January 22, 2021
I spent the past summer in my hometown of Stirling, Ontario. Stirling is a small town, with rolling hills, pastures, and amazing butter tarts (from Taste of Paradise). Fortunately for me as an avid golfer, it also is an area filled with several immaculate golf courses, all of them unique and true to their own design. The best course in the area is Black Bear Ridge, which I was fortunate enough to play a handful of times this past summer. When people ask me about this course, I tell them that it is better than most Toronto clubs. It is, in my view, the most underrated course in Ontario. The course is always in impeccable shape and the professional staff there offer some of the best service in Canada. The attention to detail and small town friendliness is the perfect combination for a great day of golf.
Black Bear Ridge is a demanding course off the tee, requiring precise tee shots. Although the greens are large, if you find yourself on the wrong shelf you can save yourself the time and trouble and just take a 3 putt. Black Bear Ridge offers 18 unique holes that flow perfectly into each other. The course is anything but repetitive, as each hole is both distinctive and memorable. There are several risk-reward holes for low handicappers, while high handicappers will find it a challenge to keep the ball in play. All in all, this course will test golfers of all ability levels.
The undulation found at Black Bear Ridge requires tactical precision on iron selection into every green. Find yourself short, and you will be reaching for your ball retriever. Find yourself long, and you will be hitting a “Phil Mikelson” type lob shot into a green that runs away from you. While challenging from a golf perspective, the undulation gives way to several breathtaking views. It is the perfect stroll until about hole 16, when those who have not kept up with their cardio workouts will have their breath taken away…literally.
As for the course amenities, the beverages are always cold on their patio, which overlooks the 9th green and the rolling hills of the front 9. Just a few minutes away from the club are some of the best restaurants in Belleville. Signal Brewery is only a country mile away from the course. If you are looking to enjoy the Bay of Quinte scenery, The Boathouse has some of the best views and fresh fish in the town. Looking to impress your partner? Linguine’s offers a romantic ambiance and some of the best Italian food in the area. All of these choices will offer some comfort and rest after a full day of putting your golf game to the ultimate test at Black Bear Ridge.