The golf course at Muskoka Bay Club sits at “The Gateway to the Muskoka Lake District” and it’s within this rugged landscape that Doug Carrick designed a layout that blends in beautifully with its surroundings.
Part of a large residential development, the course opened in 2006 to great critical acclaim for a creative routing that takes it over rocky cliffs, through deep wooded valleys and around scenic wetland areas, flowing effortlessly from 1st tee to 18th green.
Featuring dramatic elevation changes and undulating, tree-lined fairways that wind their way around the property, the layout is characterized on almost every hole with at least one natural Muskokan rocky outcrop.
Forced carries are inevitable on such tortuous terrain but the architect took care to elevate many of the tees, giving golfers a view of the landing area and reducing the number of blind shots. For big hitters, the par fives are maybe reachable in two shots – except for the uphill 14th which measures all of 593 yards from the back markers.
Carrick Design provided the following article:
Amid beautiful, sparkling lakes and breathtaking landscapes lies Carrick Design’s second Muskoka masterpiece – the Muskoka Bay Club. It’s the heart and soul of the area’s largest recreational golf community, an 850-acre development hidden from the hustle and bustle of the city at “The Gateway” to Ontario cottage country.
For this project, we took the most rugged terrain and thoughtfully adapted it to create one of the most visually stunning golf courses to be found anywhere. Our client asked us to leave the less rocky land for the 1,000-unit $500 million eco-friendly master planned residential community in order to minimize servicing costs. It turned out to be a brilliant strategy, as our design team turned rocky cliffs, deep valleys, scenic wetlands and dense woodlands into an impressive layout that flows effortlessly through the rugged Muskoka ridges.
This is a course that builds with suspense and
excitement from start to finish yet it’s designed to be extremely player
friendly when played from the appropriate tees. Finding the perfect routing
took time, patience and creativity from our design team. The dramatic elevation
changes, thought provoking shot values, undulating fairways, ragged bunkers and
subtle greens create a series of uniquely memorable golf holes – each
punctuated by Muskoka’s signature natural rock outcroppings – have made it the
talk of the town and the place to play in Muskoka.
I always enjoy to play golf in Muskoka area in fall, adding the fall colours to the rock formation in Canadian Shield. This is one kind of unique golf destinations in the global. Having first played the Muskoka Bay in summer years back, I couldn't believe how scenic of this top notch golf course in early October. My buddy carried DSLR camera with his golf bag. He took hundreds of pictures during the round. I have no idea how he managed to take shot of swing in time of taking shot of camera. But it was fun for sure. By far, Muskoka Bay is the best course in the area in my opinion, thought I have not got a chance to play Oviinbyrd. You could tell standing at the 1st tee deck looking down to the fairway through the narrow of rocks openness, it really feel to entering the 4.5 hours of journey of enjoyment and challenge. I wish Doug Carrick (the designer) could turned the remarkable 9th hole as the finishing hole, that let the rocks guarded green to ending the game. By the way, I am lucky to reside not too far from the area.
Muskoka Bay is one of the most majestic and memorable golf courses you will find anywhere in Ontario and that is saying a lot. The name may be a little misleading because there is no lakeside views but make no mistake this has a true “Muskoka” feel. There is amazing elevation changes, spectacular vistas and unique granite backdrops only found in our “Great Canadian Shield”. Water is evident on almost every hole as you naturally meander through tree-lined valleys filled with rocky obstacles and deep soft sand bunkers. Patience is a virtue here. Muskoka Bay is definitely not a walking course as there are long distances between holes but fortunately this gives you time to truly appreciate the solitude and spectacular surroundings of our “Great White North” (eh!). In retrospect most of the holes here could be obvious signatures anywhere else but I would have to say my favorite would have to their 8th. This snaking par 5 affords you a great chance to reach the uphill green in two if you hit a good drive then manage to circumvent the looming pond and rocking entrance on your approach. As a disclaimer, I eagled this hole so I am a little biased. The 9th is definitely their most controversial hole aptly called “The Narrows”. You’ll need a well-placed drive over swampy wasteland to a tight fairway. From there your approach shot has only an 8 yard opening to reach an elevated green where you are lucky to see the pin if their greenkeeper is having a good day. The course is always in pristine condition and an absolute must-play If venture north of Toronto. My only negative would be that the middle tees at 5,703 yards are a little too short whereas the Member/Guest tees at 6,400 maybe too difficult for most but definitely gives you a better perspective of the course. I would highly recommend that you tour their Clubhouse before hand as it is the highest point on the course and gives you great prospective of what is to come. Afterwards I would suggest that you enjoy lunch or a light dinner at their Cliffside Bar & Grill overlooking their infinity pool with the first hole as a backdrop. A great spot to reminisce and soak in a fabulous day! To read more about golf in Canada visit http://golftravelandleisure.com/category/canada/