Bayview Golf and Country Club lies close to the centre of Toronto and it offers its members a wide range of sporting activities, including swimming, tennis, curling and golf.
The course is a par 72 Robbie Robinson layout, set in a gently undulating, forested landscape with splashes of water featuring from time to time as the gently doglegged fairways weave their way through the property.
Doug Carrick has had a hand in recent developments on the course, as he explains: “our work at Bayview has taken place over ten years or more and has ranged from remodeling all the bunkers on the golf course to the re-building of the 10th green, new tees on the 16th hole and some design work for a future short game practice area.”
Lady professionals first competed in the Canadian Women’s Open at Sunningdale in 1966 when Kathy Whitworth won the inaugural event. Carol Mann triumphed at the same venue twelve months later before the tournament switched to Bayview for a couple of years.
Carol Mann won the 1968 Open here and was succeeded by Sandra Haynie the following year. Interestingly, in over 40 years of competition since then, the clubs at Sunningdale and Bayview have never again hosted the event.
Located in the heart of a quiet residential neighbourhood in north Toronto, Bayview Golf & Country Club is a hidden gem. While it feels old and established, it serves up an impressive number of surprises.
The course is in impeccable shape. From tee to green, you can feel a sense of pride. This mature layout offers wider fairways that are well-defined. Like most private courses, the rough, in and around the large deciduous trees, is well-manicured, making it easier to escape.
The sand is soft and consistent. The large greens are fast and run true with minimal undulations. Many of the putting surfaces are raised and as my kind host, Toby, wisely advised, ‘most putts slope to the west.’
There are six sets of tees to choose from starting at 5470 yards and extending to 7070 from the back. I was smart to play from the white tees at just under 6300 yards since it certainly plays longer then it appears.
There is no easing into your round as, contrary to standard practices, architect Robbie Robinson designed the first two holes as par-5s. Bring out the big guns but be careful of the greenside bunkers. In contrast, the picturesque 3rd hole is only 311 yards, but your approach shot needs to stay left to avoid the giant willow tree, the pond plus the two bunkers protect the large, raised green.
#7 is a 419-yard dogleg left par-4 that is ranked #1 on the course. Beware, if you hit your drive left, you will be blocked by another formidable willow tree. Your long approach is to a raised green is made more challenging with two bunkers left and right.
As we turn, I soon realize the front nine has a subtly contoured terrain, whereas the back nine offers many more elevation changes.
The 10th sets the pace. This unique hole is only 325 yards but do not be fooled; you will need to hit a hybrid downhill to clear the corner, but not too far on this severe dogleg left. From there, you face an extreme uphill approach guarded by two bunkers.
11 is a tough, 452-yard par-5 that plays all uphill protected by two large bunkers on your approach shot.
17th is only 150 yards but plays straight downhill with a river on the right and a bunker of the left.
The 18th is a great finishing hole. It is only 332 yards, but you must stay right of the pond - trying to carry it is very risky. Be prepared to take a straight uphill approach. Anything short or left will funnel back towards you. I’d suggest you take at least three extra clubs.
The GPS equipped carts speed up play, but I noticed that most of the members were using pushcarts. Overall, the layout is easy to walk except when you have to climb the 18th. I guarantee it will leave you puffing yet wanting for more.
Bayview Golf & Country Club is just one of those golf courses where you wish you could be a member. Not only does it have a championship golf course, but the sprawling recently renovated clubhouse has enough room for any meeting or event. They also offer members curling and tennis and access to a gigantic swimming pool and a state-of-the-art fitness facility that includes a golf simulator.
Bayview is currently ranked the 59th best golf course in Ontario by the Top 100 Golf Courses of the World, but I would rate it higher.
Dave Finn is a 5-time award-winning golf travel writer and photographer from Canada. To follow his adventures visit: www.golftravelandleisure.com