40 Elgin Park Drive, Uxbridge
Established in 1999
Architect: Ron Garl
18 Holes / Semi-Private
7025 Yards / Par 72
Set just 40 minutes northeast of Toronto, in the quiet and quaint region of Uxbridge, Ontario, sits Wooden Sticks Golf Club – a beautiful course surrounded by pine forest and rolling hills. In addition to the scenery, it serves up some interesting original holes near the midsection of the course, along with several at the beginning and end that do their best to duplicate signature holes found on select PGA courses.
One might say you could think of Wooden Sticks as the Las Vegas of golf courses. In Vegas, you can find a knock-off of the Eiffel Tower (at Paris Hotel), a replica of the Red Pyramid of Egypt (at Luxor Hotel), a facsimile the Canals of Venice (at the Venetian Hotel) and the equivalent of the Statue of Liberty can be located at New York, New York.
In that sense, Hole #1 at Wooden Sticks is made to resemble Church Pew Bunker, which can be found at Oakmont. Holes #3 and #4 took their inspiration from the 12th and 13th holes respectively at Augusta. Holes #9, #12 and #16 drew from Pine Valley Golf Course. Hole #17 is a knock-off of Sawgrass. And Holes #10, #15, and #18 were influenced by St. Andrews.
Featuring 5 sets of tees that play 7012 yards from the championship tees, it goes without saying that the variety of holes and differing levels of challenge keeps this course interesting from beginning to end. It might even throw you off your game a little because the difference in bunkers alone, or lack thereof on Hole #18, makes it difficult to imagine that you’re playing the same course from tee off to completion.
As for how the course plays, Hole #1 is a 451-yard downhill par four that plays downhill. Hole #2 is also downhill at 331 yards with a protected and shallow green. The third hole, which draws from the 12th at Augusta, is 188 yards with another shallow green. The fourth yet again draws inspiration from Augusta – the iconic 13th hole to be precise – and comes complete with the Masters’ scoreboard. It is a 510-yard Par 5 with a hook to the left.
Hole #5 is an original Ron Garl design. It’s a Par 4 that plays uphill and measures 331 yards. This is followed by another original on Hole #6 with a downhill play of 458 yards and a dogleg left. And yet another one-of-a-kind comes into play on Hole #7 with a 398-yard Par 4 that features a massive ravine just before the green. The 8th hole is a 230-yard Par 3 and quickly leads to the 548 yard 9th hole that draws influence from Pine Valley. This Par 5 hole features a multitude of interesting, almost abstract bunkers and plays toward a massive treeline.
Hole #10 is a Par 4, 385-yard shot with a 100-yard fairway and resembles Hole #1 at St. Andrews. The 11th offers up a Par 3 with a narrow green and deep pot bunkers. Hole #12 leads the player to Pine Valley with a tree-lined, elevated tee and fescue grass to the left, and presents a challenging shot over the ravine. #13 continues its Pine Valley influence with a 485-yard Par 4. #14 offers up a near replica of ‘Hogan’s Alley’ at Carnoustie, with a 508-yard Par 5 that places bunkers in the midst of the fairway.
The final four start by taking the player back to a St. Andrews-inspired hole at #15, featuring a short but notable hazard in the form of a rock wall that lines the fairway almost to the green. At 480-yards, this is a Par 4 hole. Influences of Pine Valley return for Hole #16 with a Par 5 measuring 570 yards.
Then it’s on to a signature hole most golfers (and non-golfers) would automatically recognize given the sheer number of times it has been photographed – that’s right, it’s Wooden Sticks’ version of Sawgrass at Hole #17, with a 135-yard Par 3 and a green that mimics an island. Finally, that brings the round to its natural conclusion at Hole #18, which is an inspirational return to St. Andrews with a bridge over a wetland. This is a 410-yard Par 4 that shares the fairway with Hole #10.
All considered, it’s no wonder avid golfers flock to Wooden Sticks – it’s like playing some of the most famous courses in the world yet without all the expense and hassle of travel. As a matter of fact, the club is so favored that it’s every bit as popular on weekdays as it is on weekends, despite the upscale fees which range from $145-$220 CA. While that might sound a bit steep, Wooden Sticks sweetens the pot by including a full meal, yardage book, and a high-quality golf shirt of your choice bearing the Wooden Sticks logo.
If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to take on some of the world’s most notable courses, THIS is the place to play. For more information, visit www.woodensticks.com
Have a look at our reviewers playing the infamous Sawgrass Hole. All Photos and Video Clips by Chris Heighington.