Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada
Architect: Ron Garl
7,340 Yards, Par-71
My Quick Review: Very good in spots, but overdone for my tastes.
The golf course starts with an excellent par-4 -- strategic and particularly well shaped. The hole is simply and efficiently bunkered, and uses the ground contours for added impact -- if the entirety of Taboo was designed with such restraint, the course would be better for it.
The second is a long par-4 of 463 yards with a forced carry over wetland to reach the fairway. Certainly the tree on the left has to go...
Even on a wet day the par-3 3rd is pleasing to the eye. Though it is the large waste area that will distract the golfer, only the worst of misses will find it -- nonetheless, the angled and highly contoured green is a very difficult target to find:
The 4th is the first of the over-bunkered holes. The strategy of the hole is dictated by the clever use of a rock-wall that cuts across the fairway 100 yards short of the green -- golfers that find bunker from the tee lose the opportunity to choose whether to challenge the rock wall on the second shot:
The 6th is probably the 'signature' hole at taboo, with a difficult tee shot played to an island fairway. Once again, though, the lack of restraint detracts from the hole as a good portion of the fairway is blocked out by trees on the right, and taking on the bold carry from the tee leaves the far more difficult angle of approach.
The 7th is a stunning long par-3. The golfer that can leave his tee shot pin high will be surprised at width to which he can miss:
The 8th is the best par-5 on the golf course. Over-bunkered again? Perhaps. But on this reachable par-5, each grouping of diagonal bunkers intrude into the line of play, adding strategy and thought to each shot.
The 9th hole doesn't feel 'resort-y', with a difficult and blind tee shot over a rise and an approach played to a green surrounded by fairway cut run-offs on all sides:
After a lengthy transition to the 10th tee, the golfer is rewarded with a thrilling, elevated and demanding tee shot:
The par-3 11th, with its striking similarity to the 3rd, must invoke a sense of deja vu:
Probably my favorite hole on the course, the downhill par-4 12th requires the golfer to carefully select line and club from the tee. With the green in clear view, the thinking golfer will give thought to the pin position before choosing how he attacks the hole:
An excellent green at the 358 yard 13th. Playing away from the trio of pots on the right brings the sharp false-front into play, and the tiny back-left shelf is the perfect Sunday pin position.
But for a two-tiered green, the 14th is comfortably the least interesting hole on the course. The 15th is a demanding short par-3, with a long and narrow green and little forgiveness if missed:
The 17th is a very attractive hole, but probably would be better served without the trouble down the left. A stream on the right is well used and protects the short route and preferred angle of approach -- anything bailed out to the left would leave a blind approach to a narrow green.
The 18th, with its downhill fairway, is reachable in two for many even at 533 yards. The hole is certainly out-of-character, but on its own it might just be a great hole. There is tremendous width from the tee, with a split fairway option to the right -- only tee shots on this bold line will have a view of the green on the second shot. From the fairway there are options galore. Lay-up short of the rock wall, play right for a lay-up, or challenge everything to reach the green in two?