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Course Review: Greystone Golf Club (Milton, Ont)

The 17th hole at Greystone -- a little more restraint would have made the course feel a little less forced.

Course Review: Greystone Golf Club (Milton, Ont.)
Designer: Doug Carrick (1991)

The Scorecard: Greystone will always be a bit of a polarizing course. Some will see its long vistas and significant elevation changes and come away with the impression that this is one of Doug Carrick’s best. Others will see it as a bit over-shaped considering the natural landscape and be maddened by its greens.
I’m somewhere in between. I think Greystone is not among Carrick’s best. I find it slightly over-shaped, with areas of land graded into small rolls that often appear unnatural, and though the greens can be confounding, that’s some of the course’s charm. Overall it isn’t as strong as Carrick’s later work at Osprey Valley, Eagles Nest and Humber Valley. Copper Creek is a better version of this – right down to the shaping.

The fourth hole, a long par 5, has a terrific tee shot over a cross bunker and a nice green setting.

Birdies: There are a couple of standout holes, but they are scattered over the routing. The course starts out sort of plainly with a short par 5 – never an ideal opener – and then comes to one of the blandest holes on the course – a flat par 3. It gets better from there, including the terrific par 5 fourth, which then plays into one of the most intriguing parts of the property. The golf course is very solid through the rather plain 9th, and doesn’t truly pick up until the short 15th, a drivable par 4 that is among Carrick’s best efforts. The 16th with its large drop off the tee is fun, and though the course doesn’t end that strongly, the conclusion is still better than the start.

The 12th and 13th holes -- at the high point of the property -- have a certain similar quality.

Bogeys: A weak start doesn’t help, and there’s a strange mix of holes – with flattish holes opening the course and the back nine. Carrick also offers two decidedly similar holes – the mid-length uphill 12th and the downhill 13th. One can’t help but feel that there are also too many bunkers on several holes, almost always set to the left side (see the 6th and the 17th.) It makes the course feel awfully busy in places where a little restraint would have benefited in making the course feel a bit more natural. I’d argue that Carrick’s best work is more restrained when it comes to bunkering, with fewer bolder bunkers replacing the multitudes used at Greystone. Though it has nothing to do with the design, the range at Greystone is irksome. Who wants to hit balls into a hillside?

The Final Tally: Like King Valley, the course that led directly to the development of this course, Greystone feels slightly aged and hard to love. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing badly designed on the course, no clunker hole that is so off-putting that you want to stay away. But given the fact the elevation changes make it a difficult walk (though not as bad as I expected, and I walked all 18 on a warm day), and the lack of a truly great hole or two, I see Greystone as a better-than-average private course, with below-average practice facilities. The clubhouse is still lovely with a nice patio.
Score: B

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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.

14 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Robert, I find you review to be a relatively fair assessment. The spot I would disagree are the greens. I find them offesive in spots, particularly in high season when the speed gets quick. If you are not in the right quandrant of almost every green then putting become completely defensive. I am to understand that many of these greens have settled over the years making the grade more severe. Take, for example, the par-4 12th and par-3 14th greens that pitch so dramtically from back to front it borders on being unfair. If all greens were blown up and re-grading I think Greystone would be a much-improved golf course.

  • RT, I thought the 3rd and 18th holes are really majestic. Green on 10 too severe if the pin is front right. Its a stern test though.

  • Why not raise mowing heights on the greens? Increase plant health and make the greens “putt-able.”

    No one seems to offer this solution.

  • I love the property. I like the course. I hate when they put pins on slopes. While the escarpment effect means the greens are tough, none are ‘unfair’

    People complaining about having to hit to the right quadrant might be more angry at their own golf game than Carrick. Last time I checked you get rewarded for hitting it close, not for missing by 40 feet. You guys may also want to skip an invitation to Augusta National. The greens there are far faster and far more sloped and sectioned than those at Greystone. Despite this, Augusta enjoys a reputation as one of the top 5 courses on earth.

    Again though, if they cut a pin in a stupid spot it makes you wonder if they’re trying to destroy their own reputation. I’ve seen enough folks leave Greystone saying things like ‘I’ll never be back’ etc.

    I’ve played it 50-75 times over the past 10 years and will definitely be back. Soon.

  • it is true, you cant cut the greens here as tight as you can at other places. and many have complained about pin positions and that has more to do with educating the maintenance staff, maybe a few more golfers on staff wouldnt hurt, but overall this course makes you take all your clubs out of the bag, from a golf “playability” factor its a ten

  • While the course is fine at Greystone, and the facilities have the makings to be a nice wedding venue, trust me your guests will be dissappointed. Other than the view, the rest of the wedding will leave you guests totally unsatisfied. The staff is so inept in handling the function, it is almost comical. From the catering manager down to the servers, all have an angry look on their faces and the service is reflective of that. I have never seen a more disgruntled set of staff in my life, and to have your guests treated like dirt, is purely shocking. The food is not very good, acceptable for a golf course, but definitely not a wedding. The servers constantly splash your guests with food and show their poor training right away. They are understaffed and underqualified to do Weddings and probably most functions were class and decorum is nessessary. You can tell this course is just a one trick pony, having a hard time getting revenue, so has tried to lure unsuspecting newlyweds to their demise by promising the world and delivering nothing but a view. Treat your guests with more respect and go ANYWHERE else for your function. The view is nice but l suggest you run, don’t walk from this trap and avoid the biggest mistake of your life. Let the professionals handle your wedding or function, not a bunch of wannabe amateurs. Just go for the golf and leave. Good luck!

    • Yes, l completely agree with your assessment. I feel sorry for the poor newlyweds that actually book this club for a wedding and must undergo the embarasement of a poorly run function on what should be a special day. It’s true that the staff is incompetent, since our experience had most guests covering up with napkins when staff was around due to the massive amounts of spillage occuring with both the food and beverage. It’s almost like they have no training at all. And you are right with the attitudes too. We found them to be the most displeasing, pathetic group of servers we have ever encountered….and for it to be a wedding of all places….shamefull. Try and stay away from Courtney if you can. Not only is she unattractive and difficult to look at but she may gore you with utensils unintentionally, since she is completely useless, except for a big mouth. I wonder if we were at the same wedding since all the guests at ours were quite dissappointed as well. Sadly, the bigger problem was that many were sick later from the terrible food. Thankfully, most recovered after it passed through them. I would have to agree that any couple thinking of having there wedding here, should really consider not inviting guests…That way the only people who will be disappointed is themselves.

  • Robert, I find you review to be a relatively fair assessment. The spot I would disagree are the greens. I find them offesive in spots, particularly in high season when the speed gets quick. If you are not in the right quandrant of almost every green then putting become completely defensive. I am to understand that many of these greens have settled over the years making the grade more severe. Take, for example, the par-4 12th and par-3 14th greens that pitch so dramtically from back to front it borders on being unfair. If all greens were blown up and re-grading I think Greystone would be a much-improved golf course.

  • Why not raise mowing heights on the greens? Increase plant health and make the greens “putt-able.”

    No one seems to offer this solution.

  • I love the property. I like the course. I hate when they put pins on slopes. While the escarpment effect means the greens are tough, none are ‘unfair’

    People complaining about having to hit to the right quadrant might be more angry at their own golf game than Carrick. Last time I checked you get rewarded for hitting it close, not for missing by 40 feet. You guys may also want to skip an invitation to Augusta National. The greens there are far faster and far more sloped and sectioned than those at Greystone. Despite this, Augusta enjoys a reputation as one of the top 5 courses on earth.

    Again though, if they cut a pin in a stupid spot it makes you wonder if they’re trying to destroy their own reputation. I’ve seen enough folks leave Greystone saying things like ‘I’ll never be back’ etc.

    I’ve played it 50-75 times over the past 10 years and will definitely be back. Soon.

  • I attended a wedding there this summer. Wow, it was one of the best events with exceptional service I can remember. I think the 2 reviews above most have been pissed off with their fat wives sitting beside them more than anything else. Am I right guys, really?

  • Funny…not one comment about the 3 temporary greens last year…the 15th green that is dead this year…the start-of-the-season new tee decks that are destroyed now…the lack of maintenance in Greystone.

    Anyone that has been there since the beginning would see the condition has gone steadily downhill over the past 4 years and Clublink doesn’t seem to care.

    Having played many other courses in the Clublink franchise, Greystone is in the worst condition and raising questions leads to nothing but excuses. We have heard it all…

    Disheartening as it was once the gem in the Clublink family…

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