The golfing highlight of Ontario’s rapidly developing Muskoka region is Oviinbyrd, an ultra-exclusive club servicing less than 200 members who enjoy exceptional facilities and immaculate golf in the area’s serene rock-strewn hills. Thomas McBroom’s design makes good use of the site’s natural wetland areas and incorporates dramatic rock formations, which dot many of the fairways and provide both strategic driving hazards and an enjoyable visual from the tee.
After a fairly gentle start, the course shifts into gear from the 7th with a fine seven-hole stretch that includes a beautiful short hole, the 8th, played over muddy wetlands into the base of a rocky hill, and an heroic par five played around an attractive lake at the 9th. Also good is the 10th, a short par four that bends around water and gives the bold drive across the hazard a chance to kick up towards the green but is progressively more difficult to approach the further left, and more safely, you play. Later in the round the course suffers a little from overkill with both the long plunging par three 14th and the all-carry tee shot on the 15th a touch severe while the lakeside par five 18th is sadly an unremarkable end for a course of this calibre.
Well built and with a peaceful, unhurried atmosphere, Oviinbyrd is a very fine experience and one of Canada’s premier modern layouts.