The King’s Forest layout was designed by former parks foreman Matt Broman, who was 76 years of age at the time, and Rod Goodes, Head Professional at Chedoke Civic Golf Club from 1965 to 1990. Laid out on a rolling 250-acre landscape, the course measures just over 7,000 yards from the back markers, which was a monumentally long municipal course to construct back in the early 1970s.
Featuring a number of elevated tee shots, several challenging doglegged fairways and half a dozen holes that cross the Red Hill Creek, the course is nestled in the foot of the scenic Niagara Escarpment, close to downtown Hamilton. The addition of irrigation ponds and other course improvements in recent times has brought this municipally owned and operated layout to national prominence.
The signature hole on the layout is the 395-yard 11th, where the tee shot at this spectacular par four hole drops more than a hundred feet from the tee box to a tree-lined fairway that bends slightly left to the green. This visually stunning hole is also the shortest of the ten two-shotters on the scorecard, with each of the other nine holes on this parkland track measuring in excess of 400 yards off the tee.
When I stand up the 1st tee box, looking down the dogleg right fairway, recalled another huge muni course, Bethpage Black's 1st tee. Don't get me wrong, I am not to compare. King's Forest is good muni course in Canada. It has the classic taste and requires straight tee shots. Lots of green are elevated and guarded by nice placed bunks. A good thing I should bring it up is the bunk maintenance - not like those rock solid bunks in most of courses at this time of Covid-19 pandemic. Definitely will come back to play more.
Pound for pound, I can't think of a better value course with rounds as low as $42. Based on that, it's an absolute steal. The course is tight and challenging with several tough stretches, no more so than 10, 11, and 12. There are a few weak holes thrown in and the condition, particularly the bunkers, isn't always perfect. Having said that, there are enough testers there to keep your round honest. The layout is superb both running up and down an escarpment and across a river, with one or both coming into play on nearly every hole.
Best Hole: 11- A visually spectacular Par 4 with a hundred foot drop onto a narrow fairway, with trees lining both sides and a stream in front of the fairway. A good drive is required as anything topped, left or right will be gone.
Average - that's how I would describe Kings Forest. It's nice for a muni, but I always scratch my head as to why it is ranked so highly in Ontario and Canada for golf. The course is well kept for a municipal golf course, but compared to other high end facilities which it is ranked alongside it falls short. Some of the holes are well designed, but many offer blind shots with its hilly terrain. I would not describe this course as a must play even though it is ranked within the top 100 courses in Canada. Take your money down the highway to Niagara and play one of Whirlpool, Battlefield, Ushers Creek or Grand Niagara.
Best value in Southern Ontario. Very challenging course off the tee. Many tight driving holes. Lots of elevation change and many interesting holes because of it. Rounds can be slow due to the crowds and the challenging nature of the course.