Review: Eagle’s Nest Golf Club

Information:

  • Maple, Ontario
  • Public — Daily Fee
  • Doug Carrick (2004)
  • 41st in Canada (SCOREGolf)

The Greater Toronto Area isn’t exactly known for its public golf, but Eagle’s Nest is the highest ranked public golf course in the area (save for Muskoka a couple hours north, which has Muskoka Bay and Rocky Crest, both ranked higher by SCOREGolf).

This Doug Carrick design was one of the first I played in Toronto. From pictures, it looked excellent, so I was excited to see how this faux-links played.


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.

Turning the corner, the opening hole greets you with a slew of bunkering that sort of blends together. It can be tough to decide where to hit it!

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 yardage listed. 441 yards, this hole climbs all the way to the green. Three pot bunkers on the right await drives.

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’re introduced to the weird conundrum at Eagle’s Nest: there’s two bunker styles! Why? I’m not sure really. On the right, you see the blowout bunkers, while the left sticks with the pot bunkers.

Anyways, 450 yards, this is a par 4 that plays much shorter than the yardage given.

To a low-profile green complex, one almost feels the urge to try and skip a ball up if you’re feeling creative. In reality, it’s a nice chance to go flag hunting.

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. Don’t worry… there’s fairway out there!

To a green above the fairway, the approach plays slightly uphill. Guarded by two bunkers on the lefthand side, you have to be mindful!

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 on first glance.

The 6th is a short par 4 tucked back into the trees that, frankly, is pretty awkward. Two bunkers cutting into the fairway on the right aren’t in play. Aiming over the left side of the left bunker, you should be good to go.

There’s nothing wrong with this hole. However, I say “awkward” because it feels like there’s something missing from making this hole a standout. I would think this is one of the more forgettable holes here.

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.

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 righthand 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! 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! However, here’s the hole from Google Earth to give you an idea on what’s up.

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 lefthand side gives you a better angle in. Additionally, it gives you a lesser club in—a good thing on a long par 4!

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 righthand 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.

This is a cool green complex, which has the green tucked below the fairway in between two dunes. A single bunker is green side, so no worries there (unless you find it!).

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. It’s all carry baby!

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.

With a hazard on the right, the approach shot must be accurately placed. The same could be said for those trying to get home in two as the water hazard is to the right of the green as well.

With a dip in front of the green, it can be tough to get the ball all the way home.

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. Thankfully when I played, the tees were moved up!

A look at the left fairway:

And the right fairway:

You could entirely 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. You have to be sharp!

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’s a tough drive.

With a long iron likely in hand, the pond runs up the entire righthand side. You have to be smart and make sure you commit to this iron shot. It’s the last one of the day!


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. Really, the sky’s the limit. When Eagle’s Nest is at its best, it’s pretty darn good.

This is a must play in the Toronto area for anyone without private connections, and if someone had one course to play that’s public, this might be my vote.

2 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

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