Hornby Glen – On Par for Enjoyment and Value

Hornby Glen – On Par for Enjoyment and Value


Hornby Glen - Open for 2015
Hornby Glen – Open for 2015

My friend originally billed this course as a ‘confidence builder’. ‘It is fairly wide open, we can just bomb it off the tee’, is a paraphrase to how he previewed Hornby Glen. This course is located in Halton Hills, ON and has always provided me a challenge and left me feeling fulfilled; it is a nicely maintained publicly accessible course. I find it an underrated course that will require a complete game to succeed (that said, a good tee time can allow success).

The more I play Hornby Glen the more I like it. The layout is simple and straightforward and I am not being derogatory in saying that. It is a nice course to walk, with a few holes having some modest elevation, as there is a creek bed which dissects the course along several holes. Holes can run in various directions so any prevailing winds will help and hurt at some point. The holes are spread far enough so that it is rare where players will play shots on your hole. It is possible but the gaps between holes allow for play and the rough is not too penal. Exceptions to that rule are some holes which have natural grass areas. Hole 2, for example, a par 5, has natural grasses growing right or left and demands accuracy off the tee. The straightforward aspect is evident in that there is only three tee boxes, forward tees which play just under 5100 yards; white tees which play just over 6000 and the back tees which play about 6400.

Tee boxes are generally well kept but have some inconsistency to them in subtle sloping. Take the time on some holes to find a flat spot, for me this has not detracted from my experience or enjoyment. The conditioning is good. As mentioned, the rough is quite playable and the fairways are not too tightly mown but are very visible off the tee. Greens are good and range on the larger side. This provides a good defense for the course. Slope can vary, with some holes fairly benign and others, like the par 4 5th (which is the #1 handicap hole) and the par 4 17th (which I find to be the toughest hole on the course)offering the most slope for putts. Hole 2 always rolls very fast so if you’re above the hole respect the speed of your next putt may be a long one.

The bunkering on the course has seldom come into play for me but requires attention. I find it to be a windy course and it is possible some of the sand gets blown off so I’ve experienced a more firm bunkering consistency which is ok, it just requires expectation. The par 5’s are not overly long and for a big hitter there is scoring opportunity there, with the possible exception of the 18th which to me plays longer than its 531 from the white tees. The back nine is the longer of the two nines and players seeking a good score need to get off to an early start.

Staff are very friendly and it is seldom packed anytime I’ve played there so it is possible to get a round in within four hours. The layout, length and lack of tightness of the tee create diversity in shot options. I find I leave Hornby Glen having used most clubs in my bag. Par 3’s have a good diversity of length and offer the most visible hazards, many of which guarded with ponds at some point. The par 4’s range from straightaway to doglegs and the prevailing winds creates challenge on some of the holes.

Players can expect to pay $57 on weekends and there are early bird options which allow players early week play for under $42. Like their website states, Hornby Glen offers “Great Fun, Great Golf and Great Value”. This won’t make top course lists but it is a fun golfing experience and if you’re so inclined, like my friend says, you can bomb it and give the driver a good work out!

Aura – 6 out of 10 – Affordable public golf in the GTA is always challenging and this course offers that. This course does not try to be anything more than it is and provides an understated and enjoyable golfing experience.
Value (cost / experience) – 7 out of 10. As a GTA Golf Club member I am able to play here for $35 on the weekend and $30 during the week and there’s no beating that value. For the public player, the most you will be charged is $57. The value is solid as the conditioning to me is underrated.

Course Condition (fairways/greens, layout) – 7 out of 10 – There is good diversity of golf holes here. The conditioning is solid. Greens are in good shape and roll consistently. The fairways are wide enough and the holes are spread out far enough to avoid feeling of congestion. Tee boxes have some irregularity in terms of being level but they are acceptable. Bunkering can be improved. Practice facilities are good, as the course has a full driving range, chipping and putting green.

Overall Experience (how did the round make me feel; would I return) – 8 out of 10 – I really enjoy this course. It feels open, and it is possible to play a bombers game, but requires attention on the greens and on approach shots. The staff friendly and very helpful. They have a nice patio to enjoy some 19th hole banter.

Highlight (what is great about the course) – The people I have encountered at Hornby Glen are fantastic. They create a warm and welcoming atmosphere and help make the round enjoyable. I love the challenge of the back nine in contrast to the chance to play well and post a score on the front.

Recommendation (magic wand…what would I change) – It feels like there has been construction on the par 4 15th hole for quite some time now. If this could be completed and some aesthetic investments made this could be a real signature hole.

Just So You Know – Taking time to enjoy the patio after your round! If you’re looking for an understated golf course to belong to, memberships are available for $2680. Not exactly a bargain, but for a GTA course and for an avid player this can provide very good value.

My Best Shot – Well, it definitely isn’t on the green, the size of the greens bolster my GIR stats but test my lagging abilities. The tee shot on the par 4, 3rd hole, 368 from the white tees, have always left me shots well inside 100 yards. I step on the tee and its instant confidence. I always tend to get a good look for birdie on this hole.