The Takeaway: Regarded as one of Ontario’s premier layouts and one of the hosts to the Canadian Open, Hamilton enjoys a wonderful parcel of property for a golf course. With undulating terrain, great design variety, and one of the best finishing holes in the country, Hamilton is a must play. Grade A-
Designer: Harry S. Colt 1914
Phone Number: 905-648-4471
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Hamilton Golf & Country Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 232 Golf Links Rd, Ancaster, Ontario L9G 2N5 – CANADA
What to Expect: Hamilton is a 27 hole facility with the West and South nines designed by Harry S. Colt comprising the championship layout and leaving the East nine designed by Robbie Robinson out of the mix for high profile events. Talk to anyone in Ontario about Hamilton and the first thing generally out of their mouth is a comment about the wonderful terrain the course sits on. Elevation changes are commonplace throughout the routing and need factored in on nearly every shot on the course otherwise distance control is going to be your worst enemy. The “front” West nine and “back” South nine are pretty equal in terms of their general appeal however the closing three holes on the South are nothing short of excellent in terms of their design and compelling features late in a tournament. A wide variety of trees are found throughout the property and their maturity makes them a major factor when shots sail offline while bunkers aplenty are constantly grabbing your attention and dictating strategy. Taking a cart or walking are both options at Hamilton and an invite to play here is one of the prized offerings in Ontario.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 9th (South) Hole – 457 Yard Par 4 – A beautiful finishing hole with an inspiring setting that sits perfectly as the closer of a major tournament; such as the Canadian Open that Hamilton hosted six times between 1919 - 2019 and will again in 2024. The tee shot plays 30 feet downhill to the lowest part of the fairway where a creek meanders across it about 290 yards from the back tee. The approach shot plays from a slightly downhill lie to an elevated greensite that sits in an amphitheater setting with bunkers coming into play only if shots come up well short of their target. With the palatial brick clubhouse commanding the backdrop and a Canadian flag waving high above it, the finisher at Hamilton is as memorable as it gets in the Great White North.
Best Par 3: 7th (South) Hole – 180 Yards – An uphill par three that is set into the hillside, the last par three on the South course and the final one-shotter for the Canadian Open is protected by a trio of cross bunkers. The sand pits on the left are nothing short of brutal and an almost guarantee that you won't be walking away with a par, so favor the right side beyond anything else. The challenging putting surface doesn't offer many pin placements to get excited about, so if you can just do enough to card a three you should walk away with a smile on your face.
Best Par 4: 7th (West) Hole – 424 Yards – The best use of the natural terrain on the opening West course is found at number seven with this fantastic two-shotter. The tee shot plays to a fairway featuring bunkers protecting the inside left corner of this dogleg while a grove of trees are parked outside on the right. The approach shot ascends 50 feet to a three-tiered green that loves to test player's short game and often turns them away with their tail between their legs. This hole is a top shelf example of testing a player's length, accuracy, and finesse all at once.
Best Par 5: 8th (South) Hole – 580 Yards – The final par five at Hamilton is also the longest hole at the property and there is nowhere to cut distance off. The hole plays dead straight with the tee shot initially playing downhill before the hole begins ascending back uphill towards the green. Bunkers are littered along the way with a trio in the driving zone and double that around the green, but equally important to staying out of the sand is staying below the hole with the steep back to front slope that exists on the green. Longer hitters can take advantage of scoring well on this hole since there is little surprise to contend with and little fear to swing away on a driver and follow it up with a ripped fairway wood.
Birdie Time: 5th (West) Hole – 319 Yard Par 4 – Tipping out at just 319 yards, the 5th hole on the West course should have you licking your chops. A baby fade that starts up the left side is the perfect play as it follows the slight bend in the fairway enroute to the green. The only real trouble to steer away from is the right side where the bunkers get deep and can challenge your ability to walk away with a three. Given that the putting surface is more undulated than most, you'll want to get your drive as close to the green as possible so you can wedge it tight to the pin position. Take advantage of this hole because Hamilton's most difficult awaits you next.
Bogey Beware: 6th (West) Hole – 249 Yard Par 3 – No one steps up to a 249 yard par three oozing with confidence and the 6th hole won't change that. The terrain falls hard off the right into the tree line and coming up short will leave you in the valley with a challenging up and down. Bunkers are on each side of the green but there is an opening afforded straight up the middle if you can keep your ball online long enough to take advantage of it. The relatively flat green will let balls skip over the back when coming in with too low lofted of a club, so playing to the front edge is a prudent play. Hitting a green in regulation from 250 yards is challenging at any skill level, so you'll likely need your short game dialed in for any chance to save par.