Preview: The Raven at Lora Bay

In June, when the weather was warmer and I was sitting on my deck sipping a Coke, I had an opportunity to speak with Tom Lehman via phone while he was driving back from Collingwood. Lehman had been working on The Raven at Lora Bay, an Intrawest golf course that he was creating with Tom McBroom. I have little faith in PGA Tour pros when it comes to golf course design — it appears more like a marketing vehicle than it does a true interest in golf architecture. More about taking the money and doing a ribbon cutting than figuring out where drainage tiles and greenside bunkers should go.
It appears that Lehman may actually be different. He appeared on site far more than Tom McBroom expected, and even took the time to see some of Toronto’s interesting golf courses, like Toronto Golf and St. George’s.

Anyway, with that in mind, here are some shots from the course, which will open next summer (photos are courtesy of Tom McBroom). It appears the bunker style is more reminiscent of McBroom’s mid-period work, as opposed to the scruffy faced bunkers he’s created more recently at places like Firerock. It is interesting how this style of bunkering has so quickly fallen out of vogue. Starting with the reworked St. George’s, scruffy, wild looking bunkers have cropped up in a number of places, including McBroom’s Ambassador Club, the reworked Weston Golf Club and The Club at Bond Head. Of course much of this is influenced by the re-establishment of the classicists through the work of Tom Doak and Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

Regardless, McBroom and Lehman chose a more conservative style of bunker, though the lines and faces still look quite bold and distinctive. In other places, like the photo with Georgian Bay in the backdrop, the course has some of the aesthetics that were witnessed in the Georgian Bay Club, which is not suprising considering it is located on a site not too far away.

On first inspection, and without having seen the course, it looks like a relatively friendly resort course, not out of line with McBroom’s recent work at Wildfire near Peterborough. My judgement is reserved on this one for the time being.

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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.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I had the opportunity to play at the new course called Raven at Lora Bay, it was the best course I have ever played. The staff was very helpfull they treated me like a King. As for the lay-out of the course I enjoyed every hole. When you step up to the tee you had to make sure of the placement of your shot, as the bunkers come into play. I hit six of the seventy bunkers that are on the course, but I had the best day of golf ever, it was more fun then getting my two hole in ones. I would go back and play your course in a heart beat. Well Mr. Lehman and Mr. McBroom I thank you for the game of my life. Thanks from Jack Watson Owen Sound Ontario

  • I like the reviews, but cannot find anything about the course in any rankings, listings or sites. I only live an hour from this area and have only heard of it once. Can you give me an address or website for this course.

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