Sep 12, 2013

The Golf Club at Lora Bay Golf Course Review

A few weeks ago, I  played at The Golf Club at Lora Bay with my Father-in-law. I was visiting my kids, who were staying with family in the Georgian Bay area, and a good friend suggested I play Lora Bay as it was the "best course" in the area.

Located just minutes west of Thornbury, Ontario, Lora Bay is a 7,200-yard championship layout co-designed by PGA Tour Professional Tom Lehman and Canada’s premier golf course architect Thomas McBroom.

Needless to say, I was pumped to play the course. I remember watching on TSN the Telus Skins Game, which Lora Bay hosted back in 2007.

The first hole is a beauty.  Great view overlooking the shores of Georgian Bay. Although the fairway is generous, I played a hybrid to ensure I hit the fairway. Your second shot is the all-important, over a creek to a green that slopes quite pronounced back to front. I managed a double even though I was middle up of the fairway for my second shot. Did I mention the sloping green? This is the #3 Handicap hole.

Onward, I ended up parring the next two holes, including #3, which was the longest par 3 I played at Lora Bay. Although it's the largest green on the course, with water and bunkers down the left side, this is one intimidating par 3. My Father-in-law had a bit of an odyssey on this hole. Be sure to pick the right club and let it rip.

I managed a bogey on the first par 5, #4, a dogleg right hole that has some bite with well-placed bunkers but shouldn't be too difficult for most from any tee deck.

Number 5 is an excellent par 4 where you can let it fly with the driver. The fairway is generous, although the bunkers can be intimidating.

While #6 has many bunkers (9) to navigate your closing hole on the front, there are none, and it could be more spectacular from the tee. When you hit your second shot to a smallish green overlooking Georgian Bay, you get a beautiful vista. Take a picture. You'll want to remember this hole regardless of your score.

Opening the back 9 at Lora Bay #10 gives you some breathing room. I managed to be just off the back part of the green in two but couldn't get it close enough for a make-able birdie putt, as this green has many slopes. For the first time in a while, I was actually disappointed in a par.

#11 was one of my favourite holes to play, although my score could have been better. The old barn in the background is a perfect visual setting for golfing on the Nipissing Ridge. From any tee deck, this hole is a beast. 

You can score well with smart decisions in holes #13 and #14, especially with #14, where, depending on wind conditions, the driver might not be the best choice.

The Par 3 15th is another hole at Lora Bay where you might want to get out your iPhone for a picture. The hole drops over 200 feet to a heavily bunkered green that slopes back to the front again. This isn't a shot you hit that often, so have fun with it—I did.

Hole #16: I didn't really like the way the tee shot was designed. You couldn't see your tee shot land, and it hit a hill. All that aside, once you get to your tee shot, this hole is one beautiful par 5. The hole narrows along the plateau to a green set amongst trees. I managed a birdie on this hole!

Number 18, the closing hole at Lora Bay, gives great views of the beautiful Clubhouse and Georgian Bay. We soaked it in, as it was a perfect Summer round of golf with friends.

I can't say enough good things about the staff at Lora Bay, especially the starter and the lad who got our bags/cart (very friendly and helpful).  Lora Bay is definitely worth the drive wherever you're coming from. The scenic views of Georgian Bay and the Blue Mountain Escarpment were terrific while golfing. The course was in excellent condition, and even though it took me a while to figure out the greens, I managed a respectful 92 on a lovely Saturday. I'll definitely be back!

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