Willowdale Golf Club Course Review
When reading golf course reviews you often see terms like hidden gem, finely manicured or friendly staff. When I think of Willowdale Golf Club I think of all these but I also think of Goldie Locks and the three bears. If Goldie were to lace up her spikes and grab a set of Titleist instead of porridge, she would find Willowdale to neither be too hard, like Papa Bear’s bed, nor too soft like Mama Bear’s bed. Instead Ms. Locks would find Willowdale to be just like Baby Bear’s bed…Just right.
Your experience at Willowdale starts when you arrive and the easy, stress free atmosphere that owner Bob Whiting and General Manager Pam Lewis have established. Willowdale is a family owned course and you get the feeling of arriving at the family camp on a summer day when you walk through the front door. A quick smile and gentle hello welcomes you to what will undoubtedly be an enjoyable day. That is assuming of course that your golf swing doesn’t cause you any angst, but that is for another column.
The course itself at Willowdale is very playable no matter what your skill level. From the tips it plays to a par 70 at 6086 yards, and with two other sets of tees every level of golfer will find a length to suit their game.
The rates at Willowdale are also very agreeable with 18 holes costing $35 walking and $51 with cart. However, the best deal could be the unlimited golf after 3 p.m. rate of $20. Willowdale is a very walkable course so you should find time to squeeze in a couple extra holes for those who feel 18 just aren’t enough.
The first three holes at Willowdale are indicative of the course in general. The first hole eases you into your round with a medium length par four that affords a good opportunity at par. The second hole is a straight forward par 5 that is reachable in two for players with a little length off the tee. Then, just when you thought this was going to be easy, the third hole sneaks up on you and provides a very stiff test for even the best of players with a 431 yard par 4 from the tips. And that is how your experience will unfold at Willowdale. It is a great mix of short and then challenging par 4′s, with solid par 3′s and two very playable par 5′s.
A great example of the par 4 diversity is on the back nine with the difficult 10th and 13th holes followed up by the drivable 280 yard 14th and then another birdie opportunity on the 305 yard 17th. The par 4′s allow for ample challenge alongside birdie chances making for a very fun round without letting you loose interest.
The par 3′s at Willowdale are championed by the fantastic 5th hole. It is my favorite hole on the course despite the many unsavory words I have lobbed after an errant tee shot there. It is a bear at 202 yards from the tips but a manageable 136 yards from the front. The tee shot also provides you a wonderful view of the Scarborough marsh which should calm your nerves before you attempt the very challenging tee shot.
In the end a day at Willowdale is always an enjoyable one. From the first tee shot until the first sip of your beverage of choice at the 19th hole, it will leave you satisfied and ready for another visit. Are there more challenging and better manicured courses out there? Of course, but if you’re looking for that perfect mix of both then come snuggle into Baby Bear’s bed at Willowdale Golf Course where I think you will find it truly is, just right.