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.