“Go out and have fun. Golf is a game for everyone, not just for the talented few.”
The late Harvey Penick clearly has experienced courses like Oxley Beach, set west of Leamington in peaceful Harrow, Ontario. Canada’s Southernmost Golf Course, this lovely 18 hole par 3 course is set just off Lake Erie on County Road 50 which meanders along the coast of Lake Erie from Kingsville to Amherstburg.
The course is owned and operated by Richard and Christine Froese. The course was designed in 1963 and Chris and Richard have owned the course for over 30 years. Their care for the course and commitment to service is exceptional. The course is very walkable, and with two sets of tees it plays just under 2400 yards from the whites and just over 2200 yards from the red tees. Holes vary from 85 yards to 185. Fees are very reasonable, with 18 holes capping out on weekends at $20. However, for visitors who would love to get a few rounds in, a weekly pass is $50. If you live close by, memberships are available for $600. Couples can join for $950. There is a Tuesday evening Women’s Night and the course is connecting with local wineries and restaurants for 9 and dine afternoons in the summer.
Simply put, this is a fun course. It is a relaxed and enjoyable golfing experience. My parents are part of a group which plays every Friday morning in the summer. The Cedar Island Pitch and Putt group has tore up the fairways at Oxley Beach for over 12 years and the group may have more fun on a golf course than any other I have experienced. Oxley not only makes that possible, it encourages and embraces it.
After your round you can relax and enjoy a drink on the patio. You’re close to wineries and boutique shops if you’re seeking some apres golf activities. There is boating, fishing and the coastal drive winds and meanders through small communities. You don’t even need to bring your clubs, you can rent clubs and a pull cart.
The course is straight forward and in very good condition. Greens are exceptional, small and on the slow side, but in really good shape. There are a few bunkers, nothing too penal, and the course is open and forgiving. The signature hole is the short 13th which carries over a pond and is guarded by a lovely willow tree. It’s also your best chance to see local wildlife; mostly turtles and frogs, but on occasion you could see a fox or deer. There are eagles in the region too. Whether its spring, summer or fall, there is natural beauty to experience and the course is very serene.
Courses like Cabot Cliffs or Banff Springs get significant accolades and rightfully so. But in my experience courses like Oxley Beach deserve more attention for what they do to engage golfers and help grow the game in Canada. Oxley is a course which golfers in Canada need to embrace, experience, and protect. I have had the pleasure of playing Oxley many times over the last 12 years and there are so many things I love about it. It is fun, very welcoming and allows me to reconnect with what I love most about the game – playing with people I love spending time with. My parents and the rest of the gang from Cedar Island embody what is what truly great about golf in Canada. And for them, and all of us, courses like Oxley Beach are a jewel which is worth showing off!
Christine and Richard, thank you for all you do! The course, like the region itself, is wonderful to experience and it is always nice to see you! The course record (5-under par, 49) was safe yet again.