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Ontario Golf Course Review

Forest City National near London is a 4-1/2 star (Golf Digest Places to Play) Craig Schreiner design that has been acknowledged for its outstanding service, value and pace of play. On our late July visit, the course was in excellent condition from tee to green. Most impressive however, was the variety of holes and landscaping along this beautiful layout that features abundant wetlands, lakes and ponds plus mild elevation changes along a gently rolling terrain. The course is simply beautiful - and the rates are extremely competitive. To top it off, range balls are included on the comprehensive practice facility, which includes a grass driving range, putting green and short game area with sand bunker. Forest City National is a very respected golf facility, having hosted the following golf events in past years: the 1994 and 1995 Canadian Tour Ontario Open, the 1997 du Maurier Series Event, the 1998 Canadian PGA Championship, and the 2000 OUAA Championship.

Golfers of all skill levels should be able to choose a distance that suits their game, as Forest City National provides four sets of tee boxes. The blacks measure 6,850 yards; the golds 6,372; the blues 6,120 and the forward silver tees weigh in at 5,119 yards. The manicured bent grass fairways are sculpted from a forested terrain, with a nice mix of open and tight, tree lined holes. Often, the landing areas are flanked by tall grasses with high quality, strategically placed sand bunkers located on the perimeters, and also greenside. A key to scoring well here however, will rest with one's ability to land on the correct portion of these true rolling but undulating greens, many of which are double tiered. Generally, there is some room for recovery near these putting complexes, although mounding and swales will challenge the short game of even the best players. The generally high slope ratings on all but the forward tees attest to this. Altogether, there are 50 sand traps and 7 holes with water hazards in play.

The front nine provides some good scoring opportunities, with relatively short par threes and with two par fives that favor a right to left shot shape. Be aware that the water hazard to the right off the tee and on the approach on the par four third, is like a magnet that draws shots hit on that side of the fairway, which sneakily slopes to the water. The 8th and 9th holes are par fours that rank as the number 3 and number 1 handicaps, and while not overly long, require precision off the tee and around the greens. The most memorable stretch on the course is four holes in duration, beginning with the mid range par four 14th. The water hazard far right off the tee squeezes the fairway about 105 away, and defines a peninsula that culminates 60 yards from the green. This lake also winds around the back, making the approach here one of the day's most demanding. Fifteen is a signature hole - a gorgeous par five with risk/reward opportunities. Long hitters may attempt to reach in two, with a demanding approach over water. Those playing this as a 3-shot hole may lay up to the landing area left of the green and just right of the fairway bunker, allowing for a much easier wedge or short iron to the putting complex. 16 is a short but tight dogleg right four par, with more water in play on the left, and is followed by a beautiful par three, that is all carry over a deep ravine. The environment along these four holes, as with most of the topography along this layout, is quite lush.

 The Uplink GPS that is standard on all carts provides accurate distances to the pin from anywhere on the layout. This system is also helpful in assisting the golfer to ascertain the most advantageous landing zones - and in avoiding many of the hazards that are detriment to par. Pay attention - particularly on the water holes, and this could save you some strokes. As mentioned previously, Forest City National is a wonderful value - affording golfers with limited funds the opportunity to play a top scale course without breaking the pocket book. It also is worth mentioning that this property features wonderful banquet and outing facilities - with great views from the restaurant, lounge and outdoor patio. Weddings are held there consistently on weekends, and large groups for various functions will find the facilities to be outstanding. A private Board Room is available for meetings of 2 to 12 people.

The $60 - $65 prime time price range is rather unbelievable, especially considering the fact the Forest City National is rated as the # 1 public course in Southwestern Ontario, and # 12 overall in Canada. The 275 acres that hug Fanshawe Lake provide some of the most desirable landscape for golf in Ontario. The property is located about 15 minutes off highway 401 - making it easily accessible. We cannot recommend this golf experience highly enough…it is well worth the drive from Metro Detroit, Port Huron, Hamilton or Toronto . For those traveling from Sarnia to Toronto or further north - this is an ideal place to stop for an initial or final round.

For more info - visit our page for Forest City National on our web catalog of courses to play in Ontario, with link to their website by clicking here.

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