Take a boat ride to paradise and Bigwin Island Golf Club north of Toronto

BAYSVILLE, Ontario, Canada -- A special day playing Bigwin Island Golf Club starts the moment players park their cars.

The five-minute boat ride across the Lake of Bays gets the blood flowing for what lies ahead on the isolated 700-acre island in Muskoka cottage country two hours north of Toronto.

Architect Doug Carrick transformed an abandoned Stanley Thompson course in 2001 into a stunningly scenic private playground that is only open to the public in spring and fall. All 7,166 yards weave their way seamlessly through undisturbed forest. Carrick's bunkers, lined with a local golden silica sand, are as big and bold as the fairways are wide.

Forgiveness off the tee remains a Carrick mainstay, but going low takes real shot-making skills to slick tabletop greens. The vistas from the elevated tee boxes of the par-4 sixth and par-5 18th holes are among the best in North America.

The food inside the wonderfully restored clubhouse and the level of service are on par with the best clubs in Canada. ScoreGolf ranks Bigwin Island No. 28 among the top 100 golf courses in Canada.

"The course has about six signature holes. You can remember them because the view is so good," said guest Dave Myers of Baysville.

The old Bigwin Inn, a magnet for celebrities and dignitaries in the 1920s and 1930s before it closed in 1970, unfortunately collapsed. The only remnants are several brick fireplaces the club plans to reuse in an outdoor garden for weddings and functions. The allure of Bigwin Island seems to be alive and well once again. Well-heeled members bring guests by seaplane to escape.

"It's an all-day experience," said Kevin Russell, the head professional/director of golf. "It's not a round of golf. It is an experience.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Related Links
Take a walk at Muskoka's oldest course: Windermere Golf & Country Club in Ontario
Destination Guide: Great golf and more in Barrie, Ontario
Latest Popular Content
4 Min Read
September 10, 2021
Pete Dye's golf course designs set the bar for innovation, creativity and challenge. We've compiled his top courses as rated on Golf Advisor by regular golfers like you.
6 Min Read
November 20, 2021
Help the golfer in your life shoot lower scores, look and feel better than ever this holiday season with these eight golf gifts.
4 Min Read
November 22, 2021
Anyone can play Tom Fazio's Wynn Golf Club, which sits in the heart of the Las Vegas strip.
4 Min Read
September 13, 2021
With a radical concept and engaging design, The Match golf course at PGA National Resort & Spa points toward a more creative future for the game in America.
Carved by time between some of the oldest and newest mountain ranges in North America lies La Quinta Resort & PGA WEST, a world famous golf resort just minutes from Palm Springs and Palm Desert, California. Challenge your game on 90 holes of championship golf designed by three golf legends.
7 Min Read
November 11, 2021
More than 115 golf resorts can be booked using your Bonvoy rewards. We break down where you can go and our favorite properties to use your points.
2 Min Read
September 21, 2021
Bernhard Langer recalls the turning point that led to a European wave at the Ryder Cup matches
Load More
Now Reading
Take a boat ride to paradise and Bigwin Island Golf Club north of Toronto