The Best Public Golf Courses in Ontario

Some of the best golf courses in Ontario are a nine-iron away from Toronto

Wooden Sticks, Uxbridge

Wooden Sticks, Uxbridge 

With an abundance of green space and no shortage of golfing enthusiasts, Ontario has a plethora of public golf courses you can enjoy on your trip to Canada this year. In fact, the province of Ontario is home to 16 of Golf Digest's "Top 30 Courses in Canada"—many of which are open to the public and a short drive from major tourist destinations like Toronto.

Whether you're visiting Canada for a business trip and looking to blow off steam or you're planning a vacation and want to relax with a few rounds, there are many public golf courses in Ontario that don't require club membership to use. While all of the following courses might not make anyone's best-in-the-country list, they still offer a great experience for anyone just passing through the area.

It's important to keep in mind when budgeting for your trip that a round of golf can be rather expensive, especially at the country's top-rated courses where a round of 18 holes during peak times can cost between 100 and 200 dollars. However, teeing off after 4 p.m. during twilight play or seeking out courses with less of a reputation can help you save money on your trip.

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    Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course

    Courtesy of Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course

    Located in the central Ontario region known as Muskoka, the Deerhurst Resort in Hunstville is home to the Highlands Golf Course, whose dramatic setting has been a draw to the region for decades. This 72-par course has also been used in numerous professional golf championships and competitions and was ranked one of ​"Canada's Top 59 Public Golf Courses of 2017" by SCOREGolf.​

    At the resort, you can take a lesson at the golf academy or try a round on the slightly less demanding par-64 Deerhurst Lakeside course for a little less money, and the resort generally offers reasonable Stay and Play packages as well as reduced-fee twilight and sunset tee-off times as well.

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    Bigwin Island Golf Course

    Louise Heusinkveld/Getty Images 

    This Doug Carrick-designed course is one of the many stunning golf courses serving cottagers and other vacationers in Muskoka, which is about three hours north of Toronto. Located on the shores of the Lake of Bays between Baysville and Dorset, the Bigwin Island Course isn't actually on the island itself.

    In any case, Bigwin Island Golf Club is members only from June 28th to September 1st, but you can play on the course as a non-member by booking a reservation at least one week in advance. Public play is available from Monday to Thursday after 10 a.m. and Friday to Sunday after 1 p.m. in May, June, September, and October.

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    Humber River Valley

    Golf NFLD/Wikimedia Commons

    Just over a half hour from downtown Toronto (and less if traveling from Pearson International Airport), the Copper Creek Golf Club sits amidst the undulating, mature landscape of Humber River Valley in Kleinburg, Ontario. Since opening in 2004, the course has earned an impressive reputation as one of Ontario's premium daily fee courses, including being ranked in SCOREGolf's top courses of 2017 list.

    If you plan to be in Toronto for a while and will be golfing often, you can even sign up for the Copper Creek Flex Program, which grants discount prices on day fees as long as you book a certain number throughout the season.

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    Chief Master Sgt. John Evalle, 436th Airlift Wing command chief, putts during the Bluesuiter's golf tournament Sept. 29 at the Eagle Creek Golf Course.

    Jason Minto/www.dover.af.mil

    Set in a mature spruce forest not far from downtown Ottawa on the shores of the Ottowa River that separates Quebec and Ontario, "the Creek" in Dunrobin was initially intended as a private club. However, the course is now open to the public all season long, offering a challenge to players of every variety and skill level at reasonable prices.

    The club offers golf events each month as well as occasional deals and seasonal group rates. You can also take special classes and clinics offered through a program called ClubLink to improve your short game, full swing, course management, or even understanding of the psychology of the sport itself.

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    Kedron Dells is a great choice for people who don't want to drop a ton of money on green fees (even weekend rates are less than 50 dollars) but want to play a mature, challenging course. The eastbound drive from downtown Toronto will be about 45 minutes or more, depending on traffic.

    First opened in 1974, Kedron Dells Golf Club is located on 155 acres of sprawling, wooded farmland in the Oshawa Creek Valley. Family owned and operated, the Kedron Dells Golf Club maintains a tradition of "CANI"—"Constant and Never Ending Improvement"—meaning you can always expect a better trip each time you visit this affordable yet popular Toronto course.

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    Aerial of The Links at Crowbush Cove, Lakeview, Prince Edward Island, Canada

    Barrett & MacKay/Getty Images

    Located about halfway between Toronto and Mississauga and with green fees under 75 dollars, Lakeview Golf Course is a gem for golfers looking to game while visiting Toronto. To get to the course, it takes about half an hour from downtown and only 15 minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport.

    Lakeview has been around since the early 1900s, is designated as an Ontario Heritage Site, and has been the host of the Canadian Open twice. This parkland-style course offers a variety of challenges for rookies and seasoned veterans alike, making it an ideal destination for golfers of any skill level.

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    Located in the Jerseyville community of Ancaster, about an hour southwest of Toronto just outside of Hamilton, the Mystic Golf Club has been a popular course since it opened in 2005.

    Mystic Golf Club is considered an innovation in the way golf courses are made, with each hole requiring ample strategy and control of the player's swing to make par. This has earned Mystic a reputation as a players' course even though it remains reasonably priced with day rates between 55 and 65 dollars.

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    The Rocky Crest Golf Resort in MacTier, Ontario, is a full-service resort that offers guests a chance to play unlimited rounds of golf on one of the Muskoka region's best courses. Located about two hours directly north of Toronto in Gordon Bay, the resort rests on the edge of Lake Joseph amidst a thick forest, offering gorgeous views while you practice your swing.

    Rocky Crest Golf Resort is also a great place for the whole family, featuring a variety of outdoor activities including climbing on giant inflatables in the lake, playing at the on-site water park, and attending a Kids Camp (for ages 4 to 12 years old).

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    RBC Canadian Open - Final Round
    Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images

    Famously home to the Golf Canada and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, Glen Abbey Golf Club was the first course designed alone by Jack Nicklaus. Located between Mississauga and Hamilton in the quiet suburb of Oakville, this is also where Tiger Woods won the 2000 Canadian Open.

    Due to its reputation and credibility as a professional course, players who come to Glen Abbey for the day pay a higher than usual fee—more than $200 during prime times—but twilight rates are available, and there are occasionally special deals available on the official website for reduced admission.

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    Lionhead offers a lush, mature scenic setting less than a half hour outside of downtown Toronto and about 15 minutes from Pearson International Airport where players can choose from two courses: Legends for those looking for the greatest challenge and Master for those who want a less demanding "Florida-type" course.

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    Set amongst the trees and stone of the Muskokas about three hours north of Toronto in Gravenhurst, the Taboo Resort is home to a public access golf course that's hosted several championship tournaments and been voted one of the best 50 courses in Canada numerous times.

    As a result, visitors will spend between 100 and 200 dollars to play the home course of Canadian golf professional Mike Weir. The tee rates will depend on whether you are a guest at the resort and the time that you tee off for your round.

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    Until recently, Osprey Valley was a hidden gem off the beaten path of professional tournaments and golfing organizations. However, in 2018, the course will play host to its own PGA tournament, the Osprey Open, meaning it will likely be harder to visit this public course in coming months.

    Osprey Valley is in Caledon, a rural and picturesque town an hour's drive northwest of Toronto. Players can play any one of the three Doug Carrick designed courses that comprise Osprey Valley Resorts at rates often less than 100 dollars. 

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    Wooden Sticks, Uxbridge

    Wooden Sticks, Uxbridge 

    Located north of Toronto on the way to Lake Simcoe, Wooden Sticks is about 45 to 60 minutes from downtown Toronto and features 12 holes that are copied from famous courses. Replicas on the course are modeled after some of the toughest and most unique holes in the world, including those found at Augusta and St. Andrew's.

    Wooden Sticks rates start around 100 dollars depending on the time of year. However, this charge includes not only the standard tee fee, but also breakfast, lunch, snacks, access to practice facilities, use of carts, and non-alcoholic beverages.