Wednesday, October 12, 2005

New Bond Head course by Jason Straka

The new course at Bond Head doesn't open until next summer, but here's a sneak preview courtesy of some photos sent to me by Brent Long. the first course has been an artistic success, though a questionable business venture. Jason Straka, the architect behind both Georgian Bay Club and the first Bond Head course, is again looking after this one, though it has a very different appearance from the original course.

Though I've yet to see the course in anything other than a preliminary state, Brent's photos make this look a bit more like Devil's Paintbrush than the first course, with its Friar's Head bunkering.

What is also apparent is some of the similarities with Dundarave, the Hurdzan/Fry course where Straka had his coming out party in Canada. The square tee boxes give the course a bit of a classic feel, but the look is quite modern.

Clearly the course is in varying degrees of construction. Some holes are complete, while others have yet to be grassed. What is also interesting is the degree of elevation change on the course. That is evident when driving into Bond Head (the new course is on the right as you head up the road).

It also looks like playability will still be a key factor. The fairways probably won't be as wide as the first course, but still maintaining the width of many of the newer courses. As I've mentioned, I have yet to see the course first hand. I'll be up at Bond Head on Friday and will take some more photos and get Jason's perspective on the design.

So how will the second course at Bond Head be received? That depends on how the business plan develops around the course. As the guys on Toronto Golf Nuts have said, at $80 Bond Head is a great value. At $180, it is empty. Determining the price point will be a big factor in how many golfers venture north of Toronto to play. At the very least, the courses have to have a comparable price point to Copper Creek, which has always discounted weekend afternoon rounds and is less expensive than Angus Glen or Eagles Nest to start with.

But none of that has anything to do with the actual design value of the course. If it is as good as the first Bond Head design, I think it can be judged a success. We'll see.

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