Situated beside the international airport, the course at Royal Woodbine Golf Club is a Michael Hurdzan design that lies close to the intersection of the main 401 and 407 highways. Laid out along the banks of a winding old creek, the fairways are routed in an old-fashioned out and back manner, with water coming into play at many of the holes.
Because the property is so tight, the overall length is a modest 6,447 yards from the back tees, making ball placement an all-important factor here. As an affordable pay and play facility, Royal Woodbine is an excellent golfing option for those with time to kill before or between flights at nearby Toronto Pearson.
Feature holes include short par fours at the 5th – which veers to the right around a large water hazard – and the 17th, where the creek crosses the fairway as it bends left towards the green. The severely doglegged 9th offers a fine finish to the front nine and it’s followed by a lovely par three, one of three short holes on the inward half, with the other two played back to back at holes 14 and 15.
Michael Hurdzan kindly provided us with the following comments:
Royal Woodbine is a very unique and fun to play golf course. What makes it unique is that it is built in a creek valley that previously had been an illegal dumping ground for any and every thing that someone didn’t want, including a body wrapped in an old rug that was thought to be a murdered drug dealer.
Mimico Creek that flows there is quite nice but was biologically dead before the golf course was built because of the dumping activities. So the golf course really reclaimed an abused parcel of ground in the middle of the city, and turned it into self-sustaining green space.
The creek comes into play on fourteen holes and there are some landing lights in the middle of the course between holes for Pearson International Airport. Having planes occasionally flying over at low altitude just adds to the experience. The only part of the land above the floodplain is the clubhouse, which is why it is an 18-hole loop design.
The name was borrowed from the horse race track nearby also called Royal Woodbine, and the developer took the name because he felt it would give the golf course some sense of location identity, it would be easy to remember, and it gave it an aristocratic name. Needless to say, The Crown was not happy about this and there was an ongoing dispute about whether they could use the designation “Royal” or not, but somehow that issue got resolved I guess.