25 Years of Heathlands

This month we look forward to celebrating the 25th anniversary of our first golf course here in Osprey Valley. We knew that our July 25th celebration - announced in late June - would be popular, but we never imagined that it would sell out in so quickly. It is shaping up to be a unique and wonderful day - we can’t wait!

Heathlands opened in 1992 and many of you who keep coming back remember playing out of the ‘temporary clubhouse’, the big shed that is now our main maintenance building.

Heathlands certainly didn’t build it’s name on luxurious amenities in those early years, but rather on a pure golf experience made possible by the work of a creative young golf course architect named Doug Carrick returning from an inspiring trip to Ireland.

We had the privilege of sitting down with Doug last week to revisit the story of Heathlands and how his work in Osprey Valley helped shape the storied career that lay ahead of him. You can read his story below.

July Nine and Dine - Friday, July 14th

It’s not too late to sign up for our Nine and Dine this upcoming Friday, the perfect start to the weekend is right here in Osprey Valley! Gather your family and friends and join us for 9-holes of golf, a delicious meal and a live patio performance by Caledon recording artist, Hannah Chapplain!

Click below for more info or to reserve your spot OR call the Pro Shop today at 519 927 9034. We hope to see you on Friday!

July Nine and Dine

Growing the Game for 25 Years

On Monday, July 24th, we welcome back the BAGS Junior Golf Tour, making another stop in Osprey Valley. We always enjoy hosting this group and watching potential future stars play.

The BAGS Junior Golf Tour is a grassroots organization aimed at developing young players (ages 10-18) and providing junior golfers with an outlet to learn and advance their game. In addition to being exposed to various courses throughout the season and given the opportunity to sharpen their skills, junior golfers are encouraged to have fun!

The junior tour is partnered with On the Tee magazine. On the Tee magazine is a great source of Canadian golf news - we’ve followed them for years - and promotes golf tourism, providing readers with everything they need to know to plan a visit to courses north of the Greater Toronto Area and/or cottage country.

This year, the BAGS Junior Golf Tour is also celebrating their 25th anniversary. Congratulations! We wish the tour all the best in the next 25 years and thank them for the effort in developing junior golf!

BAGS Junior Tour website

The Alton Mill Wine and Food Festival

On July 22nd, the Alton Mill will be abuzz as local artists, chefs, wineries and musicians will come together for Headwaters largest celebration and fusion of food, art and wine.
From 12-6pm, the Wine and Food Festival will feature interactive do-it-yourself mini workshops, regional chef competitions and art demos, while the Mill grounds provide a picturesque backdrop overlooking the ponds and waterfall.
With over twenty-five artist studios to browse on-site, spend the afternoon enjoying the art while you sip and sample gourmet meals by the likes of Rural Roots Catering, JRed & Co and more!
All proceeds raised will benefit the Alton MillPond Rehabilitation Project, a community based project focused on improving the quality of water and fish habitation of Shaw’s Creek.
Tickets are $25 in advance or $35 at the door and will include 3 vouchers to be used for samples. Additional vouchers will be available to purchase on site for $2 each (cash only!)

Don’t miss out on this great event!

Get Your Tickets Now!

Doug Carrick reflects on 25 Years of Heathlands

Like a lot of great undertakings, Heathlands started with an offhand comment.

In 1990, Doug Carrick had been asked by an architect friend to help out with some landscape design on a piece of property in Caledon that was being turned into a retreat. Upon visiting the site, he commented to the owner, Al Scott, that it would make a great golf course. “Actually,” Scott replied, “I have another property I’m thinking of building a course on” and another project was born.

The original plan was to was to build two golf courses on the other piece of land. “I thought it was important to differentiate the golf experience between the two courses,” says Carrick. Inspired by a recent trip to Ireland, he wanted one to be a links course and “the compactness of the first building site made it suitable” for what would become Heathlands in Osprey Valley.
In Ireland, links courses are often found on smaller scale properties without many trees, much like the 165 acre former farm that Carrick started with. The course that primarily inspired Heathlands was the Portmarnock Golf Club near Dublin.

Portmarnock “gave me a whole new appreciation for links golf, a game that is quite different from what I was used to playing here in North America,” Carrick says. “It gave me an appreciation for the ground game and for contours around the green. It gives golfers a lot more short game options and the contours really have an influence on what you try to do. That’s the interesting and fun aspect of links golf.”
Pontmarnock Golf Club

The design and construction process came with a few unforeseen challenges, such as an abundance of rocks and some tricky drainage challenges, but in retrospect, it seems that the process was almost charmed “from start to finish. I got a call in February or March from Al saying he wanted to build the golf course and by September we had it seeded. It all took place over seven months. Most golf courses take a minimum of a year and closer to two.”

Heathlands would become a huge critical success for Carrick and is often referred to at the greatest course of his early period. It would also have a significant influence on the direction of his career. “It was an important project, a departure in design style for me. It added things to my design toolbox.”

The early intention to build two different style courses in Osprey Valley would ultimately be realized a decade later - though on behalf of different ownership - with the construction of not just one, but two more courses, Hoot and Toot. The diversity of the Osprey courses reflects Carrick’s style. It’s something that he strives for.

That isn’t necessarily how he began. Like most Canadian golf course architects, he was heavily influenced by Stanley Thompson. Carrick’s mentor, Robbie Robinson, a former associate of Thompson, “schooled me in the Thompson design style.” It is a pedigree that can be clearly seen in a number of his early courses, such as King Valley, his first.
Stanley Thompson, C.E. "Robbie" Robinson and Doug Carrick

The fateful trip to Ireland added some contours of its own to this solid foundation. The character of Portmarnock and the purity of links golf that manifest in Heathlands have become “something that I’ve tried to incorporate into a lot of golf courses.” For all the stylistic variations found within Carrick’s portfolio, the risk/rewards sensibility and the opportunities for creative ground play around the greens stand out as recurring trademarks.

It is a portfolio that reads like a Where’s Where of Canadian courses - Eagles Nest, Humber Valley, Cobble Beach, Bigwin Island, Predator Ridge … wherever you end the list, you leave off some great golf courses. It’s no surprise to us in Osprey Valley that in speaking to players about their favourite courses, we often hear variations of the same list with many expressing a preference for “Carrick courses”.

Twenty-five years after Heathlands opened - “it doesn’t seem like that long ago,” he says with a smile - Carrick’s body of work speaks for itself, but his long list of awards and honours add an emphatic exclamation mark to the statement. It’s safe to say that Carrick has joined the ranks of the masters - Thompson and Robinson - who inspired him. He responds to the thought with characteristic modesty.

“It’s nice to get some recognition for the work you do, but I’ve had a lot of help,” he says, giving large amounts of credit to his team, contractors and clients. “There’s so much input from so many people to create each course.” And no accolade surpasses the satisfaction of “hearing from golfers and seeing them enjoy a course you designed.”

It’s what he looks forward to most by sharing in the 25 Years of Heathlands celebration on July 25th. Returning to Osprey Valley is always a bit of a homecoming for Carrick. When asked to sum up the time he has spent there and the people he has shared it with, he thinks for a moment before saying fondly, “We had a lot of fun.”

A Two Pool Month! The British Open

With the month of July playing host to both the British & Canadian Open tournaments, we’re giving you double the chances to win free golf with our Major Pools!
The British Open will take place from July 20th-23rd, returning to the Royal Birkdale Golf Club for the 10th time. Henrik Stenson will have a chance to become the first European to hoist the Claret Jug back-to-back since Padraig Harrington last accomplish the feat, nearly 10 years ago on the same course. Registrations for our British Open Pool are currently open and will be accepted until Wednesday July 19th.

Enter the British Open Pool

The Canadian Open

Immediately following the British Open, the RBC Canadian Open returns to the beautiful Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario. Will this be the year that a canuck can finally takes our national tournament? World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Ernie Els will challenge the strong local contingent including Adam Hadwin, Graham DeLaet, Nick Taylor and David Hearn. Entries for the Canadian Open Pool will begin to be accepted tomorrow morning and will close on Wednesday July 26th.
Enter the Canadian Open Pool
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