MUSKOKA ROCK AND ROLL: Seguin Valley Golf Club
Ah, cottage country. Just saying it lowers my blood pressure. It conjures up memories of lazy weekends. Dangling my feet off the end of a dock. A morning paddle on a lake of glass. Basking on a warm pink granite rock. The call of the loon. And taking a swing at one of my favourite Muskoka courses, Seguin Valley, with18 glorious fairways designed to capitalize on the region’s unique granite outcroppings, mature forests and sparkling lakes.
As a member of the SCORE Golf rating panel, I was invited to “stay and play” at Seguin a few years ago. I decided it would be an ideal opportunity to enjoy a gals’ golf getaway and invited three of my golf buddies. We stayed in a cute, rustic cabin overlooking Lake McRae. After golf and dinner at the clubhouse, we spent a hilarious evening imbibing in some wine and playing Telestrations. This is a game that involves each player picking a card, drawing what’s written on the card on a suppled sketch book. Each person than passes their drawing to the left and that person writes an interpretation of the drawing on the next page of the sketchbook. And on it goes until your book returns to you with a final interpretation. The more wine the less likely the final interpretation will reflect the original. The funniest one started out as a flip flop sandal and devolved into a thong!
The “stay and play” concept at Seguin has proven very popular. Indeed, it has become an annual event for my group. The resort now has four cabins situated on a private lake that can sleep from six to 24 people. The newest, a renovated maple sugar finishing shack, sleeps up to 24 people in 12 separate log cabins, each outfitted with two single beds. The main Sugar Shack has four toilet and shower stalls, a full kitchen, TV, living room and outdoor covered patio and firepit. Don’t forget the marshmallows.
Seguin Valley Golf Club founder Robert McRae spent 15 years carving his 6,795-yard masterpiece out of the Precambrian Shield wilderness just south of Parry Sound. The course opened in 2003. After Mr. McRae’s death in 2004, the course’s new owner, Mike Feldman, re-opened it in 2010.
Although blasting was required to clear rock for some tees and greens, as well as for cart paths, little earth was moved during the more than four years of construction, as the course took advantage of the natural lay of the land.
And while there is a minimalist approach to bunkering at Seguin—there are just 25 sand traps on the entire course—and a driving range and expanded practice area are still in the plans, no expense was spared in achieving 18 spectacular fairways. Sitting on 400 acres, there was ample space to lay out each fairway like a separate “room”, so you only see the golf hole you are playing…and perhaps you’ll have a bear or moose sighting.
The most memorable hole is the stunning par-three seventh that plays over McRae Lake. The 180-yard-long bridge that curls from tee to green was constructed at a cost of $350,000. Those of us playing from the forward tees, get the unique experience of teeing off from an “island” halfway along the bridge. You’ll need an extra club and a brief prayer on this watery wonder. By the way, yet another reason we gals love playing Seguin is because the length from the red tees is a manageable 4,445 yards. There is only one tough forced carry over wetlands on number 15. With six tee decks, low, medium and high handicappers can choose their challenge.
To complement the wild nature of the landscape, a huge, rustic clubhouse was built by Mennonites in St. Jacobs, Ontario, with each log numbered, before being reassembled at Seguin Valley. An iconic 40-foot B.C. cedar thrusts up from the basement through the centre of the distinctive, red-roofed structure. The huge patio is the ideal spot to toast your birdies with some locally brewed Trestle ale.
Yes, the golf is grand and the accommodations ideal, but what makes the Seguin experience so special is the staff. Everyone—from the starter to the gal who took our breakfast and dinner orders to the gent who built us a firepit—could not have been more gracious or welcoming.
For information about Stay & Play golf packages, visit www.seguinvalley.com
First published at Travel Industry Today