Course: Eagle Creek Golf Club (Dunrobin, Ont)
Designer: Ken Venturi, 1991
The Scorecard: I often hear complaints from various regions that their courses are overlooked when it comes to rankings. The thought is always the same – my course (insert name here) is only overlooked because of Toronto bias and because we are located in (your pick – Calgary, New Brunswick, Ottawa, etc).
I’ve practically seen all of Score’s list, but Eagle Creek was missing. So during a recent July trip I went to see what I was missing.
Not much, it turns out. Eagle Creek is relatively flat, peppered with ponds and huge waste bunkers. It certainly has a handful of good holes, but between the overshaping and the modern features, I’m not sure I see its appeal.
• The property is both a positive and negative. Given thick woodlands, and with the land at Eagle Creek relatively flat aside from the hill where the clubhouse is set, the course is an easy walk. On the other hand, it also seemed swampy in places and I was told there are several holes that are chronically wet.
• Greens. Yes, some are a touch over the top, and often quite small for a modern course, but I quite liked most of the greens at Eagle Creek. In general I though the greensites for the course were quite good and I didn’t mind the mounding around them, unlike the fairway mounding (see bogeys).
• The closer. Okay, a risk/reward par five with a big pond is cliché, and one with a finger that sticks out into the pond has been done to death, but I still liked the closer at Eagle Creek, and though the big green with the bunker on the center of the approach worked well.
• Mounds, mounds everywhere. Tons of containment mounding on this course, right from the start and used in strange places (like the awful par five
second hole where the mounding is apparently designed to add definition to the outside of the fairway). In places it ruins natural holes (take the mounding between 5 and 6, for example.) Venturi may have had some skill, but he didn’t have any subtlety.
• Bunkering. There’s an odd mix of style at Eagle Creek, including massive, modern waste areas, many of which seemed to flood with rainwater, and more traditional bunkering around the greens. I didn’t mind the stuff around the greens, but the waste areas defined the course in a specific timeframe.
• Narrowness. Since it isn’t that long (I played the next-to-back deck at 6,600 yards), I wasn’t altogether surprised at how tight Eagle Creek is in places, but it really calls for one shot – the one that finds the fairway. Given the density of the trees, shots that missed would often disappear, leaving no room for recovery.
The Final Tally
Eagle Creek has often hovered in and around SCOREGolf’s Top 100. I must admit there are other courses in the Ottawa area – Royal Ottawa, Rivermead, Ottawa Hunt – that deserve more attention and a ranking. Frankly I didn’t see the appeal of Eagle Creek. It is located a ways out of town on swampy, wet land. It is overly narrow and tricked up in spots. Sure there are some standout holes – I quite liked the downhill opener, and the 9th hole, with water down the right was solid, though something I’ve seen many times – but not enough to really make the course standout. Solid as a public course, but doesn’t stand up to the best public or private in the rest of the country.