The moment I stepped onto the grounds of the Windermere Golf and Country Club, I was impressed. Everything about the course screamed pride of ownership and professionalism. As I surveyed the property waiting for our tee time, it was evident that Windermere was not some run of the mill golf course. The day was going to be more than just golf, it was going to be a whole golfing experience. I was introduced to Jim Rennie by my friend and playing partner Mike. It was easy to see why the staff at Windermere were professional and courteous because Jim was the epitome of these characteristics. From the very beginning, our golf experience was proving to be very memorable. And the whole day only improved as we hit the links.
Built in 1920, this must play golf course is situated in the heart of Muskoka on Lake Rosseau, the grounds of Windermere Golf & Country Club are surrounded by large granite outcroppings, towering white pines and beautiful vistas of Muskoka.
- 18 Hole Championship Golf Course
- Bent grass putting greens
- 124 acres of spectacular mature property and views
- Stunning course design and immaculately manicured fairways
- Pace-of-play Golf principles and professional instruction
- Short game practice facility
- On-course Food & Beverage service
The first decision Mike and I had to make was which tees to play. The Whites measured about 6000 yards and the Blues about 6200 yards. We decided on the Blue tees because we felt that the distance was well in our playing ability. We were correct, but Windermere is a shooters course and it played every inch this distance and some on many holes. I am grateful that Mike suggested we play the Blues to experience the whole course and he was definitely correct.
Windermere is carved out of the beautiful Muskoka area. Its design encompasses many natural features of the area including large rock formations, low lying wet areas, and mature forests. As we looped the course, Windermere proved to be as beautiful to take in as it was a challenge to play.
From the moment we played out first shot, Mike and I knew we were in for a treat. As we navigated the 27 holes, I was impressed by the consistency of the fairways, rough, and greens.
The greens were fast and undulating, but rolled the same on every hole. The greens were postage stamp size with some false fronts protecting the green from a sloppy approach. My ball did not release more than a foot on an approach shot from 75 yards and farther. I used three different types of golf balls (Pro V1x, Pro V1, and Wilson 50) and found no discernable difference in how the greens held the ball. The greens were very fast and I struggled putting most of the day. Not because of the greens, but because I could not adjust fast enough to the outstanding playing surface.
The fairways were lush, well manicured; they did not, however, offer any roll of any shot, especially around the greens. The course was not overly wet, it just played every inch the distance it said on the scorecard. There were a few times we did get a little roll, but not the 20 or 30 yards I was expecting or hoping for. Because we had to hit to distances, club selection was very important. I never experienced a poor lie in the fairway and as such we played every shot down. Because of the almost perfect conditions of the fairways, I found that I needed an extra club hitting into the greens because of the steep angle of attack I was swinging that day. I am not sure why this was a challenge, but it was something that I had to compensate for as the holes unfolded. Mike did not seem to have the same challenge, but he did notice that he needed an extra club from time to time.
Chipping around the green was a fun experience. Because the greens were so receptive, my usual bump and run style did not produce the results I was expecting. Therefore, I had to chip using a bit more elevation so I could spin the ball more to ensure my ball did not roll off the green. As the round unfolded, I felt I had a handle on my chipping. The primary reason why I had to adjust my chipping was the superior condition of the fairways and greens. I must say that the maintenance staff sure know what they are doing.
The rough was a challenge. Cut to about 3 or 4 inches through out the course, hitting out of the rough proved to be interesting. I will say that the length of the rough was not unfair; it penalized us just enough if we missed the fairway. That is what rough is supposed to be like because it forces players to play to the fairway. The grass in the rough was thick and lush, however my hybrid and irons was able to navigate through it without any real worries. Windermere Golf and Country Club is a perfect example of why hitting the ball in play on the fairway is important to our score.
The only draw back I found was the sand traps. They had beautiful white sand in them, but were rock hard. My first shot out of the sand resulted in a skulled shot because I could not make the leading edge of my sand wedge dig deeper than a 1/2 of inch. This was the same throughout the course. If I flew into the trap (which I did 4 times) my ball would bounce out. I am not sure if this is by design, but it took me by surprise. All of the sand traps were consistent and the fact that they were very hard did not detract from the beauty and playability of Windermere.
Jim’s staff were very courteous and professional. Each were happy to help Mike or I with anything. The chef made us each a foot long hot dog with cheese even though he was extreme busy setting up for the days activities. I did not have the opportunity to talk to the superintendent. I like to bend their ear with questions about the course; they always have the best stories. Also, I try to converse with any of maintenance staff as I play to thank them for all their hard work, but alas I did not have a chance. Maybe next time.
I want to thank Jim and his team for a fantastic time at Windermere Golf and Country Club. Also to Mike for making this fantastic golf experience happen. I try to play a top level course a few times during each golf season and to date, Windermere is the best course I played this year.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!