The Takeaway: Laid out on one of the most dramatic properties in Ontario, Muskoka Bay is a ball buster from the back tee and requires all the game you can muster up. The course's signature feature is the exposed rock that frames nearly every hole and dramatic elevation changes, but it would be hard to enjoy on a daily basis. Grade B
Designer: Doug Carrick 2007
Cost: $179 - $229 (includes cart) Click for current rates
Phone Number: 705-687-4900
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Muskoka Bay Resort's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 1217 North Muldrew Lake Rd , Gravenhurst, Ontario P1P 1R2 – CANADA
Photos: See additional photos of Muskoka Bay Resort
What to Expect: Muskoka Bay is perhaps the most dramatic course in Ontario. Located at the gateway to cottage country, the course is laid out on a sprawling property that is characterized by large rock outcroppings, dense woodlands, and the occasional wetland area. The huge elevation changes through the property lend itself to many elevated tee boxes which offer a clear view of the fairway, and trouble, awaiting but also allow for more exposure to the wind until traversing down the valley portions. The extreme terrain, penal areas outside the fairways, and intense hole designs are reminiscent of Wolf Creek in Mesquite, Nevada though the landscape is entirely different. Forced carries are plentiful across the routing and taking a cart is inevitable given the extreme terrain would make a trip to the StairMaster feel like a treat. In the end, the course is highly regarded for its views, unique shots, and access to the public, but the penal nature of the layout and rugged terrain can make it difficult to enjoy any day you aren't on your 'A' game.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 9th Hole – 423 Yard Par 4 – There are plenty of memorable holes at Muskoka Bay, but none more so than the closing hole on the front nine. The tee shot on the 9th plays to a fairway that is wide initially and tightens to no more than hallway width heading into the green. The iconic granite stonewalls found throughout the course begin setting the left boundary 125 yards from the front of the green with additional granite flanking the right side. The uphill approach shot plays over a crazy tongue that creates a false front while the putting surface itself is wildly undulated. If you've played Tobacco Road in North Carolina, you can see how perfectly this unique hole would fit into that course.
Best Par 3: 11th Hole – 180 Yards – The anthill style 11th hole features sharp falloffs every direction from the two tiered green and a large bunker wrapping around the right side. Balls that get chunked can find themselves in the water angling across the hole while tee shots that don't find the correct tier on the green will contend with a challenging two-putt.
Best Par 4: 16th Hole – 457 Yards – The second of back to back brutal holes, the 16th features an unassuming tee shot that plays to a partially blind fairway that bends slowly but steadily to the left. Upon reaching your tee ball you are presented with an impressive view with a large granite wall encompassing the left side of the fairway and leading up to the raised green with a sharp drop to the bunker below on the right. Missing this green in regulation doesn't leave a lot of great options for saving par, while those that manage to card a four will likely walk away with a win in match play.
Best Par 5: 12th Hole – 569 Yards – A lot is going on with the tee shot on the 12th where a large aiming rock dominates the view with the fairway going around it on the high left side as well as the low right without a flat lie in sight. There is more room on the right side of the rock which should encourage players to take their drive up that side of the undulated fairway before considering their options on the approach shot that features water up the entire left side. The rise to the green creates a steep falloff on the left side while the right side can help kick some balls onto the putting surface.
Birdie Time: 4th Hole – 349 Yard Par 4 – Short and sweet, the 4th hole is as attractive as it is vulnerable. The shortest par four on the course, players should be licking their chops standing on the elevated tee that is going to promote extra driver distance. A shot up the right side of the fairway will provide the best angle into the green and take four of the six fairway bunkers out of play. Laying up will still require a 230 yard drive to clear the creek crossing the fairway, but then just a wedge to the plateau green will yield a birdie putt.
Bogey Beware: 15th Hole – 452 Yard Par 4 – Known as Alcatraz due to its unrelenting challenge, the 15th is a long two-shotter that begins to pivot right at the driving zone. The fairway dips downhill in front of the green and creates a large chipping bowl for players whose approach shots come up wanting while players trying to approach the green from the left edge of the fairway can be blocked out from the tree outcropping. The large bunker on the right side of the green gets a lot more action than the bunker at the back left, but par saves from the right side are more common going back into the slope.