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Muskoka Bay Club

Tee Off at Muskoka’s Best Golf Courses

Muskoka’s best golf courses offer stunning scenery, challenging terrain, and the opportunity to make cottage-country memories that will last a lifetime.


The Rocky Crest Golf Club is one of Muskoka's many excellent golf courses

The Rocky Crest Golf Club is one of Muskoka’s many excellent golf courses

I remember the moment exactly. It was 2:27 p.m. on a bleak February afternoon. I was being pinched by deadlines, outside the snow was piling up faster than the provincial debt and I was already late for a meeting on the other side of the city. I was about to curl up in the fetal position and slide permanently under my desk, when I spied a photo pinned on my bulletin board next to the computer.

It was a shot taken last summer at the first tee at the Lake Joseph Club. Three pals and I are looking down the valley, smiling, almost giggling, like we’d just gobbled down too much cake and ice cream. It was no special occasion—just summer up north by the lake, about to tee off on one of our favourite courses. At that moment I realized that I could get through the snow, the darkness and the deadlines as long as I knew Muskoka golf was on the horizon.

RELATED: Check out more of Muskoka’s best golf courses in our comprehensive guide.

When ClubLink unveiled the Lake Joseph Club in 1997, it changed the landscape of cottage golf forever. Designed by Toronto’s Thomas McBroom, “Lake Joe” was the first course to combine a country club level of service with the stunning local topography. McBroom routed his rolling layout above the broad banks of Lake Joseph, notching the greens into the hillsides and accenting the tree-lined fairways with flashes of granite.

McBroom is also behind the aptly named Rocky Crest Golf Club in Mactier, a course that incorporates the best of Muskoka, highlighting the landscape’s rocky underpinnings. At the sixth hole, a long par five, he peeled back a layer of scrub and dirt to reveal an intimidating granite canyon.

The Muskoka Bay Club

The Muskoka Bay Club

The Grandview Golf Club in Huntsville is a bold enterprise that winds past creeks, beaver ponds, and bungalow-sized rocks and into the heart of the forest. What ultimately makes Grandview unique is its dual nature—you can play it brawny or brainy.

The Rock has a definite edge, just like its designer, six-time major winner Nick Faldo. The first half-dozen holes push through the woods and around the slabs of granite. Later in the round, the course opens up with some spectacular rocky vistas.

Muskoka Bay Club boasts one of the prettiest layouts in the country. The Doug Carrick-designed course free falls from rocky topped tees through heavily treed valleys, then rises to elevated greens that slope away to sand.

Ian Cruickshank is a golf and travel writer who has written about the game for the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Golf Digest and Maclean’s magazine.

The Muskoka Seven: Things to Do from June 13 to 19, 2011

The candy cane fountains at Santa's Village

1. There’s only six months until Christmas! See how Saint Nick’s preparing for his 2011 toy delivery—or perhaps he’s still relaxing in the Muskoka sun—by visiting Santa’s Village, where kids can ride the Christmas ball ferris wheel, cool off under candy cane showers, get crafty in the elves’ workshop and more.

2. Witness the Kee to Bala be transformed into the “dogg pound” as legendary rapper Snoop Dogg enlivens cottage country with his distinctly brand of West Coast hip hop on June 17.

3. If you can handle the black flies and mosquitoes—and really, if you’re in Muskoka, that should be a given—then consider planning a camping trip to really experience the Canadian Shield. Well-known retailers like Algonquin Outfitters and Muskoka Outfitters can equip you with all the latest outdoorsy gear. (more…)

Weekend Roundup, July 30 to August 2

July is not going down without a party first. Take particular note of numerous jazz concerts as you celebrate this Civic Holiday long weekend!

North Restaurant chef Alain Irvine serves up the flavours of the Muskoka region

Friday, July 30
Don’t miss the Huntsville Jazz Festival, running this weekend only!  Juno award–winner Alex Cuba opens tonight at the Algonquin Theatre.

Prepare for an evening packed with family fun, shopping and entertainment at the Bracebridge BIA Midnight Madness event.

Saturday, July 31
Indulge in one of Muskoka’s best meals at Gravenhurst’s North Restaurant. Chef Alain Irvine’s fresh, seasonal cuisine is sure to please.

Continue the jazz extravaganza tonight at the Festival of the Sound. The 16-piece Dave Young Big Band performs the renowned bassist’s original compositions and breathes new life into old standards.

Sunday, August 1
Find swing of a different kind by booking a tee time at the exceptional Ridge at Manitou golf course.

Dash into the 1950s tonight as the Lincolnaires offer a nostalgic set of early rock ‘n’ roll classics for Music on the Barge.

Monday, August 2
If the greens are still calling, tee off at the Muskoka Bay Club’s naturally beautiful 18-hole course. On site, the newly renovated Clifftop Clubhouse boasts a pro shop plus indoor-outdoor bistro with tantalizing dining options.

Step aboard the Island Queen for its Sunset on the Bay Musical Cruise. Watch as the sun dips under the water while vocals and instruments provide a musical lullaby.

Weekend Roundup, June 25 to 27

You’re in for a good laugh this weekend with hours of comedic skits ahead of you. Another exciting note: Muskoka hosts this year’s G8 Summit, a gathering of the world’s economic leaders.

Music on the Barge offers a Sunday evening showcase in Gravenhurst

Friday, June 25
Be on the lookout for famous politicians as economic leaders from as far as Russia fly in to attend the 2010 G8 Summit today and tomorrow at Huntsville’s Deerhurst Resort.

Discover the makings of Muskoka’s heritage by exploring historic buildings in Bala and Port Carling as part of the weekend-long Doors Open Muskoka event. Tomorrow, Bracebridge welcomes you into its most intriguing sites, while Gravenhurst opens its doors on Sunday.

Start your weekend off right with some belly laughs courtesy of Yuk Yuk’s and comedians Rob Ross and Ian Sirota. See their stand-up stylings tonight with with a reservation at the Muskoka Bay Club, 9 p.m. Tickets $30; call 705-687-7900, ext. 301.

Saturday, June 26
The Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre in Bracebridge also offers its share of chuckles this weekend. In the afternoon, CBC Radio’s The Debaters records Canadian comedians as they tackle hot topics and compete for the biggest guffaws. Later in the evening, the Cottage Country Comedy Festival’s performers will have you in stitches.

Shake your hips to the many hits of beloved Canadian blues-rocker David Wilcox, as he performs live in concert at the Kee to Bala.

Sunday, June 27
Enjoy such madcap performances as “Moose Bloop” and “Summer Fun by Jam Sandwich” as part of the family-friendly Kaleidoscope Children’s Festival.

Stay tuned this evening for the Bi-focals concert band as Gravenhurst’s Music on the Barge continues its summer-long concert series.

Cottage Country Getaways

Want to learn where—and how—to make this your best ever stay in Muskoka? Check out these five amenity-packed resorts. By Viviane Kertész

Weekend Roundup, May 29 to 31

The days are getting warmer in cottage country, and there’s lots to do both outside and in!

Friday, May 29
As the Stanley Cup playoffs draw to a close, honour a Canadian hockey legend in his hometown at the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame in Parry Sound.

Savour old country charm at The Norseman Restaurant by ordering the delectable confit of duck—a tender duck leg served with rich orange sauce.

Saturday, May 30
Unwind amidst 86 acres of immaculate woodland while indulging in a European rose mud body wrap at Trillium Resort and Spa.

Behold the musical brilliance of Blue Rodeo as they take over the Kee to Bala for an evening of harmonious lyrics and country-rock melodies.

Sunday, May 31
Survey the rock ridges, wetlands and beaver ponds of the Muskoka Bay Club—they make the Doug Carrick-designed golf course all the more beautiful (and challenging).

Delight in the colourfully crazy amalgam of Dr. Seuss’ books and characters in Seussical the Musical, performed at Bracebridge’s Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre.