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Review: Mystic Golf Club revisited — more bang for the buck?

Revisited Mystic Golf Club near Ancaster today, having last played it [photopress:Mystic10.jpg,full,alignright]in the fall of 2005.

Several things struck me about my second trip around — namely, that the good parts (8, 9, 11, 14, 18) are perhaps even stronger than I recall, while the sections that were average (5,6,12,15) are still golf holes that have few defining natural characteristics, especially through the fairway. That said, several of the green sites (like 5, and eight) were better than I recall. The greens, while largely lacking in dramatic movement, played well, but conditions still impact some holes (like 12, for example). However, in my experience, the condition issues were only on the fairways and rarely had any effect on play.

The one re-evaluation in my mind is the 10th, a nearly 600-yard par five with two forced carries. One forced carry is usually enough for most players, but using trees in the approach line to the green is a bit tricked-up for my liking. Cut’em down guys, and leave the one on the left, which has character and doesn’t impact play. I suppose architect Tom Pearson was trying something unusual with this hole, but truthfully it just doesn’t work.

Now Mystic is priced at $85 (including cart and range), though the all[photopress:Mystic18.jpg,full,alignleft] you can play option at $125 still exists. At $85, if the course heals a little over coming weeks, it surely is a fair value for the dollar. The course does rival many of the more expensive Toronto tracks (like Angus Glen, and Bond Head), and will be almost $100 cheaper. And it is clearly better than the likes of Whistle Bear and Rebel Creek near Kitchener, or nearby Willow Valley.

However, only time will tell how the course sets up. There was plenty of long grass in play when I went around the course today, and with the fairways being quite narrow, I wonder if Mystic will be too much golf for a majority of players. These days the best golf is about options — wider fairways that allow more accurate players to determine the best angle of approach. That’s what made the Old Course so good, and that’s not really present at Mystic. The aim is to have players hit it straight or slightly work the ball — something a vast majority can’t do.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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  • I recently played Mystic Golf Club in Ancaster and was a bit disappointed. In my opinion, the course was in poor shape. The fairways were full of weeds and some sections had no grass at all. The greens were in decent shape but not as good as the greens at Willow Valley. I think for 85 dollars in the Hamilton area, the course should be in much better shape. I know it is only in its first full year but nearby Copetownwoods was in much better shape in its first year. However, the course has a lot of potential and is much more interesting than Willow or Copetown. I think the owners rushed to get this course open.

  • Mystic is a golf course with a lot of potential. Opened in November 2005, the course shows its immaturity. Many fairways were somewhat barren and have yet to fill in. Water seemed to be in short supply as the course was quite hard and dry. However, on a positive note – the greens were lightning fast and ran true. Some of the best I’ve played in this area. The layout will be a challenge to high handicappers as long straight drives off the well manicured tee blocks are a must. There is very little in the way of facilities. The clubhouse is temporary, little more than a trailer. There is a putting green but that is about it. In summary, at $85 (including cart) Mystic proved to be an interesting track to play. This is a course with a lot of potential for the future. I enjoyed the game and look forward to playing again in a couple of years when the course has matured.

  • A great target golf course that works your mind as well as your golf game.
    Playing in August after a few days of rain, the course was in excellent shape with fast greens at 13, easy! The whites were 6100 yards with a slope of 138 and an excellent test of skill. With many long carries from the tee over either water, valley or brush, there was an excellent risk/reward. Always a challenge to stick the green.
    It was so good I went back 3 days later to play the blues at 6700 yards and a slope of 144. Even with very good tee shots, precision long irons were needed for GIRs. Lots of fun … but take a few extra golf balls, just in case!
    For me, the best golf course this season!

  • Mystic has a Player’s Card deal (via their owner Golf North) that gets you on after 2pm for $52…..one of the best deals in Ontario relative to quality courses. Greens are fast and very true. As stated earlier, your 4-6 irons better resemble some semblance of skill if you hope to entertain pars. Still was some noticeable immaturity Sept ’07, although #2 is almost playable now 😉

    Nevertheless, its a great place to crack it long avec your driver as it normally plays pretty fast. Playing the traditional, tree-choked fairways of the old faves can be exhausting if you’re having a wild day off the tee. Mystic gives you room to let ‘er out! All and all, the most “testing” course in a collection of solid options (Copetown, Carlisle, Willow Valley, etc.) in West Hammer-ton.

  • I’m sorry to say that I am very disappointed in this course. I took a day off work (Monday, August 31, 2009) along with my nephew and brother in law to play one of golfnorth’s highest rated courses. First off, we arrived and it took over 20 minutes standing in line to pay for our round so we didn’t even get a chance to hit the range with the complimentary balls that were provided. Second, there was no where to purchase water or beverages for the course, not even a bottle of water provided, no water on the course either (beverage cart), the bunkers were more like water hazards even though there hasn’t been more than a couple mm of rain in the last week. Even the started mentioned the poor drainage.

    It’s unfortunate that at $89 per round (that’s $270) for the three of us, we couldn’t even get a bottle of water or an apology for lack of service.

    Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be returning and won’t be recommending the course, since the experience was so unpleasant. It’s too bad, because this course has so much potential but falls just short.

  • Played Mystic for the 1st. time October 13, 2009. The course layout, condition etc. was the best of the Golf North courses played. The whole experience of playing a round of golf at Mystic was (despite the weather, cost and lack of club house facilities) well above average. Although I am a high handycap player (24) I enjoyed the round and would go back should the cost be affordable. We paid $50. p/p, cart included – as a member of Golf North I feel that would be the maximum price I would be prepared to pay although I realize courses in this category are not cheap.
    Overall I’d recommend this course to golfer’s looking for the above average golf experience. Lack of club house (Pro Shop facilities) and above average green fees will no doubt be detrimental to the average high handicaper. vince.aquilina@hotmail.com

  • Played Mystic for the first time on Sunday, August 21. I was very disappointed with the whole experience. It appears that they are in financial duress and struggling to keep things going. Entry road to the course looks terrible. They only have a temporary building for a clubhouse. Fairways are very unkept – looks like they cut corners on the irrigation system when it was built only a few years ago. They use small rope fences to restrict power cart entry and exit to very small areas which results in the turf being totally killed in those spots. In terms of overall condition, I could only compliment the greens which were in good shape. In addition, the pace of play was very slow 4hrs 45minutes with no marshall in sight for the entire round. At the end of the round I was told that the marshall (or marshalls?) didn’t bother to show up that day. All in all very disappointing and certainly not worth the price which would position it as a mid to upper tier course in that location.

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