Crosswinds Golf and Country Club – Country Club Quality for Public Players
With all the amenities of a private country club, this public golf facility in the north west part of Burlington is an impressive facility which is one of the best conditioned courses in the region. An ideal location, framed between Rattlesnake Point and Mount Nemo – two prominent Niagara Escarpment features in Burlington – the course complements the natural beauty of the area. Having played here a few times now, being a Burlington resident, I enjoy and appreciate this course more each time I play it. Set on a sprawling 200 acres, the layout and routing are well designed so as to avoid the feel of holes being too close in proximity.
The course is walkable, something that may be more challenging for some Escarpment area courses in Burlington. The design, with water potentially in play on 10 courses along with several fairway and greenside bunkers, demands accuracy but with few exceptions does the course feel tight. This balance is a credit to the course designer who states “On every hole there is an easier way if the tee shot is properly placed.” As the name of the course would indicate it is the wind which can be the most common challenge for shot selection though in my experience this is more an issue later in the day.
The course prides itself on service and while I cannot dispute this, I would place a higher value on the course conditioning and the excellent work of the course superintendent and the grounds crew. A large and very high-end clubhouse is prominent at the end of the driveway entering the course. The lack of an active membership (the course offers guest passes in increments of 20, 50 or 100 instead of memberships) likely diminish the use of the facilities though larger spaces are well utilized for meetings, weddings and other functions.
The course offers five tee boxes which range from just over 5000 yards to over 7200 from the tips and a hybrid of their blue and white tees create a sixth option for play at just under 6300 yards, cleverly gapping their 6000 and almost 6600 tees. Tee boxes are superb; flat and providing places for broken tees and on par 3’s there is seed mix to replace divots. Driving Carts are in excellent condition and provide players with GPS access to help with club decisions. Green complexes are often large but fair in their slope. Speed is consistent and the condition is also very good. The signature hole is the par 3 5th, featuring an island green. But I am particularly impressed with the challenging 6th. A long par 4, straightaway, and with a demanding uphill approach, this hole has likely derailed many excellent rounds.
My advice is make a commitment to play Crosswinds a few times; my appreciation for this course has grown over time. Like many Burlington courses, a fall round is highly recommended.
Aura – 7 out of 10 – The public golf market in Burlington has many options and Crosswinds fills an important space as a quality public offering. The course, the service and the overall golf experience will help bring players back after a first round. The lack of a membership option is odd to me but for public players this is a benefit.
Value (cost / experience) – 6.5 out of 10. A peak green fee of $84 (which does not include a cart) is not the best value in the city but Crosswinds is confident in the quality of its course and the experience it can provide players and it has delivered for me during my experiences there. A Monday to Friday early bird rate, replay rates and a discount for seniors and juniors all help improve value. And for those who want to play Crosswinds regularly, the options for 20, 50 or 100 play cards are available.
Course Condition (fairways/greens, layout) – 8.5 out of 10 – To me, this is Burlington’s best conditioned public course. I appreciate how each hole is positioned so as to avoid risks of play spilling from hole to hole (of course it’s possible, just unlikely). The tees are excellent and the design frames landing options which are fair and generous. Barring the tough 6th hole, there is often one side of the hole to favour. The greens are very good, rolling well and while large have more subtle undulation. The greens are well and fairly protected by bunkers which are consistent and easier to play than most public courses. I’d be proud to be a member at this course.
Overall Experience (how did the round make me feel; would I return) – 8 out of 10 – This course has really grown on me. The more I play it, the more I like it. It’s a fair test and is – maybe more than most courses in Burlington – likely to have you pull all clubs from the bag over the course of your round.
Highlight (what is great about the course) – Standing off to the right of the 4th tee watching playing partners hit is quite the sight. With the escarpment set in the background and depending on your tee selection, a majestic tree framing the image. Bring a camera along and find your own highlight location, there’s likely several to choose from. Playing recently as a dew sweeper, the morning sun was stunning and showed the natural beauty of this course.