The faux links course at Cobble Beach lies on the rocky clifftops that overlook Georgian Bay and it’s yet another design from the prolific Doug Carrick.
Holes are routed around a substantial residential development but – despite the fact that only four of the fairways (8, 9, 17 and 18) actually hug the coastline – the sparkling waters of Lake Huron can still be viewed from most points on the layout.
The architect has done well to deliver a course where fairways – peppered by small pot bunkers – pitch and roll over a dramatically contoured landscape with some of the most interesting holes laid out well away from the shore.
Nevertheless, there has been some criticism directed at the severity of the greens, with claims that they are too demanding, whilst the par fives on holes 9, 12 and 17 have been branded a little too bland due to the unimaginative use of water on each hole.
On the front nine, the 486-yard 4th is a wildly-contoured monster of a par four and the 7th is a fantastic par five that plays downhill towards the lake. On the back nine, holes 11 and 15 are strong short par fours whilst the 17th is a stunning downhill par three.
Course architect Doug Carrick commented as follows:
Inspired by California’s legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links and other great seaside courses of the world, Cobble Beach Golf Links is on its way to becoming a destination unto itself.
While some developers would be hard pressed to take a chance on building a master planned golf community three hours north of the GTA, founder Willis McLeese went the extra mile with a commitment to excellence every step of the way. We embraced that passion for the 574-acre property to produce a 1,000 residential unit project with a layout that twists, turns and plunges across a one-of-a-kind shoreline property. An interesting aspect of the project included working with archaeologists to preserve navigational heritage sites along the water’s edge.
We were quite fortunate that the owners agreed with our vision to route the golf course along the scenic water’s edge, which maximized the value of the residential land by having a dramatic golf course along the bluffs with views of the water from every hole. Small pot bunkers, closely mown chipping areas and hollows surrounding the greens provide the fast-running, bump-and-run characteristics typical of the great links courses that define the timeless Cobble Beach experience.
I played here in 2020, mid pandemic (one hopes). The first 4 holes are a little dull in comparison to the rest, and the course doesn't really get going until you arrive at the 6th green where the Bay comes into view. The greens are extremely challenging and it was very helpful to play with a very kind member who gave me a head's up of the disaster waiting to happen when a 2 foot putt becomes a 40 foot putt back up the hill. One never quite lost the feeling that you were playing through an unfinished subdivision, something I don't like even if it's finished. Probably overrated in the whole scheme of things compared to other courses I've played, but definitely a good experience.
Best course I play. Innisbrook-Copperhead is a close second. Bayhill, Glen Abbey, PGA Champion, Tiburon are close. Love the spongy greens that role well and true. Course is fair but you need to hit it good. Incredible views of the Georgian Bay. Always a pleasure to play.