Otter Creek Golf Club Set to Open to Public in July
April 30, 2008
Otterville, Ontario - Most people living in Otterville never thought an outstanding championship golf club would come to their rural Ontario farm community, but one has.
Located 20 minutes south of Woodstock on the western edge of this tranquil town (pop. 500), acclaimed golf course architect Dick Kirkpatrick has crafted a stunning 18-hole layout that golfers from all across Ontario will surely want to play when the club officially opens in July. As golfers enter the property they will surely be impressed with the club's entrance. Fortunately for Otter Creek, town officials provided the owners access to an old right-of-way immediately off Otterville Road that is lined for half a kilometre by towering pine trees on one side of the driveway and views of the starting holes on the other. As you pass a ramshackle farm on the right, the road weaves inward to the parking lot and clubhouse area. It's a welcome you'll remember and the start of a great day at the Otter Creek Golf Club.
Considering much of the 300-acre parcel of land was previously used for tobacco farming, the land is deceptively hilly enabling Kirkpatrick to route several holes along and through the wooded valleys of Otter and Spitler Creeks. When asked to elaborate on his design philosophy, Kirkpatrick says he focuses on "eye appeal" and "playability" as the two key characteristics that make for a memorable and enjoyable golf course. "For the most part I think the average golfer will find Otter Creek very playable and if there are players who want to experience all this course has to offer I encourage them to play from the back tees. At 7,100 yards, it will be a true test of golf," says Kirkpatrick noting the course features two particularly challenging par-3s.
Kirkpatrick grew up just minutes from the golf course so returning to the area to oversee this project has been somewhat of a homecoming for the Carlisle resident. Kirkpatrick started working for his father in 1957 who introduced him to the intricacies of the golf course construction business. Over the past 50 years, Kirkpatrick has been involved in the building or renovating of nearly 200 courses. Otter Creek is his third solo project having designed the second course at Granite Ridge Golf Club in Milton and the Copetown Woods Golf Club near Hamilton.
To provide a truly memorable experience, Kirkpatrick has incorporated waste bunkers on holes 2, 10, 11, 12 and 14 into the overall design of the golf course. In addition, he is particularly pleased with the course's final hole. "I like to say that No.18 at Otter Creek is like No. 18 at Hamilton G&CC, but on steroids, says the seasoned 69 year-old Kirkpatrick, who is a past member at what is arguably the country's No. 1 golf course. "The 18th at Otter Creek is a spectacular par-5 that will make or potentially break many rounds."
"I was given a blank sheet of canvas to work with," says Kirkpatrick whose intention from the outset was to establish one of the best new golf courses in Ontario. "I wanted to create a golf course that players of all skill levels could enjoy and would remember."
Complementing the golf course will be a rustic 5,000 square-foot clubhouse thoughtfully designed by Oakville architect Gus Ricci to accommodate tournaments, banquets and other social events. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year. Once completed, Kirkpatrick believes Otter Creek will become a destination unto itself drawing golfers from all across south western Ontario.
Newly appointed Director of Golf, Darren Allan agrees. "Otter Creek is a special golf course that truly captures the essence of its natural surroundings. Everyone that comes here will be glad they did," says Allan who is committed to providing an unsurpassed golf experience to everyone who visits the golf course this year.
Otter Creek will feature 4 sets of tees ranging from 4,700 to 7,100 yards. Green fees will be $48 throughout the week and $55 on weekends and holidays.
Photos available upon request.
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