It was holiday time for the Harris family in September with a much anticipated two week trip London Ontario in Canada. We had travelled to Canada to visit my wife’s sister and her family. Her and her husband have just had their second child, a gorgeous little baby girl called Molly.
Of course I don’t generally ever go on holiday without the sticks so golf was definitely on the agenda. I also knew London has some top tracks waiting for me. First stop was a semi public course called Echo Valley located west of London. Built originally in 1971, and renovated in 2005, the course presented a challenge for golfers of all levels. Shot choice off the tee was also a key feature. It’s not a course where you need to ‘smoke it’ off the tee to make scores. At just over 6000 off the men’s tees it provided lots of chances to hit some shorter clubs into the greens. The course underrated through the valley area. A course with this many hills is fairly unique in the London region as generally the terrain is flat.
The rough offered a stern test. Missing the fairway by a yard often resulted in some sticky lies lush lies where a ‘hack out’ is the only option. The greens were slick, true, with plenty of dramatic breaks. The more subtle ‘hidden’ breaks also required thought and attention to putt well.
I was paired up with two local players, friends Stephen and John. Both had been playing Echo Valley for a number of years and were able to provide me with members knowledge for each of the holes. There was some great golf in the group. On the uphill par 4 second John striped a drive down the middle and then dunked his second shot from 154 yards for eagle. Lots of fist pumping and high fives followed! John went on to make a couple more birdies and also managed to hit the club house adjacent to the green on the 9th! Luckily no damage to either building or scorecard as his ball ricocheted back in play.
After a ropey start (bogey, bogey, treble) I rallied and played some steady golf finishing with a 77 (+6). This included two birdies, one of which was a pitch in on the par 4 7th.
On the 14th hole the drinks cart stopped for us. John and Stephen were keen to celebrate the eagle earlier in the round so it was #beeroclock time. I wasn’t going to complain!
The signature hole is the par 3 12th hole. The hole requires an accurate iron to be threaded through a narrow gap of trees to a tight green. A large bank is right and a large drop off to a water hazard will gobble anything hooked. I managed to hit an awful block to the right but scrambled for par. All in all I had a great day.
John and Stephen were great company, the course and weather were pure. Some great golf by all in the mix as well.