The venerable Loyalist Golf & Country Club in Loyalist on the shores of Lake Ontario not only plays host to Austin and Augusta James – two members of Golf Canada’s national team – but the third iteration of The Great Waterway Classic is set to be played there from August 21-24.
Joining Smugglers Glen and Upper Canada in The Great Waterway rotation, Loyalist is a Ted Baker-designed course that gives golfers of all levels an opportunity to enjoy themselves. With five sets of tee blocks, the yardage ranges from 5,000 to 6,600 and it’s well-liked by first-time players and members alike.
“It’s in fantastic shape all the time,” says Director of Sales and Marketing Geoff James. “It’s an easy course to walk, it’s in mint condition.”
Loyalist has played host to numerous Golf Association of Ontario (GAO) events including the GAO Women’s Amateur Championship, but this year, the club has been busy getting ready for PGA Tour Canada.
“The Tour hasn’t said to change anything, but we’ve added a few tee-decks on par-3s and one par four on the back nine. It’ll increase the yardage to 6,900 yards,” says James. “We’re going to grow the rough up a little around the greens, and increase the green speeds.”
With a unique set-up, the back nine at Loyalist is a par-37, featuring just one par three. That means most of the scoring will need to be done on the front nine. Despite it’s shorter length, there are certainly some tricks that will keep the professional golfers honest.
“A big equalizing factor will be the wind,” explains James. “If the wind stays down we’ll see some low scores, but if we get the prevailing wind off the lake – which is only 500 meters from the course – guys will really have to manage their ball flight and work hard into the greens.”
A personal favourite is the par-4 9th. A long dogleg right, the view is spectacular. The town’s water tower is in the distance, along with the lake itself. A great finisher before moving into the back nine.
With its tranquil setting, Loyalist is also a fabulous destination for a wedding or just a really good meal. The 20,000 square-foot clubhouse plays host to numerous events each year and is open for both formal and casual dining, with a patio that overlooks the treacherous (but beautiful) par-5 18th.
“It’s a fantastic community. We have over 100 volunteers for the tournament who love the course, and love the community,” says James. “It’s more than just a golf course.”
The pros arrive in a few weeks, but in the meantime — why not play where the pros play the next time you’re in The Great Waterway?