In 1923, Governor General Lord Byng officially opened the Old course at Ashburn when he struck the inaugural tee shot on the club’s newly constructed course though it would take another three years before all eighteen holes were fully operational.
Designed by the legendary figure of Stanley Thompson, the par-67 Old course is a short, tight layout that has largely managed to preserve much of its original charm and, as such, it’s still the same pleasant green oasis that Halifax golfers have known and loved down the years.
With a total yardage measuring a measly 5,158 yards, it’s no surprise to discover only one of the par fours on the card (the 421-yard 17th) plays in excess of 400 yards. Back to back par threes feature at the 7th and 8th holes with delightful short par fours concluding both the front and back nine.
Old Ashburn is a wonderful old throwback, Stanley Thompson course. Do not be turned off by the par 67 and yardage 5196.
The first hole is a short welcoming dogleg left with a generous landing area. There is a front right bunker. The 2nd is a mid-yardage par three. It is the longest par three with a very small green. The 3rd is a good birdie oppty. Straightaway short par 4. The 4th is the longest par four on the front and the number one handicap hole. The 5th, 7th and 8th are par threes ranging in yardage from 155 to 175. The front ends with a short dogleg left with woods on the inside elbow. I tried to go for it and was found wanting.
The back starts with a short par three over water. Don’t be deceived, this hole looks easy. In our group we had one par and only two balls on the green, which is very small. The 11th is a heavily wooded dogleg left with a small water carry. You can drive thru this fairway, ideal tee shot is a high draw. If you do not hit this tabletop green, you will have a tough up and down. The uphill 12th leans right. Left of center is best off the tee, there is a greenside bunker front right. The short par 4 13th will tempt you. The green is elevated and has a front bunker left. I overcooked it into the left water hazard. Consider laying up. The 14th is not a long par four, but the hole slants right to left. My draw never had a chance. A high fade is the preferred tee shot. The approach is downhill to one of the largest greens on the course. The 15th is the shortest hole on the course with water and a bunker left. The only par is the 16th hole. It is downhill, OB right and trees left. It is easily reachable with greenside bunkers left and right. The 17th is the longest par four. Favor left of center off the tee and hope for a good lie on this undulating fairway. A stream cuts in front of this elevated green. The 18th is an awesomely fun finishing hole. A raised green with a false front and bunkers front right and left it is driveable. I hit a high draw and it looked good all the way, couple of bounces between the bunkers and it looked like it was about to sneak onto the green when it stopped rolling. Darn. My playing partner was about to hit, when I noticed that it had in fact started rolling again, but the wrong way. I chili dipped my first pitch and then surprisingly shook it off and holed the next one out. Fun hole that ran the gamut of emotions.
Fun course. I would pay to play it again and so should you.