The Ridge at Manitou…A Five Star Canadian Golfing Experience

When it comes to Canadian golf, there are a number of wonderful courses. When it comes to great golf at a luxury five star resort, a must course to play is The Ridge at Manitou while on a Canadian vacation at The Inn at Manitou.

Located in McKellar, Ontario Canada, two hours north of Toronto on the unspoiled shores Lake Manitouwabing, The Inn was founded by Sheila Wise and her husband 35 years ago. Today, The Inn, a charming, eclectic, warm and hospitable resort with 34 luxurious guest rooms, is operated and managed by Mrs. Wise and her daughter, Jordanna Lipson.

The Inn has been described by AAA’s Home and Away travel magazine this way…“The Inn at Manitou provides an elegant retreat tucked away along the shores of crystal-clear Lake Manitouwabing. It is a unique blend of sophistication and simplicity that has an added luxury of a most-secluded location.”

As you check in you are greeted with a glass of champagne, taken on a familiarization tour of The Inn, and escorted to your spacious Jr. Suite overlooking the lake or your deluxe room overlooking the tennis courts.

A top rated member of the distinguished Paris based Relais & Chateau Association since 1986, The Inn’s staff of 11 international chefs prepares delicious contemporary French cuisine which is served by a mostly European staff in either the outdoor patio or The Inn’s white table cloth dining room.

We met a number of the 70 members of the international staff, most of whom have hospitality and culinary school backgrounds. We met staff members from France, England, Scotland, Austria, Venezuela, Ireland, Viet Nam, Indonesia, New Zealand the U.S. and Canada. All were bright, enthusiastic and well skilled in their roles as goodwill ambassadors for both their countries and The Inn.

There is plenty to keep you busy at The Inn. Besides exquisite meals in a most relaxed atmosphere, spectacular scenery, massages in the Spa, yoga, tennis on four hard courts and four clay courts, afternoon tea on the tree shaded patio, cruises on the lake, workouts in the fitness center, a swim in the outdoor heated pool, you can enjoy golf at the nearby exclusive private golf course, The Ridge.

The Ridge was named Ontario’s Best New Course in 2005 and the best new Canadian golf course in 2006 by Golf Digest. An exclusive private club, The Ridge offers guests of The Inn at Manitou the opportunity to play one of Canada’s finest courses.

At nearly 7000 yards from the black tees and 6300 yards from the member’s tees, the highly scenic course winds its way through a forest of white pines, maples, and century-old hemlocks. Course architect Thomas McBroom called his work “an immersion into the landscape,” and so it is.

When you play The Ridge, you’ll need to bring a polished game as a smooth accurate touch is just as important as a “grip it and rip it” approach. In 2007 Golf Digest writer Ron Whitten said “The Ridge is more about position and finesse than brute ball bashing.” Picture in your mind fairways with granite outcroppings, multiple left and right doglegs, strategically placed fairway and greenside bunkers, meandering water on five holes, and subtle undulating greens. With these pictures in your mind’s eye, you’ll understand Whitten’s comment and the subtleties of The Ridge at Manitou.

Each and every hole at The Ridge is challenging even though the fairways are wide and receptive. However, hit an errant tee or fairway shot and you’ll find yourself looking for your ball on grassy knolls, in stream-fed wetlands or in the lush forest. The challenging Par 3’s average 199 yards from the tips. The Par 4’s range from the short 306-yard 2nd hole to the lengthy 453-yard 8th hole. The Par5’s, including the downhill 18th hole, The Ridge’s signature hole, are 487, 503, 520 and 578 yards in length.

My favorite hole was the downhill Par 5 18th. While just 503 yards from the black tees, it required a well-placed tee shot to a fairway that doglegged left around pines and outcroppings. Having survived that test, I was challenged with a second shot over a bush-covered ravine to a carpet-like fairway that led downhill to the green. Fortunately, my second shot was also successful. I stopped for a moment before my third shot to view one of the prettiest “Kodak Moments” in golf… Lake Manitouwabing with its sky blue water shimmering in the sunlight just yards behind the green.

One of The Ridge’s many well-manicured green side bunkers captured my third shot. My feeble attempt at a sandy-birdie landed 25 feet from the pin. I two putted, recorded my bogey, and headed to the inviting stone and pine clubhouse for a relaxing moment and a bet settling libation with my playing partner and long time Canadian friend, Gord Kidder.

My day golfing at The Ridge at Manitou had been a true walk in the park as my military style golf…left, right, left, right…gave me an opportunity to traipse though the very lovely quiet and scenic Canadian landscape. My score didn’t reflect my enjoyment of the day but I came back to Southern California vowing to return to The Inn at Manitou and The Ridge at Manitou.

When you combine the opportunity to play The Ridge at Manitou while staying at the five-star The Inn at Manitou, you have the makings of a perfectly relaxed all-inclusive golf, spa, lake, tennis, swimming and dining vacation.

Open mid-May through mid-October, The Inn at Manitou and The Ridge atManitou combine for a wonderful five star Canadian golfing experience. For information on The Ridge at Manitou, including a view of each hole, visit www.ridgeatmanitou.com. For details about The Inn at Manitou, including photos of accommodations, sample menus and details on spa, golf, and tennis packages, visit www.manitou-online.com, or call 1-800-571-8818.

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