Our return to Granite Golf Club just north of Toronto in Stouffville, Ontario was yet another opportunity to confirm what we have known for quite some time now. One of the Top 10 conditioned courses in Canadian Golf Magazine’s last ranking of the best conditioned courses in Canada, it has always been an under the radar Tom McBroom design.
Prior to 0ur first visit, we tried to gather as much information as possible about the golf course but came up with fairly little. Some told us they heard Granite has one of the best practice facilities in Canada, others said the course had a lot of environmentally sensitive areas, but almost all of them said the conditions are always spectacular. So with little in the way of information in regards to the layout itself, we were excited to head on over for a look.
What we found that first time and what continues to be there is a very strong golf course that fly’s under the radar more than it should. Visually, the course is a delight, and yes, the turf conditions are some of the best we’ve ever experienced thanks to course superintendent Phil Scully. We hadn’t seen the bunkering prior to the rework, but McBroom did a great job as the bunkers are now a strong point.
The front nine at Granite works its way around some of the aforementioned environmentally sensitive areas, but isn’t worse for it. In fact, there are some very good holes on the front and there is no awkwardness in the routing — something environmental areas tend to create.
The opener is a good indication of what you’ll find for the rest of your round — great conditions, simple strategy, good bunkering and some gentle movement in the land. At the par-5 2nd, golfers will find a bunkerless green featuring some interesting contours. Come to think of it, there are a couple of bunkerless greens (i.e. 7, 12, 17) that are very memorable.
With so many sensitive areas, you would think there would be some strange holes at some point, but there aren’t. The only knock we might have for the front nine is that it can be a little penal in places. The par-3 4th, for example, is a do or die par-3 (though there is a bailout area to the left of the green). Other than that, we’ve always been fond of the 5th, 6th and 8th — all par 4s — and the par-5 9th.
The back nine is also particularly strong and plays over more varied terrain. A few extra tumbles provide additional interest, like at the par-4 12th or the par-5 13th, which works its way up to an elevated green.
Despite being a modern golf course, Granite has a sort of classic feel. Simple strategies and plenty of lateral movement make it that way. The finishing stretch is also very good with the redan like par-3 15th, the long par-4 16th and 17th green complex being especially memorable.
When it comes to the practice facilities, those we spoke to had it bang on and it’s only been getting better over the years. Granite is home to one of the finest practice facilities we have seen, not only in Canada, but anywhere. In addition to a double-sided, 350 yard driving range with real and artificial turf and a short game academy with a covered teaching deck, there’s a three hole short course that works its way around a pond and now an amazing 9-hole chipping course to make you never want to leave.
Overall, Granite is a great all-around club. The golf course is simply one of McBroom’s more underrated designs, probably because not enough people have played it, or, maybe, they just expect something different for some reason.
We’ll tell you one thing, there’s not much more we would ask for from a golf club, and if you’re like Al Bundy (married with children), the whole place is super family friendly.
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