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Windermere Golf and Country Club

Windermere is a place of lasting legacies

When Stanley Thompson, George Lyons, George Cumming, and F.P. Freeman played the very first round of golf at Windermere Golf and Country Club, it was the realization of their vision: to enjoy golf while vacationing amid Muskoka’s lakes and pines.

As the foursome played the original nine-hole track in front of 200 spectators, they can’t have imagined what amazing changes would transpire in the next 100-plus years. Designed by the historic firm Thompson/Cumming/Thompson, Windermere is recognized by Golf Canada as one of the oldest clubs in the nation.

A fun and casual yet challenging and rewarding atmosphere exists on the now 18-hole championship course, which is a hidden jewel nestled amongst towering pines and granite outcroppings. Semi-private during the months of July and August, the club has a gained a waiting list for membership, but welcomes public play in May, June, September, and October.

Over the last few years, the club engaged golf architect Ian Andrew, who specializes in restoring and elevating historic clubs. Working with Windermere’s superintendent of 25 years, Jason Eberle, the course has seen significant and visually stunning upgrades.

“The most successful course is one that will test the skill of the most advanced golfer without discouraging the duffer, while adding to the enjoyment of both.”

– Stanley Thompson

“Our club and course have grown tremendously since that first round,” says Jason. “We’ve managed to make incredible improvements to our course, and other parts of the property, which has people excited about what we’re doing and wanting to be a part of it.”

Director of Golf Jim Rennie and Head Professional John O’Brien oversee the day-to-day club operations, which include junior programs, men’s and ladies’ nights, summer kids’ camps and Family Fun Golf Days. They are happy to see a resurgence in golf’s popularity.

“Obviously, we love the sport, and our course is a fantastic place to play,” says Jim. “Knowing how many people want to be here as members and even play in the spring or fall is amazing. We’re looking forward to many years of providing our members and guests great golf experiences.”

The club’s three tennis courts – which have also been reconstructed in the past five years – host adult and junior programs that are overseen by head tennis pro Patti Henderson and her associates.

Along with the Iron & String restaurant, the club has become a one stop home for summer fun. While many things have changed, the same camaraderie, welcoming atmosphere, and family-first nature of the club remain.

It’s a place where memories are built and traditions are passed down from parents to children, and even grandparents to grandchildren. Creating a legacy was the club founders’ dream, and it has remained an important part of the culture and new success of the club.

This is why at Windemere, they believe it is important to make sure, “Our Future will always hold History’s hand.”

TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN

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