Review: Eagle’s Nest Golf Club

One of the finest public golf courses in Ontario, Eagle’s Nest takes on a difficult property to produce a faux-links worthy of a round.

Information:

  • Maple, Ontario
  • Public — Daily Fee
  • Doug Carrick (2004)
  • 50th in Canada (Beyond The Contour)

The Greater Toronto Area is not exactly known for its public golf, but Eagle’s Nest is generally regarded as one of the highest rated in the proper GTA. In Beyond The Contour’s 2022/2023 Top 100, TPC Toronto’s Hoot course is ahead, and that is it.

The opening hole at Eagle’s Nest is a dogleg left par 5, clocking in at 565 yards. Two pot bunkers guard the inside corner, and truthfully, a fairly difficult first tee shot. Generally speaking, the opening shot or two will lend way to a less active body, meaning it is harder to turn over the golf ball.

Turning the corner, the opening hole greets you with a slew of bunkering that sort of blends together. I already like this golf course.

The green complex is wonderfully tucked below a dune. Excellent location to start.

The second is a mid-length par 4 playing much longer than the 441 yardage listed. Climbing all the way to the green, three bunkers on the right of the drive narrow up this hole considerably.

The approach shot plays entirely uphill, with bunkers short left and short right. Long isn’t good either, so short middle is the best miss.

The third is a fun tee shot tumbling down the hillside. Here, we are introduced to the weird conundrum at Eagle’s Nest: there are two bunker styles! On the right, you see the blowout bunkers, while the left sticks with the pot bunkers. I actually like both bunkers, and I think Carrick did a good job of them respectively, but it should be either of… not both. Anyway, at 450 yards, this is a par 4 that plays much shorter than the yardage given. A fun hole.

To a low-profile green complex, one almost feels the urge to try and skip a ball up if you’re feeling creative. It sits beautifully into the landscape.

Continuing with the third par 4 in a row, the 4th is a 400 yarder doglegging right up the hill. A mix of waste/blowout bunker and pot bunkers blend together to create a tough visual tee shot.

To a green above the fairway, the approach plays slightly uphill. I like this green site, with two bunkers on the left defending well.

Introducing the set of par 3’s at Eagle’s Nest, the 191 yard par 3, 5th is a strong one. With a collection area short right partially hidden by the big blowout bunker, this green angled to the right is much harder to hit than you’d think at first glance. I have always liked collection areas hidden behind the dominant hazard, I think it is a nice touch.

The 6th is a short par 4 tucked back into the trees that, frankly, is pretty awkward. Not because it is a poor hole, but the tee shot is uncomfortable feeling and much more narrow than the rest. Two bunkers cutting into the fairway on the right are not in play. Aiming over the left side of the left bunker on the right is the ideal line.

The approach plays over the rolling fairway to a green tucked into the hillside.

The 7th is a big-swinging dogleg right at 434 yards. Pot bunkers line this hole on both sides, and there is a bit of a Cape nature to the hole, with aggressive lines taking it more and more right around the corner.

After the downhill tee shot, the approach plays slightly back up the hill. Nothing short of the green, but there’s a bunker left and a bunker right.

The 8th is a wonderful mid-to-short par 3 at 164 yards, playing downhill, with lovely views of downtown Toronto. The green is slightly pushed up, falling away everywhere, with four pot bunkers short awaiting. You know Carrick had Scotland in mind with this green complex, which takes advantage of the surrounding short grass.

Finishing off the front nine, a long par 5 gets us back to the clubhouse. 582 yards, it’s a three shot hole.

The second shot plays over the hill, but I didn’t get a picture because my tee shot was so far out of place. The third shot is an interesting one, with a green complex cut on the right-hand side of the hole. It’s awkward, but maybe not the bad awkward; it’s a good thing, which adds a bit of flair to the hole.

The 10th starts a very long nine holes of golf. On the scorecard, it’s 11 yards short of 3900 yards… yikes. 438 yards, the 10th moves to the left around some bush & shrubbery.

While a draw off the tee is preferred, a fade into the green complex is better. A bunker short right is a very likely spot for balls to end up.

Continuing with mid-length 4’s, the 11th is 439 yards, playing through some of the dunes on property.

I don’t know what happened: I guess I didn’t take a picture of this approach shot, but alas. It is a pretty straightforward approach without any individualistic theme. Perhaps that is why there is no photo.

The 12th is a lovely golf hole. It’s the longest par 4 thus far, and the 2nd longest 4 on the golf course other than the 18th. 470 yards, it’s a dogleg left.

While not as essential as some other strategic golf holes in the GTA, challenging the two bunkers on the left-hand side gives you a better angle in. Additionally, it gives you a lesser club in—a good thing on a long two-shot hole.

The 13th is the second 190 yard par 3, and again, it’s all carry to a green above the surrounding area. Four bunkers on the right-hand side guard this green.

I’m a big fan of the 14th, which is a mid-length par 4 at 425 yards. A dogleg left down the hill, the inside corner of the hole is bunkered. The landing is blind, but I think the ethos of the hole is showcased enough to not feel like the tee shot is blind.

This is a cool green complex, which has the green tucked below the fairway in between two dunes.

The 15th starts the closing stretch. In my opinion, it’s a fairly poor closing stretch. Starting with the 242 yard par 3, 15th, it’s a slog in home, featuring the longest par 3, longest par 5, and longest par 4.

At first glance, you’d think “hey, this could be a cool redan” with the two aiming bunkers on the left, but it is not unfortunately. Where is Ian Andrew’s influence on Carrick when you need it.

The 16th is a 559 yard par 5. Swinging to the right off the tee around numerous bunkers, picking a line you’re comfortable with is key.

One of the two water hazards on the closing stretch comes into play up the right side. It really flanks the hole all up the right, starting with the second shot and all the way up to the green.

With a dip in front of the green, it can be tough to get the ball all the way home. Subtle, cool stuff like this is a welcomed addition to what can be described as a very aggressive, modern golf course.

The 17th is a massive par 5 at 642 yards. To a double fairway, the right side requires a carry of roughly 300 yards. I have no clue why anyone would play down the right side.

A look at the left fairway:

And the right fairway:

You could remove the right fairway and the hole would play the exact same. Seems a bit weird to me, and honestly, it feels like Carrick did too much to make this a memorable golf hole.

In the layup area, upwards of six bunkers are in the fairway. This is one of the hardest par 5’s I have ever played because even after the difficult-ish tee shot, the approach is littered with trouble.

Only one bunker guards the 17th green, which waits short right for shots.

To finish off, the 18th is a 484 yard dogleg right par 4. Two pot bunkers and two blowout bunkers left, with a water hazard right—it is exactly how I imagine a modern golf course finishing.

With a long iron likely in hand, the pond runs up the entire right-hand side. A very difficult finishing hole.

Eagle’s Nest is a good golf course, no doubt about it. Does it have its flaws? For sure, but for the majority of golf courses, they have their flaws too. I wonder how much better atheistically Eagle’s Nest could be with a cohesive bunker style, and a better closing stretch. When Eagles Nest is at its peak, it is a very, very good golf course.

This is a must-play in the Toronto area for anyone without private connections. Alongside the three at TPC and Lakeview, one could have a pretty decent public golf trip to Toronto.

Author

  • Andrew Harvie

    Based in Toronto, but having lived in Alberta, British Columbia, Montana, Arizona, and Texas, I have been lucky enough to see over 400 golf courses and counting!

3 thoughts on “Review: Eagle’s Nest Golf Club

  1. Interesting you even found this place. It is very good and under-rated.
    One of the best courses to play in Canada “period”, private or public. Very Fun !
    beautiful, challenging, never boring. Has all the contemporary “cool” design features
    the critics want in today’s high ranked newer top 100 courses. It’s now almost 16 years old,
    and was completed in that era of trying to produce the hardest courses you could, it
    just missed-out on the “make courses easier” era that started 2005-2010. If I had one wish for the course it would be wider fairways, less penile which would help with speed of play. High hand-cappers take 5+ HOURS TO PLAY here, looking for balls on every hole. I’d place EAGLE Next in top 100
    public courses to play in all of North America….. thanks for playing and posting.

    Eric
    GolfWeek Magazine

    1. 5 hour golf rounds – that just says “don’t play this” to me. And with how busy courses are everywhere, you know you are going to be stuck behind one of these groups and the course will back up.

      It does look like an interesting, fun course though and has a good selection of tees so you don’t have play a 7500 yard, 143 slope golf course. If more players picked the right tees, they’d play faster and enjoy their game more.

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