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Anything but Par for the Course

Golfing & Dining in Haldimand County

By Tara Shannon

Sandusk Golf Club
Cayuga Golf Club

My golfing motto, thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, is this: If I hit it right, it’s a slice. If I hit it left, it’s a hook. If I hit it straight… it’s a miracle. I’m not especially good at golf but I still enjoy it. It’s nice to get out with friends, have a laugh or several (usually at my expense), get some exercise and when we’re all done, reward ourselves with lunch. I also love that there are a limitless number of courses and lunch destinations to be found within an easy drive of home. Haldimand County is just a short drive from Hamilton, Halton, Niagara, Brant, Oxford, Norfolk and beyond making it a great mid-point destination for friends and family to gather. So, why not make a day of it? You won’t be disappointed.

Below are just a few ideas, in no particular order, of where you and your group can tee-off and dine right here in Haldimand County.

Cayuga: The Cayuga Golf Club & Twisted Lemon
The Cayuga Golf Club & Twisted Lemon Restaurant are both located within the quaint town of Cayuga. Located just off Highway 3, the Cayuga Golf Club offers a beautiful course geared to players of all skill levels. They even have a wonderful practice area, perfect for someone like me who needs well, practice. And it’s nice to do so away from the regular course and the pressure of other players eager to play through. I love to make time to hit the practice area before our scheduled tee time. It helps build my confidence and warm me up for the course. I even come out here from time to time just to use the driving range and practice putting green. There’s a practice chipping green and sand bunker too, if you’re in the mood to really practice your patience, I mean… skills. After a great game and morning spent among friends, why not keep the good times rolling and wrap the afternoon up with a delicious lunch.

The Twisted Lemon is just a short drive from the Cayuga Golf Club and it’s a dining experience worthy of savouring again and again. Owners, Chef Dan Magna and Laurie Lilliman are always looking to change up their menu not only to suit what they love to eat and cook but what their diners love too. They grow many of their own ingredients and work with local produce and products as much as possible, highlighting their finds and creations through their seasonal menu. Even their specialty drinks options are ever-changing as they explore new flavours constantly. For a truly unique and delicious taste experience make sure you check the Twisted Lemon.

Dunnville: Freedom Oaks Golf Club & The Pub at Freedom Oaks
From their stunning course with views of Lake Erie, to The Pub at Freedom Oaks offering a delicious menu, licensed patio, and catering for your special event or tournament, to The Golf Acadamy, helping every level of player improve their game — Freedom Oaks Golf Club has it all. Located on the shores of Lake Erie just outside of Dunnville, the Freedom Oaks Golf Club has been operating its full 18-hole course for almost 20 years. It’s an established semi-private club that feels laid back and welcoming. The Pub at Freedom Oaks is a recent addition to the club and it really rounds out the facility making it the perfect place to host an event or enjoy a delicious meal after your round. I have to say, the Perch Platter, featuring 12 to 14 pieces of Lake Erie perch is a favourite among my group. We pair it up with some white wine, a couple of sides, and a starter or two, and voila! It’s a tasty feast fitting our lakeside location.

If you’re a novice golfer like me, you’re just starting out, or you’re looking to tighten up your swing, check out The Golf Acadamy at Freedom Oaks. They offer private lessons, semi-private or men’s, ladies and mixed group lessons along with a junior golf program that runs through July and August. Best of all, their rates (like their green fees and memberships) are very reasonable.

Hagersville/Jarvis: Sandusk Golf Club & Dingers Taps and Grill
Sandusk Golf Club is a hidden gem, for now at least, in Haldimand County. It offers low green fees and short wait times; a bonus for those living in more populated areas and who may be used to paying more and waiting longer to start their game. This 18-hole, par 70 course is located just outside of Jarvis on Highway 3, not far from Highway 6. It features wide fairways,
great for the beginner or novice (meaning there’s lots of room for error) while for more advanced players there are well-placed water traps and undulating greens. With several packages to choose from, lessons, gift certificates and an option to pay online, there’s something here for everyone. It’s a lovely course to walk or cruise in your cart as it follows the
flow of two beautiful water features, Jacob’s Pond and Sandusk Creek.

After a great morning of play at Sandusk Golf Club, take a quick car ride along Highway 6 to Hagersville, home of Dingers Taps and Grill. Dingers is a comfortable upscale restaurant with a friendly atmosphere great for both families and hungry golfers, ready to relax following their morning at the club. Enjoy favourites like hot beef, steak, burgers, cedar plank salmon, fresh salads and wraps or go for a comfort food classic made decadent — the lobster mac and cheese served here is out of this world. Made with East Coast lobster, red onions, garlic and mushrooms simmered in a white wine cheese sauce, it gets me every time. Order up!

Haldimand County has so much to offer the avid golfer and the up and comer. I hope you have enjoyed this sampling of where you can go but know just that; it’s just a sample. The golf courses, restaurants and possible combinations within Haldimand are expanding and changing all the time.

See you soon!

*** Haldimand County gratefully acknowledges the support of FedDev Ontario for tourism businesses in Ontario’s Southwest.