The Ridge at Manitou is a place of natural beauty where holes meander through the Muskoka landscape. A short drive into the interior from Parry Sound on Lake Manitouwabing, designer Tom McBroom’s “out and back” layout delivers an unforgettable experience. Many argue that The Ridge is the best of the new Muskoka courses, and it’s certainly one of the architect’s best.
Whether you’re staying in one of the hundreds of cottages on Manitouwabing, driving in for the day, or using The Ridge as a stop on a Muskoka golf tour, the over the top hospitality will be the same. Most arrive by car, but the clubhouse has lakefront access and mooring for both boats and float planes – and what a clubhouse. Perched on the rocky shore, this log structure is right out of another time – a large fireplace in the dining room, generous screened porch, and a patio right on the granite of the Canadian Shield.
The food is second to none for miles around. So good in fact, that local cottagers hop in their boats and come for dinner, even if they didn’t play golf. Come early and stay late for your round, the food is a slice of heaven.
The course itself lives up to every bit of its reputation. It has been ranked in the top 100 courses in Canada many times, and #24 on the Score Golf ‘Public Courses” list. While many Muskoka courses have been rightly criticized for favouring vistas over playability – architect Tom McBroom has created a wonderful golf experience, where the beauty of rocks and trees and bogs is ever present, but not a distraction or unnecessarily penal.
A fine example is hole #2 – a relatively short par four (at 306 yards from the back tee) that plays over a massive granite outcropping into a valley below. The green is a hard dogleg right to a plateau even higher than the tee. Classic risk/reward decisions have to be made. One could try for the green, but missing is fraught with danger. The danger decreases rapidly as the tee shot is shortened and aimed more left – but the second shot becomes increasingly difficult at the same time. It’s not until you’re lining up your putt on an extremely difficult green, that one looks back to the tee and realizes that you’re in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Then you do that 16 more times until the 18th green decends back at the lake and the clubhouse for dinner.
Ridge at Manitou is a must play.