HUNTSVILLE DOWNS GOLF CLUB (705-789-1000)
Ontario Golf Course Review
Huntsville Downs is an 18-hole par 72, 6400 yard course set in the rolling forested terrain of the magnificent Muskokas. With a price range of $69-$70 including cart during prime
season ($53-$64 walking), this is one of the areas best golfing values. Visitors here are not paying for a luxurious clubhouse or amenities - but the moderate green fees are a
reasonable price to pay for a wonderful golf experience - on a mid-sloped course featuring tree lined fairways and plentiful water hazards. On our early September visit, the layout
was in great shape from tee to green, with quick true rolling putting surfaces and numerous soft sand bunkers. In total, 62 sand traps can be found lining the fairways and
greenside, and 9 holes feature water hazards in the form of ponds or creeks. Generally speaking, the greens are quite large and only mildly undulating - reach in regulation and
putts are usually make-able. The fringe and first cut of rough are very playable, but land in the mounding or fescue and recoveries for par can be quite difficult. As is the case with
most of the courses in the Muskoka region elevation changes are part of the terrain, as evidenced by the photo (below right) of the beautiful par three fifth.
The simple but functionary clubhouse at Huntsville Downs features a dining hall with a selection of breakfast and lunch items plus beverages and snacks, and locker facilities
with showers for men and women. On property is a grass range, a practice hole and a putting green. Three sets of tees play to 6270 yards 129 slope, 5800 yards/125 slope and
5217/122 slope. For women the slopes from these tees rate 139, 134 and 125. While not a long course, the design features significant elevation changes that will challenge
golfer's abilities to make proper club selections. The red, white and blue stakes in the fairways at 100, 150 and 200 yards, and small indicators on the flags sticks for front, middle
and back pin locations will help.
The front nine plays a couple of hundred yards longer than the back, with the par five 4th being the course's # 1 handicap. We found the middle holes to be the most interesting of
the layout, beginning with number five which is a par three playing from an extremely elevated tee. The par four sixth is short but lethal, as water hazards frame the fairway and
squeeze the left side on the approach. There is more room than appears off the tee however, and shots breaching the 100 yard zone may create a good scoring opportunity. Water
also defines the challenge on eight, as a pond runs along the left side and crosses through the fairway near the 100 yard marker. Photos of both holes are featured below.
The back nine plays to just 2988 yards from the back tees, with a good chunk of that yardage utilized on the 500 yard par five 10th. Trees, mounding and bunkers along the
fairways and near the putting complexes plus rolling fairways create the challenge on this side. Number 11 is a risk reward four par - inviting long hitters to carry the narrow ravine
left of center, leaving a simple wedge to an elevated green. Those with less distance can lay up right of center towards a stump in the fairway, which leaves an approach over a
row of bunkers that line that side. The 13th is also a short par four that is quite memorable. From an elevated tee golfers will have a gorgeous view of a green complex defined by
long sand bunkers that line a lake situated to the right from 100 yards in. Golfers have a choice of laying up to the 120/130 yard area or going for some distance along the narrow
stretch of fairway on the left that leads to the green. Number 17 is also a great golf hole. Frank - an assistant to the superintendent at Huntsville Downs, gave us some good tips
on how to play this hole. The nearly blind tee shot runs down the mountain to a green situated below a rock retaining wall that divides the two levels of the playing surface. The
sloping and funnel shape of the fairway will lead well struck balls to a level area before the drop off, about 170 yards away. From here the approach is simple - with eagles and
birdies possible. Images from the 11th and 13th are featured below.
Golf in the Muskoka region can be challenging - with significant elevation changes, granite walls and outcroppings and frequent water hazards the norm. Huntsville Downs has
succeeded in providing a very playable yet challenging layout that is still immensely pleasant aesthetically. Hit the ball straight and play smartly and good scores can be had. It is a
popular course with the locals, and is highly recommended by Two Guys Who Golf. For more info visit our page for Huntsville Downs, with link to their website by clicking here.