Located just outside Cambridge, the fairways at Whistle Bear Golf Club were laid out at the turn of the new millennium by John Robinson on a property that has had eighteen previous owners. When it came to naming the holes, there was only one option available for the current owner.
There’s no doubting the championship-hosting capabilities of a layout that stretches to 7,562 yards from the tips when the professionals tee it up here. The Canadian PGA Championship was held at Whistle Bear two years running, in 2004 and 2005, resulting in victories for Charles Warren from North Carolina and Oshawa-born Jon Mills. The tournament returned in 2019 as a match play event, with Albertan Jon Risdon overcoming Oliver Tubb from Vancouver 3&1 in the final match for the P.D. Ross Trophy.
Ponds feature at half the holes on this heavily bunkered layout so avoiding both water and sand is essential to scoring well when playing here. Highlight holes include the toughest two holes on the card (both of which extend to over 600 yards with out of bounds to the left of the fairway) at the 3rd and 16th, along with the 172-yard 8th, which is the shortest of the par threes and the only one where water helps protect the green.
Disclosure: At the time of writing Whistle Bear is my home club.
The service around the club is impeccable and it is one of the best maintained golf course in southern Ontario. It features a beautiful club house and great food. While this club gets a lot of play, the maintenance staff keep it in excellent shape and it should be commended for that.
The course design is ok. Holes 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18 are all strong and feature fun, engaging, risk and reward golf. Additionally some of the other holes like 1, 4, 6 and 15 are good but I believe should be tweaked to offer a more exciting golf experience. A few design critiques I have mainly concern the cart paths and the interference they have on play on nearly every hole and the design on holes 13 and 14 green complexes.
If you have the chance, a round at Whistle Bear is an excellent time.