The Wooden Sticks course opened for public play in 2000 and, for over a decade, it has retained its status as the preferred daily fee golfing getaway for many players in the Greater Toronto Area. A big advantage for the course is that it sits on a sand and gravel base, allowing it to remain in play when other courses have closed.
Some may deem it cringe-worthy while others will see it as market-savvy, but more than half the holes on the course have been “inspired” by top tracks in America and Scotland with a number of them replicas from the likes of Augusta, TPC Sawgrass, Carnoustie and Royal Troon.
For Canadian golfers who will never get near the authentic “Postage Stamp” at Royal Troon, the photogenic 12th hole at Augusta or the infamous island green 17th at TPC Sawgrass, Ron Garl’s design allows each of these world famous par threes to be “played” at Wooden Sticks. Such duplication is bound to split opinions, of course.
Some are bound to view with disdain the likes of the Oakmont "Church Pew" bunkers on the right side of the 1st fairway or the Swilcan Bridge look-alike from St Andrews at the 18th hole whilst others will feel that these golfing icons should be legitimately replicated by any club wishing to pay homage.
Visitors should note that the green fee includes a warm up on the range, course guide and various other little souvenirs, cart hire for 18 holes plus a meal before and after the round.The club has also built six 4-person luxury cabins on site, enabling groups of up to 24 golfers to stay and play at reasonable rates. Now, not many clubs can duplicate that sort of service!
Wooden Sticks is a Ron Garl design from 2000 that features replicas from many of the most famous courses in the world, including Oakmont, Augusta National, The Old Course, Pine Valley, among others, while also sprinkling in six original holes.
Now, to be fair, this type of a course can be fun for those who don't travel much or don't have the ability to see some of those famous holes in person. I really enjoyed my first visit. However, the novelty wears off quickly for most and this is apparent in the way that the course has fallen in the rankings over the past decade or so.
Course conditioning is usually above average and the service levels were exceptional when I visited. I'll also admit that there can be a bit of a thrill playing some of the replica holes, with most probably pointing to the 17th hole, which is par three featuring an island green that mimics what you see on the same hole number at TPC Sawgrass.
However, those thrills diminish after repeat plays and what you end up realizing is that this course is much, much less than the sum of its parts. Due to the replica concept, this is not meant to be a cohesive design and as such, it's a course that will lose luster the more you play it. It doesn't help that the course is practically unwalkable and as a result, rounds will take well over four hours to finish.
All that said, I still think that it's worth seeing if you find yourself in the lovely surrounds of Uxbridge. Like me, you'll likely be satisfied with one visit.
For a full hole-by-hole course profile and pictorial, feel free to visit Now on the Tee - https://nowontheteegolf.com/2007/06/17/wooden-stic...