Sault Ste. Marie as a Golf Destination?

A Trip to the City’s Quartet of Courses Suggests: Yes.

I never turn down a friend, especially when they invite me to hit four golf courses in a weekend. But in a city I'd never visited before? Well, that's half the charm.



How many times do we get invitations to spend a couple days visiting a friend and not take them up on the offer? I'm really glad I finally wised up and took advantage of an offer a colleague made to spend some time enjoying his new home on the shore of Lake Superior. The drive to #TheSoo gave me a perfect opportunity to include the sticks and golf shoes for a little time well spent on the city’s fairways.

My familiarity with the city was limited, having helped my son with a college trek a few years back. I knew my way around the downtown from crossing back home from the US a couple times, and I'd heard good things about the golf scene in town. This journey, however, enlightened me to not only the deep, rich history found within the area, but to the fact that Sault Ste. Marie should definitely be considered as a golf destination for those looking to experience a variety of designs and experiences. 

Silver Creek Golf Club

Just before arriving in Sault Ste Marie on the Highway 17 bypass, the road curves along a series of high ridges that cut through the Garden River First Nations Lands. It is these ridges that form the backdrop of Silver Creek Golf Club. The course is the new kid on the block with respect to Soo golf choices, and is a rare opportunity to play golf in a secluded natural setting, truly isolated from signs of civilization. Opened in 2010 and designed by renowned architect Arthur Hills, the course was envisioned to be a most stern test of golf.

New head professional Jamie Henderson is working with ownership to soften the routing by taking out many of the back decks and adding new forward tees, reducing it from the beastly 7,435 yards. Henderson says they have removed a number of bunkers as well, with an aim to enhance both playability and enjoyment of the experience. The tour caliber green sites provide a stiff challenge, with many sloped front to back and surrounded with fall-aways and well-placed bunkers that will capture any near-miss approach shots. Your full attention is required on every shot throughout the round, but especially on a collection of par 3’s that are as tough as nails. 

Course Stats 
Yardage: 5,657 - 7,435; Rating: 67.8 - 76.0;  Slope: 122 - 138; Rates: $40 -$51

 

Root River Golf Club 

The Brasanti family have operated “the local’s” golf course since 1944. Located in the far northern reaches of the city, this nine-hole facility is a throwback to a time when holes were placed on the terrain you had. Blessed with a gently rolling footprint, the character of the routing takes advantage of ridges and slopes that create canting fairways and offer some very tricky green complexes.

Perfect for walking, the layout is a solid test, but two holes stand out amongst the others. The downhill 7th is a par 3 where correct club selection will be as challenging as sticking your tee shot close on the oversized green. The par 4 8th is arguably the best on the card. The uphill dogleg right has a canting fairway that leans left. The plateau green has many tiers and will certainly require at least one extra cub. The family's fine dining restaurant, Brasantis, is one of the city's most highly rated dining choices, and makes a perfect end to your Root River experience. 

Course Stats
Yardage: 2,453 - 3,103; Rating: 106;  Slope: 67.2; Rates: $29 - $40

 

Crimson Ridge Golf Club

The year 2000 arrived with tremendous fanfare and a great sense of uncertainty. The local Soo golf market had a chance to celebrate the turn of the century with a brand new, highly acclaimed championship test with the opening of Crimson Ridge Golf Course. The centerpiece of a beautiful residential community, the Kevin Holmes designed layout has been praised within the Ontario golf scene since its opening.

Built atop a high bluff in the northwestern ridges of the city the course is routed over a series of tablelands intermixed with plunges into a rugged river valley filled with dense forests and granite walls. The routing is a superb mix of exacting, demanding golf in and over the wilds of the flowing creek valley, admirably complemented by the rolling tableland holes surrounded by thickets of trees and homesites. The course has challenging shotmaking demands from start to finish, rewarding the player who can keep the ball in play as the edges of the corridors are unforgiving. Featuring a drivable par 4 hole, greens with stark ridges and hollows, challenging forced carries and one of the most picturesque par 3’s in the province at the 17th hole, Crimson Ridge certainly will live up to the high expectations deservedly placed on the facility. 

Course Stats
Yardage: 5,274 - 6,827; Rating: 65.1 - 72.4;  Slope: 118 - 138; Rates: $53 -$70 

 

Sault Golf Club

Celebrating a 100th anniversary is a remarkable feat. The year 2019 will see this remarkable honor bestowed upon the historic Sault Golf Club, located in the eastern reaches of the city. Shortly after WWI, George Cummings arrived in the Soo tasked with designing a nine-hole layout on the banks of the St. Mary's River, as Algoma Steel was thriving and the owner was wanting to bring golf to the growing city. Through many redesigns and the addition of new holes by Stanley Thompson in 1952, the course has seen many variations in the routing from its present-day footprint. The current layout is a testament to the principles of Mr. Thompson, using the land gently to create spacious greens with subtle and confounding slopes.

The course is extremely walkable, with only a handful of holes requiring elevation change to be factored into the club selection and execution. A true shotmaker's course, the layout requires a deft touch with approach shots and cleaning up any errant shot around the greens. A former host to the Canadian Tour and various Golf Ontario championships, the club has been named host for the Ontario Senior Championship in 2019 as part of the centennial celebrations. This traditional historic layout may not have the wow factor of the other courses in the Soo, but more than makes up for it in what it demands from your game. This lovely piece of Ontario golf history will not disappoint. 

Course Stats
Yardage: 4,160 - 6,768; Rating: 61.5 - 73.4;  Slope: 107 - 131; Rates: $30 -$65

Since it's a substantial drive from Southern Ontario, many don’t associate Sault Ste. Marie with being one of Ontario’s golf destination experiences. As a hub for cross-country travel and a gateway to the United States, #TheSoo is a unique locale. With plenty of beautiful landscapes, a rich history and plenty of culture to savour, the city is both a stop-over option as well as place to stake roots for a longer stay. Should you be traversing through the city this summer, packing the clubs in the trunk might be a good call as the quality and variety of golf options presented in the city are well worth sampling. Check out the Stay and Play Golf Package, which is available to add some quality golf experiences to your visit to #TheSoo.

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