Sep 25, 2020

Golf Course Review - Hockley Valley Resort Golf Course

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  9/25/2020 09:11:00 AM   Ontario Golf No comments

It's not often during these times of Covid-19 that you get a chance to get away for a few days and relax with family. Recently I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time at Hockley Valley Resort and of course play a couple of rounds at the Thomas McBroom designed golf course.

I was travelling down from the Sudbury area after spending a guys weekend golfing 72 holes on Manitoulin Island so got there in under 4 hours. The ladies were travelling from outside Ottawa and took them a little under 5 hrs. So getting to the resort will take you a bit of time depending where you're coming from so I'd suggest if you're headed to the resort stay at least a couple days to make your time more enjoyable.

As far as Covid-19 safety, both at the golf course and at the resort Hockley Valley Resort got top marks. Social distancing was easy with staff and other guests and protocols were always in place. At no time time did we feel unsafe. Great job Hockley Valley Resort.

Having played a few Tom McBroom designed golf courses before including Crowbush Cove, Camelot, and Deerhurst Highlands). I knew to expect some McBroom signature tiered greens; some longer carries from tee boxes as well as fairways that finish before they get to the green. 

Built in 1990 I was definitely excited to finally play the Hockley Valley Golf Course.

This write up is geared towards the golf side of Hockley Valley which started off great from all the helpful staff that made the rounds go smoothly including Luc in the Pro Shop, Bill the starter and the two cart girls that keep my bubble family hydrated over two days. Thanks.

This is a mountain resort golf course so no walking here as you'll need a cart to get you up the many mountainous passes that traverse the 18 holes at Hockley.

The golf course starts out with a pretty flat and mundane dogleg par 4 and basically blasts out of the gates from there with an uphill climb that includes one of the many downhill par 3s at Hockley Valley.

#4 The first par 5 at Hockley requires two precise shots to get close.

Most of Hockley's par 3s are downhill so picking a club will have you thinking especially if the wind is also swirling. Hole #3.

There's a variety of tee combinations you can play at Hockley from the tips at 6358 yds. to the forward tees at 4678 yds. We played a Gold/Green combo that measured 5582 yds. On a few holes there were long carries to the fairway. If I was Hockley I'd almost think of either extending some fairways or adding tee blocks to make it easier for beginner golfers or golfers who don't hit it far. Being a resort course you get quite the variety of golfers. So I think it would be beneficial for those type of golfers.

Every hole is so different at Hockley including #16 where your blind 2nd shot funnels down to a narrow landing area. Another design feature of Tom McBroom designed courses is that risk/reward element.

Spectacular views will have you in awe of this beautiful area of Ontario.

The highest point at Hockley is a fun risk/reward par 4 the 9th has some great views and some undulating rough. Birdie or double bogeys 

One of the best parts of staying at a Golf Resort is that you usually get pretty pampered by all the great food, accommodations, spa treatments and of course the golf course. 

We just happened to be playing our two rounds at the start of Fall but Ted and Jack who we played with our 2nd round gushed about how at the height of the Fall colours. Hockley is a must play if you're in the area. I think anytime of the season Hockley is a must play with the Resort offering so much to keep you happy and wanting to come back.

Hockley offers many Stay and Play packages be sure and check out their website for details to satisfy all levels of golfers.

Playing with family and new friends at a beautiful place like Hockley Valley Resort. That's what golf is about.  

Aug 28, 2020

Golf Course Review - The Homestead at Wolf Ridge Golf Course

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  8/28/2020 01:32:00 PM   No comments

Gus and I finally had a chance to play Homestead at Wolf Ridge Golf Course a few weeks ago and we came away wanting to return after such a great experience. We ended up splitting up our round over a weekend playing the front 9 one day and the back another day due mainly to the heat.

Homestead is a par 72 golf course that has 5 sets of tees that will challenge all levels of golfers. Right off the bat you have back to back par 5s which is great for those who don't have time to warm up on Homestead's beautiful range and practice facility(better then most in the city). You'll get your shots in on those holes and will then be warmed up for nice challenging mix of short and long par 3s, 4s, 5s. 

Unfortunately winter kill caused by the freezing and thawing affect of snow/ice over the winter caused some damage to the greens at Homestead. No matter the golf course is beautiful with the rolling hills from a former farm perfect for a day of golf. 

Although a bit of a drive from the city if you're up in the cottage country of Pembroke, Renfrew, Eganville,  or Algonquin Park area be sure and stop in and see Rose the GM of Homestead and her staff will set you up for a perfect day of golf. Her staff (Greg, Cameron, Katelynn) were fast, friendly and thoughtful and will have you wanting to return.

Aug 5, 2020

New Health & Safety Practices for Covid-19 - Pinehurst Resort/Pebble Beach Resort

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  8/05/2020 08:35:00 PM   No comments

The folks at Golf Trip Junkie have let me know of some new Health & Safety Practices for Covid-19 initiated by both resorts. In todays new world it's good to see positive steps are being taken at golf resorts. I know for me I haven't travelled to any this season as I'm apprehensive about Covid-19 protocols. I'm targeting this Fall for my first golf resort travel. :)

Pinehurst Resort Reopens with Necessary Precautions for Covid-19

By Golf Trip Junkie

Since reopening, Pinehurst Resort has taken the necessary steps during these changing times of Covid-19 to ensure their guests are safe while enjoying a memorable experience during their stay. They are diligent in following all of the guidelines issued by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and the state of North Carolina to play their role in the prevention of spread of Covid-19.

If they are notified that any guests or employees test positive for Covid-19, they will adhere to the CDC guidelines. In doing so, they will inform and consult with the local infectious disease specialists, as well as take the necessary steps to determine if anyone else was within close proximity to the individual that tested positive. At this point, if it is determined someone was in close proximity to the infected guest or employee, they will be notified.

Pebble Beach Resorts Reopens with New Health & Safety Practices for Covid-19

By Golf Trip Junkie

Pebble Beach Resorts has reopened to guests for lodging, golf and dining. They have developed a comprehensive plan, implementing new health and sanitization practices throughout the resort. These practices were put in place prior to their reopening on June 15th.

These practices, which can be traced back to leading healthcare experts, the Monterey County Health Department, as well as industry guidelines that have been published. Pebble Beach Resort, one of the leading resorts in the world, has mandated that the health and safety of their guests, employees and the Monterey community is paramount moving forward.

May 27, 2020

Covid 19 Musings - Family, mental health, golf

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  5/27/2020 07:52:00 AM   No comments
Some days it seems like a blur. The last few months a rollercoaster. When Covid 19 changed our lives and set our paths in a different direction. Who would have thought the term “social distancing” would enter into our lives so drastically.

My full time job as a mail carrier with Canada Post was deemed essential so I’ve been working during these changed times. My wife works from home now, my oldest just completed her first year university at Trent at home and my other two continue their schooling the best they can through online learning.

Quarantine mentality

There’s good days and some rough days. Some days it’s hard to keep it together

From a golf perspective:

  • I’ve managed to purchase online a rather limited edition expensive Putter Head cover from Bettinardi Putters and I don’t even own a Bettinardi Putter
  • I also purchased online a set of older Titleist AP1s that I had as a rental set in Costa Rica in January.
  • Borrowed a couple of pins/flags/cups from Rideau View for a nice chipping area in my backyard.
  • Golf Courses have open up for business across Ontario and Ive started working back at Rideau View Golf Course (my 7th season)

Apr 2, 2020

Pebble Beach, Pinehurst Closure Updates - COVID-19 Pandemic

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  4/02/2020 10:06:00 AM   No comments
Our friends at Golf Trip Junkie have given us an update as far as two of the worlds biggest golf resorts goes —Pebble Beach Resorts and Pinehurst Resort.

For most golf travel is not first on our minds yet I feel it's a must still to be connected to the golf community. To remain focused on a variety of things in our lives. So with the COVID-19 pandemic putting the majority of the travel industry on temporary shut down here's an update.

Press Releases
Pebble Beach Resort Temporary Closure & Trip Cancellations Through Golf Trip Junkie
By Golf Trip Junkie
With the current COVID-19 pandemic putting the majority of the travel industry on temporary shut down, one of the worlds biggest golf resorts—Pebble Beach Resorts—has extended their operational shut down, currently rescheduled to reopen on May 18, 2020. As the COVID-19 and the affects of it are a fluid situation, this date could change and extended further.
In the meantime, in terms of cancellation policies, it is business as usual for groups traveling to Pebble Beach after May 18, 2020. The cancellation policy remains at a full refund if cancelled prior to 14 days from day of arrival. Once inside that window, there are no changes or refunds. However, if flights continue to be grounded or there continues to be orders of no travel, Pebble Beach Resorts will look at it on a case by case basis, with the possibility of rescheduling within a certain period of time, with no refunds.
For groups that are scheduled to travel to Pebble Beach Resorts before May 18, there is the option of a full refund OR credit on file with the option to reschedule within one year.
When rescheduling, it is important to keep in mind that Pebble Beach Resorts and the Golf Travel Specialists at Golf Trip Junkie will experience an influx of reservations for future dates, therefore availability will be limited much earlier than normal. Prepare to play at least 10 months in advance for peak periods at Pebble Beach.

Pinehurst Resort Temporary Closure & Trip Cancellations Through Golf Trip Junkie
By Golf Trip Junkie
Pinehurst Resort, one the worlds leading golf resorts, has followed suit with many other golf properties by temporarily shutting down lodging and some dining options (those that are open are take-out only), while keeping their golf courses open for members and public play, of course, practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.During the closure, booking tee times on the most popular courses at Pinehurst Resort—Pinehurst No. 2, No. 4 and The Cradle Course—are open to non-resort guests 24 hours prior to day of play, while the other remaining golf courses are 5 days prior to day of play.
Pinehurst Resort temporarily closed on March 24, 2020 with the expectation to reopen on May 1, 2020.Leading up to the closure, Pinehurst relaxed their cancellation policy from 30 days prior to day of arrival to 48 hours prior to day of arrival. Inside of 48 hours from day of arrival refunds were issued minus the $300 per golfer deposit OR the full payments kept on file as a credit and rescheduled within one year. For groups scheduled during the temporary closure the option of full refunds were given or, if interested, rescheduled within one year.
Once the resort is reopened, it is expected that it will be business as usual for all groups booked directly through Pinehurst Resort or with Golf Trip Junkie.

Mar 26, 2020

Sun Mountain Bolsters H2NO Golf Bags

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  3/26/2020 08:14:00 PM   No comments
In these uncertain time it's sometimes good to take a step back literally and get away from your comfort zone. Maybe do something you might not normally do. As far as this blog goes I receive so many press releases daily that being a one man band I can usually just pick and choose.

Most that I choose I either have a working rapport with the company or it's a smaller company that just peaks my interest and I want to give them some exposure. The "little guy/girl" you might say.

Sun Mountain is certainly not a little company but their golf bags have always intrigue me. Whenever you see Sun Mountain golf bags whether it be in Golf Town or your local golf retailer. I find I radiate towards them; the colours, the style, the construction, the extras, the technology. The thing that makes me go "ahhh!" is the damn price.

Seems they have a new line of waterproof bags out, your thoughts? Keep safe.

Press Release

Sun Mountain Expands Waterproof Golf Bag Collection

Missoula, Montana – In 2007, after playing one too many tournaments in the rain, the innovators at SunMountain applied their rainwear expertise to building a waterproof golf bag. For 2020, that H2NO collection of waterproof golf bags includes a cart bag and two carry bags, each constructed with waterproof fabric, taped seams, and waterproof zippers. The full collection of H2NO golf bags is in stores now with retail prices from $289 - $329. For the retailer nearest you, call 800-227-9224 or visit
Sun Mountain’s waterproof golf carry bag options include the H2NO Lite 14-way and the H2NO Superlight. H2NO Lite 14-way offers a 10.5” diameter top with 14 individual club dividers, the E-Z Lite Dual Strap System shoulder straps and six pockets including a hydration sleeve, velour-lined valuables pocket, and full-length clothing pocket. Retail price is $299.

H2NO Superlight offers a 9” diameter top with four club divisions and six pockets and weighs less than 5 pounds. Among the six pockets are a hydration sleeve, full-length apparel pocket and multiple accessory pockets. H2NO Superlight incorporates the X-Strap System for easy-on, easy-off and it works well as a single strap for short carries. Retail is $289.

H2NO Staff Cart bag features a 9.5” diameter top with individual club dividers plus a putter tube and includes eight pockets offering a velour-lined valuables pocket, two full-length apparel pockets, range finder pocket, and cooler pocket. A cart strap pass-through runs behind the rangefinder pocket allowing unhindered access to all pockets and zippers when the bag is strapped to a cart.

For 30 years Sun Mountain has been a pioneer in the golf industry, revolutionizing golf bags, golf outerwear and golf carts. Sun Mountain's many innovations, including the first lightweight golf bag and modern stand bag, have made it the top golf bag company in North America. Within golf outerwear, SunMountain redefined golf-specific performance first with the windshirt, then fleece, and again with its four-way stretch, waterproof, and breathable rainwear. The Sun Mountain Speed Cart ® golf push cart transformed walking carts and created an entirely new category of golf products. Sun Mountain's "Ahead of Time Design" motto drives the company to continually design and refine golf equipment. For the SunMountain retailer nearest you call 800-227-9224 or visit

Mar 22, 2020

Discover the Hidden Side of Hilton Head Golf

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  3/22/2020 12:13:00 PM   hilton head golf No comments
While the PGA TOUR goes on a (hopefully) brief hiatus, we’re left with enough collective time to plan our next golf trip. And if jumping on an airplane doesn’t sound all that appealing right now, we’ve got good news: 80 percent of all South Carolina visitors arrive by car. 

Even from Canada, believe it or not, travel bans notwithstanding. 

That also pertains to the Palmetto State’s storied Lowcountry region, including Hilton Head, also known as “Golf Island.” While the RBC Heritage was cancelled along with all of April and most of May’s PGA TOUR events, Hilton Head, Bluffton and Beaufort still await traveling golfers from points north and south.  

From exclusive private courses and high-end resorts to must-play mid-tier daily fee layouts, the region is rife with golf options. It’s easy to unearth the wildly popular tracks, like Harbour Town and the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes. 

But dig a little deeper, call in a few favors or even pony up for a membership to go private, and golfers will discover a hidden side of Hilton Head golf to be fully explored and treasured.

May River Golf Club, Montage Palmetto Bluff

Located just off the island in idyllic Bluffton and originally opened in 2004, May River Golf Club has developed a reputation as of one of Jack Nicklaus’ finest designs. The Golden Bear returned in 2017 to restore the Signature layout to its first-class form. 

Nicklaus’ deft delineation between formal and native bunkers adds a unique design element architecture aficionados will appreciate. The layout meanders around the May River and coastal wetlands of Palmetto Bluff, and caddies educate golfers on optimal angles and club selection. 

Golfers can bed-down at the Montage Palmetto Bluff set within 20,000 acres of Palmetto Bluff’s maritime forest and surrounded by 32 miles of riverfront. The boutique features three pools, eight restaurants, a spa and a seemingly endless array of activities. 

The Club Course, Sea Pines Country Club

Sea Pines Country Club’s Club Course is a pure example of Lowcountry golf course design, with its narrow, tree-lined fairways, doglegs, subtle green complexes and languid lagoons. There’s a since of intrigue on every tee box of this Arnold Palmer-designed layout as to what style of hole comes next.

A private, invitation only club situated in Sea Pines Plantation, members are not required to live inside the gates to join. The club sets up perfectly for those relocating to Hilton Head or east Bluffton who want freedom of residential choice. As the saying goes, every Hilton Head visitor is a future resident, and every resident a future golfer. 

The Club Course, updated by Clyde Johnston in 2001, has even been referred to as “Little Harbour Town” due to its similarities to the Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus masterpiece just a sand wedge to the south. Apropos, given that original architect Palmer won the inaugural RBC Heritage in 1969 and incorporated many of Harbour Town’s design elements.

Old South Golf Links, Bluffton

Also designed by Johnston, Old South Golf Links is the only area public course playing along the Intracoastal Waterway. The front and back nine views, with McKay’s Creek and the Calibogue Sound in the distance, are among the best in the region, public and private venues considered. 

The variety of Lowcountry terrain is also fascinating – oak forest, pastures and tidal marshes are all on display, and in play. The finishing stretch, holes 16 through 18, is vintage Lowcountry with target fairways and greens requiring carries over marshland. Golf packages are offered with other area courses. 

One round at Old South and golfers will appreciate Johnston’s brilliant routing and subtle approach to Lowcountry golf course design. 

Atlantic Dunes, The Sea Pines Resort

Having opened in 2016, Atlantic Dunes is the newest course at The Sea Pines Resort, wrought from what was once the oldest course on Hilton Head Island. Originally the Ocean Course, Davis Love III, brother Mark and lead architect Scot Sherman completely overhauled the layout to present a pure coastal aesthetic.

Love Golf Design removed hundreds of aging trees (all environmentally approved), restored natural dune lines and added coquina shells and native seaside grasses. The par-3 15th hole is one of just two holes on the island with an unencumbered view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Oyster Reef

When Oyster Reef Golf Club on Hilton Head Island opened in 1982, it was recognized by many golf experts as one of the best new courses in the U.S., because of its fortunate location, a marquee designer in Rees Jones and a strategically compelling layout.

Playing to more than 7,000 yards with a 139-slope rating from the tips, Oyster Reef continues to be a place where golfers go to look for a challenge, as well as one of the most visually appealing courses in the entire region.

Getting There

Hilton Head is within a half-day’s drive of major Southeastern cities like Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh, and just over eight hours from Washington D.C. Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio — all popular golfer origins, are six to 12-hour drives. Golfers have two airport options, Savannah Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), or Hilton Head Airport (HHH) on the north end of the island. Service was once limited to HHH, but has been exponentially expanded with direct flights on Delta, American and United from nine major cities

By Shane Sharp

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