Course Review: Oshawa Golf and Curling Club
Architect: George Cumming/Bill Mitchell/others
The Scorecard: Oshawa is one of those members’ clubs that doesn’t get the attention nor respect it deserves. Some of that is because of its location, far enough from the GTA to remain obscured by the bigger, wealthier, more exclusive private clubs. Some of it is because the course is relatively small and intimate, not the kind of big million-dollar modern project that garners so much attention, often through splashy photos.
That said, Oshawa has moments that are quite delightful, and holes that are both architecturally intriguing and make great use of some fine land. Those moments are off-set by a weak close and the need for some significant tree removal. At the moment trees block shot options on several holes (#4, #8, #9, #10, #16 and #17 could use a chain saw), which is unfortunate as the bones of a really strong, classic course are still there in the ground.
• The course starts off with a bit of a quirky, mid-length opener that doesn’t exactly allow one to smack away with a
driver. But Oshawa isn’t that sort of a course. The green on the first hole – relatively small and angled so the approach has to be carefully struck to avoid the bunkers – is indicative of what you find on most of the course.
• The land. While some of the front nine is flat, there are numerous examples of strong natural landforms at Oshawa. The second and the eighth holes on the front are fine examples of terrific use of the tumbling terrain, while on the back the par 5 11th, with its rolling fairway and raised green site, and the majestic 13th – surely one of the best long par 4s in Ontario – demonstrate the highs at Oshawa.
• The short 4 10th comes at a bit of an awkward spot in the routing, but is a great example of a risk/reward hole where one can go at the green with a driver, or play more conservatively down the right side with an iron.
• Trees. As mentioned there are plenty of spots where Oshawa is simply too tight. Nowhere is this more obvious than on the 16th, where a tree on the right of the fairway blocks approaches to a slightly raised green. Heck, you can be five yards into the fairway on the right side here and still not have a shot at the green. Seemed silly to me.
• The conclusion. The golf course is exceptionally solid through to the 14th hole, an awkward dogleg right over a ravine that is followed by a par 5 that while intriguing enough, doesn’t have the feel of the previous holes. The 17th is a short throwaway, while the 18th is a strong enough par 3, but it feels a bit anticlimactic ending on a one-shot hole.
• There are several holes that are devoid of natural features and rely on the trees to add variety, namely four through seven.
The Final Tally:
Oshawa could use a pruning, but even as it stands it is a very solid tier-two golf club that should probably garner some more attention. Some subtle tweaking – especially on the final few holes – would yield a stronger closing. Maybe there’s a different routing that doesn’t end on a par 3? Still, it is a course that is enjoyable and requires one to think your way around – no bash and gouge found at this one.
4 CommentsLeave a comment
Interesting article, what tweaking would you do on the last three holes to make it more interesting and a stronger finish?
Mark: Not sure what I’d do, but I’d take a bunch of trees down to start with. The short four is artificially difficult because of the trees and the fact that you basically can’t go for the green because of the folliage. The 18th is fine, and might even make a good closer if the previous holes weren’t so weak. My feeling is there must be another way of getting to the loop that makes up 16-18, so they end up as 10-12, and you finish on the par 5.
They tout themselves as an historic Stanley Thompson course- you don’t mention him and list other designers. Why is that?
FM: Because I don’t think Thompson did much there.