sandy half-mile beach welcomes swimmers and boaters. Nearby, an 80-slip marina with a boat launch lets mariners set sail in boats, kayaks, canoes, or origami yachts made from newspaper. Landlubbers swing clubs at an 18-hole championship golf course, venture down biking and hiking trails, and unpack picnic baskets on the park's scenic grounds. Guests seeking a break from the sun can visit a nature center with interactive exhibits on local flora and fauna. Guests also can drop by the River Lea house and museum, home to the Grand Island Historical Society and constructed by Grover Cleveland's cousin. In the winter, the park hosts snowmobilers, skiers, and snowshoers willing to brave the frigid air and rabid snowmen.
Course at a Glance: