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Course Preview: Turnberry Golf Club (Brampton, Ont.)

This Ain't Scotland: Brampton's Turnberry will offer 16 par-3s and two par-4s

This Ain't Scotland: Brampton's Turnberry will offer 16 par-3s and two par-4s

Course Preview: Turnberry GC, Brampton, Ont.

Designer(s): Doug Carrick/Cam Tyers

Brought to you by the fine folks who created all 7,450 yards of Eagles Nest GC in Maple, Ont., is Turnberry, with total yardage for 18 holes of, well, 3,000 yards?

That’s right — Turnberry is a short course, but don’t try to call this one an “executive” track. From the appearance of the holes that have been fully shaped, as well as those that are in the final stages, Turnberry is like a mini-version of Eagles Nest in places, while in others it is like that manufactured links of steriods. It sounds like a strange mix, but the two par-4s (the opener and the 18th) have massive fake dunes that are grander in scale than anything at its longer sister course.

The decision is this — given limited land (about 90 acres, where most 18 holes courses take at least 150 these days) does one build a nine hole course or gamble and make something that might capture a part of the golf market that is so far untouched.

Double greens and other interesting features will abound at Turnberry

Double greens and other interesting features will abound at Turnberry

The Eagles Nest ownership (again employing Carrick Design’s Doug Carrick and Cam Tyers, who created Eagles Nest) decided to try for the alternative. In this instance (and though the routing and details changed numerous times), they landed on the concept of creating two par-4s as bookends to 16 one-shot holes. That doesn’t mean these par-3s are simply run-of-the-mill holes. Instead, using fill from throughout their development empire, the Eagles Nest team have crafted a wild series of par-3 holes that utilize archetypes from the canon of golf architecture.

Eagles Nest West? Turnberry's opener has the look of its longer sister course

Eagles Nest West? Turnberry's opener has the look of its longer sister course

It’ll be interesting to see how many clubs players carry on the course, especially since it opens with a 400-yard plus par-4 that slings through some massive faux dunes and then slightly doglegs to the left. It’ll be a test out of the gate, but will be the last time one picks up their driver until the final hole of their round.

From there it is mish-mash of par-4s that range up to 200 yards in length. Special care has been given to making the greens both large and intriguing. Holes include an attempt at a biarritz, and Tyers’ use of greens he saw at places like National Golf Links in Long Island, NY. There’s a double green, and another with a large and aggressive swale in the front middle portion.

For me, walking the holes in a random order, it was easier to gain general impressions than specifics. And in general, this looks like an intriguing course that could be fun to play. The problem with most courses of this length are that they are considered third-tier (below even nine holers). That isn’t the case here. Tyers has obviously placed a lot of thought in the design of each hole. Each is different and the ability to move and import massive amounts of land means each has its own spot within the landscape, neither feeling jammed in or cramped.

Will people embrace a course that shouldn’t take more than 2.5 hours to play, but will offer many of the same thrills as a longer course? That’s the question. I’m intrigued at 16 chances at holes-in-one during a single round. And the options Tyers has crafted into the course — interesting bunkers, chipping hollows, smart greens — could well be a hit with higher handicap players and stronger golfers alike.

Check out the gallery — a handful of holes on the back nine are still being shaped, but their essence can be clearly seen.

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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.

48 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I wonder if a shorter course like this will really play quick? On a normal length course all the back ups are at par 3’s or short driveable par 4’s. Would that not mean really slow play all around? My only experience with shorter executive length courses like centennial or scarlett woods is rounds as long or longer than a full length. Curious?

  • I’m wondering the fee’s will be like. Right in the middle of town surrounded by housing I can only hope that the people that live there are as respectful to the players and course as we should be to them.This is not like Rosedale just north of Turnberry where it is a private 9 hole open to just resident’s and their guests. I for one will try out this new course when open. Only a ten minute drive.
    Frank

  • Frank: The fees have not been set, but I would expect them between $40 and $50. That is the range I’m hearing from the club.

  • “I can only hope that the people that live there are as respectful to the players ”

    As one of the residents that backs on to the course, I can think of no reason we would be disprespectful? In fact, most of us will just be letting go a huge sigh of relief to finally see a golf course out our back doors……it has been a long wait since we paid for that view!

    Kidding aside, having walked it a few times during construction, this will challenge most golfers and be an interesting change from full length courses (which are found aplenty in the GTA)….if playing time is around 3 hours then it should prove popular with people who would love to play after work but can’t get away from work early enough to get to and play a 4.5 hour round before dark.

  • “Did you mean to say par 3 holes up to 200 yards”

    Yes I think he did…..the hole that I think is the 11th is about that long with a nice looking bunker in front of the green!

  • 16 par 3. Might as well be 9 holes @ 3000 yds. Peel Village and Parkshore (a pasture) are both 9 holes and they are very popular courses.

  • Being a fairly decent golfer and played from coast to coast 16 par 3,s would be slow play for most of us. I think there would be a great amount of 1st. time players and they don,t always follow the proper rules of the golf course and that is the slow down problem. The good thing about this course is the location because it,s right across the street from me.( 3 minute walk).

  • “16 par 3. Might as well be 9 holes @ 3000 yds. Peel Village and Parkshore (a pasture) are both 9 holes and they are very popular courses.”

    I think the idea was to offer the market something a bit different….as you note, there are already 2 fairly successful and popular 9-holers in Brampton. This new course offers something different. As I said, I have walked it a few times and can tell you it will be different not just in Brampton but the whole GTA. This will be a very interesting golf challenge.

  • If the green fees are going to be $40 to $50 dollars I wonder how many people will be interested in that. It seems a bit high for a short course. I would think $20 to $30 would be more appropriate.

  • I have been looking for information on this new one for a while, as it is close to my home. I had been a member at Castlemore, but the drive became too long. I’m looking forward to seeing the membership options. Not quite walkable to get there from where I live, but close! Thanks for the review.

  • In response to Frans and Rob.

    It will be a public course so I don’t think there will be a membership option (perhaps some passes/discounts).

    The address is listed on their web page as 10100 Heart Lake Rd.
    Brampton, Ontario with a phone number of 905-417-2300.

    The website is http://www.turnberrygolf.ca/

  • I am not sure if a par3 is the way to go aspecially for 40+ dollars.
    mayby once or 2. I belive a 9 hole would have been a better choice. One good thing one can pratice their short game.

  • I agree with you Rob. Everybody loves the driver. Par3’s are fine for oldsters and youngsters. Maybe that’s what they are marketing to. If so, the 16-70 year olds will avoid it.

  • As long as it is reasonably priced I think it will do very well. From what I have seen during construction, this is going to be a VERY interesting course. Can’t wait to take my first swing!!!

  • Not one par 5 wow. I play Disc Golf right beside this course and saw this project begin from the start, I though it was going to be a 9 hole course, but i guess wrong. I wonder how much a weekday membership will cost since its all par 3’s pretty much. I’m sure i’ll try it out atleast a few time forsure anyhow 🙂

  • I hope it works out but I think they’ve missed the mark on pricing. I saw an earlier layout years ago that called for a full 18 and was excited about it as I live close by. I would have loved a challenging par 36 nine hole course with an extensive practice facility and/or pitch and putt. I think that configuration would have allowed for better, membership and green fee revenues, in addition to catering to the junior and senior market and bringing the European novelty of pitch and putt to the GTA.

  • Fantastic!!! Another over priced golf course. I mean come on, 40-50 bucks to play a bunch of par 3’s. The only people that will be on this course will be hackers or seniors. Plus once they start packing in the corporate tournaments, look out!! 2.5 hours, yeah right. They better have a snack bar at every tee for the wait. For 40-50 bucks, I’d rather be golfing!!!

    Good Luck.

  • For $40-50 I can go play a full course like Banty’s Roost that’s ten minutes up the road for a few more dollars. Or Mayfield. Don’t think so.

  • I noticed in reading the course preview there is a slight mistake. You talk about the two par 4 holes and down through a bit further you talk about the mish-mash of par 4’s. Should this be par 3’s?that range up to the 200yrd . Looks great and i cant wait for it to open. Keep up the hard work and I hope to see you soon.

    Todd

  • Got an email from Turnberry they are not expecting to open till the Fall. By the looks of the course as of this morning its still got a ways to go.

  • Just thought I would add to the mix. I do like the idea of a short course to play after work close to home. In order for someone like myself to complete all 18 holes before dark, there would have to be a marshall to keep play moving along in a timely fashion. I finish the job at 5:00 PM and could be on the first tee at 5:30 PM.

    Do you take tee time bookings in advance?

    I will try the course once for sure, but depending on the way it is run it might be the only time.

    Jeff

  • Hi:

    I am delighted to see an 18 hole executive course opening in Brampton. I envision it as a family type course like Kettle Creek in Newmarket.

    My question is when the opening day is. Please post it on the website and also how soon will be able to book T-off times.

    Other information which would be appreciated will there be dining room or just a cafeteria style eating place. Will there be power carts. Has the green fees been determined.

    Thanks

  • I am so disappointed….I live minutes away and when I heard Eagles Nest was building this course I was getting my clubs ready. Playing nine holes or an executive course, I feel so unsatisfied. Too bad … why would Eagles Nest tease us like this! Oh well I hope they will have a good practice facility so that I can take my 7 yr old son.

  • hi jose888, i was just wondering why you are ‘disappointed’? have you walked the course and seen what this course is going to be, because i have, and i was very impressed with what i saw. this course is one of a kind, with two par fours over 400 yards, a driving range like no other, and 16 par threes that would fit in on any championship golf course, having played eagles nest, as well as other courses designed by carrick i cant wait to play here. plus i like the odds of 16 chances at an ace!

  • I live just 500 yards from this new golf course but when the course is going to open. Any clue for the current season ? Any feedback will be appreciated

  • I live just down the road and looking forward to it opening so my Wife and I can play a smaller course and walk it at the same time for some exersize, for all you golf pro’s out there and you know who you are, can go play a full 18 hole 72 par course elsewhere because my Wife and I will only slow you down.

    Also wondering, hope it’s licenced, I mean come on, I’m golfing with my Wife.

    Steve

  • Latest I heard from Turnberry (early July) is the Clubhouse 9/18 is opening this Fall 2009 for service. The course from my understanding has been delayed to the spring of 2010 now. I too live so close I can see the course from my home and was anxious for this to open this fall as they had previously indicated.
    I know that they are now hiring staff for the restaurant only and in fact had a job fair a few weeks back so they are preparing for the Clubhouse opening only. So at least there is some progress!!!

  • I too am disapointed. I expected a full 18 or 9 hole course. I will try it once, but not at 40 to 50 dollars. 20 to 30 is more reasonable.

    Saw the sign today as I drove by, schuled to open August 24th.
    Good Luck

  • methinks, if you look closely, the sign says the clubhouse restaurant will open on August 24th……looking out from my backyard I would be very surprised if the course itself was ready in a week.

  • as for the prices….this will be of higher quality than, say, Derrydale and they charge north of $45 for prime time.

    The parent course (similar quality but full course) charges $140 – $185 so is a newly built executive course of Carrick design with modern facilities located in the middle of a city of 500,000 people in an easy drive for most of the GTA worth $40 – $50….I think at that price point it will be very busy.

    If people are looking for a $20 round of golf (even on an executive course) I don’t know where I would direct them to!

  • Yes only the restaurant is open this week…course is not due to
    open anytime soon. Drove by the club house looks pretty nice…will be checking out the dining etc in the next couple of weeks.

  • if you navigate the site and check out golf and rates, and the course you will see what the costs as well it has a disclaimer that it will not be opening until the 2010 season.

  • Been to the club house for dinner two days in a row, and find it awesome. I’ve done my share of golfing and anyone who thinks this course is going to be easy better take it easy. Anyone can grip it and rip it. It’s the short game that makes the golfer, so good luck boys.

  • minor update……last week there were actually flags in the greens and tee blocks on the tee boxes.

    my wife reported seeing some employee looking people testing out the course!

    no doubt this will be open for play in the spring

  • Played here yesterday. Course is in great shape. Very challenging if you miss the green. Greens are very slow but putt true. Staff are very friendly and helpful. Visually lovely course and driving range.

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