Walk on up to Emerald Hills
07 FEB 2017
By John Gordon
As one of the four original ClubLink Clubs (King Valley Golf Club, Heron Point Golf Links and Cherry Downs Golf Club were the others), Emerald Hills Golf Club has its own aura, a particular personality, that drew plaudits from Members and guests.
The original 18 holes were renowned for their challenge which was illustrated whenever Emerald Hills played host to high-level tournaments such as the 1988 PGA of Canada Championship and the 1999 and 2000 editions of the Nations Cup, which featured the best Canadian and American LPGA pros.
Then, in 2005, Emerald Hills became one of the few 27-hole facilities in the ClubLink family with the opening of a third nine, designed by Thomas McBroom.
A stately clubhouse overlooks the course, which is accessorized by an expansive practice and teaching facility.
An impressive resume, to be sure. One commensurate with a prestigious Member Club. And a resume that continues to be expanded.
In 2017, Emerald Hills becomes the first ClubLink Club to provide access to its Home Club Members without booking tee times. Prestige-level Club Members will aslo enjoy this benefit. The concept is simple: Members simply show up, check in with the golf shop staff and inform them who and how many are in their party, and the approximate time they would like to play.
Grant Holcomb, ClubLink Regional Director of Operations, points out that a select few other high-end Member clubs in the Greater Toronto Area use this operating model and take great pride in the fact that advance tee time reservations are not necessary. “It’s a whole different and stress-free mindset for Members. It’s a real luxury to not have to plan ahead, other than to simply check the club calendar to make sure there isn’t a club event scheduled on the day of play.”
There is no doubt that the set-up at Emerald Hills is ideal given the 27-hole layout offers three separate starting nines. Head Golf Professional, Stephen Daymon says “there will be a period of transition for our Members and employees but we expect things to go smoothly based upon the research and planning that has gone into this. Good communication and training will be the key.” The change should serve to provide Members with greater flexibility and elevate the experience at Emerald Hills.
Under the new protocol, reciprocal access to Emerald Hills by other ClubLink Members is welcome by booking in advance through LinkLine or LinkLine OnLine. And of course, Members of other ClubLink Clubs are welcome to enjoy the new walk-up privileges at Emerald Hills but only if invited and accompanied by an Emerald Hills Member.
Although the new golf access protocol is big news for 2017, the improvements made to the golf course over the last three years are also newsworthy. Every bunker on the course has been renovated, the first and eighth greens on the Forest Nine have been completely rebuilt and the rest of the greens have benefited from an intensive cultural practice protocol to restore their health and playability. A few finishing touches to work done last fall along with some cart path reconstruction will be completed in the early spring.
“It’s all good news at Emerald Hills. Our Members are excited about the improvements to the golf course and new flexible way to access it” says Holcomb.
Sounds like Emerald Hills will be a must play on my list this season.