By Jason Straka, Hurdzan Fry.
The design mandate from the Club's owners was to provide a Member friendly, playable golf course. That's not to say the course wasn't to have its challenges, and it does. The design intent of the course is to allow Members of all abilities to enjoy the course if they play intelligently and even conservatively when needed.
Generally, the golfer will find wide fairways allowing marginal shots to be found and played again. But don't let the spacious fairways fool you. The angles of the greens dictate preferred sides of the fairways and those positions are carefully protected with natural and man made hazards. Read the hole-by-hole descriptions under "Golf Course" and then "Golf Course Tour" and you will come to know what I mean. The wide fairways are a throwback to an older style of design, one The Georgian Bay Club is making new again.
Speaking of an older design style coming back into fashion… is The Georgian Bay Club's bunkering. Other than the views of Georgian Bay and The Blue Mountains, the bunkering style commands the most attention and is uniquely attractive. The style you see is most associated with famed golf course architect Alister MacKenzie. This style of bunkering was chosen after countless hours of research and is big and dramatic in nature to fit in with the 'oversized' views off the course. We've found pictures of this very style dating back as far as 1908. You will find similar bunkering at notable courses such as Cypress Point, San Francisco Golf Club, the original designs at Augusta National and Merion, Riviera and Pasatiempo, among others.
The bunkers are intended to be a hazard as defined by the rules of golf and are not intended to be easier to play from than the rough, as is often the case for professional tours. The capes and bays of the bunker may in fact allow for an easy recovery one time and a very difficult one the next, with the margin between the two perhaps only a few feet. Being a hazard, the golfer must learn to accept what he or she gets…sometimes very difficult and other times more forgiving. We, as North American golfers, have gotten away from that thinking. So, while the fairways are wide and generous, the bunkering isn't necessarily so. This style and placement of bunkering brings back the thinking and risk/reward element to The Georgian Bay Club, which often lacks on many modern designs. Enjoy the challenge.