GRAVENHURST, ONTARIO – Golf packages are never Taboo in Canada. Unless, that is, you book a golf vacation to play at the Taboo Golf Resort and Spa at the heart of Ontario’s resort community of Muskoka, 90 minutes north of Toronto, Canada. In addition to an excellent golf course, the Taboo facility – which used to be called the Muskoka Sands Resort – has a world-class spa, conference center, and hall for weddings and receptions.
Taboo Golf Resort and Spa is the owner of a Ron Garl-designed golf course that is a popular inclusion in golf packages in the Toronto, Canada area. The golf course has been the recipient of rave reviews and is built upon the Canadian Shield, the enormous granite geological formation. Garl created a straightforward design in the traditional mode.
But the owners, brothers Norman and Elly Reisman, were not content to rest upon the opening design at this Muskoka golf course. Four new tee decks were added for the second season, and the 489-yard par-5 16th hole has been changed to a par-4, making the layout a 7,173-yard, par-71 challenge.
“When they made changes to the course I was a bit worried but it was only for the better,” said Pat Jeffcott. “It plays really well and is not too difficult, though challenging
Taboo Golf Resort’s Professional Mike Weir wins 2003 Masters
Taboo means breaking with convention or tradition, then the course’s touring PGA Tour professional did that with extreme prejudice in 2003 when native son Mike Weir became the first Canadian to win a major at The Masters.
Muskoka, Ontario’s Taboo Golf Resort and Spa capitalized on Weir’s victory by offering a “stay-and-play or stay-and-spa” package. The package included accommodation and one day of unlimited golf, with cart and practice facility. Also included were all non-motorized amenities of the resort and its half-mile of beautiful Lake Muskoka beach, which include swimming, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, rowing, tennis, mountain biking and more activities to enjoy the beautiful natural setting of Ontario, Canada’s wilderness.
The excitement surrounding the renaming of the resort, its exciting future and Weir’s win threatened to overshadow the fact that the course has been the catalyst, and justifiably so.
Garl, a Florida-based architect, did a superlative job with the expansive setting, especially in selecting green sites. When Weir attended a media day last summer, he chose the par-3 seventh hole to demonstrate his skill with a 6-iron. The hole plays more than 200 yards slightly uphill to a relatively accessible green, although any shot to the right will find native undergrowth. The controversial design of the par-5 18th hole means that it will never play the same way twice.
That phrase could be used to describe the entire layout at Taboo, which had the luxury of wending its way over and through a couple of hundred acres of rugged topography. As a result, each hole stands on its own with a sense of happy isolation from its neighbors.
So enthralled were the owners with the positive reaction to the label “Taboo,” that they renamed the entire 1,200-acre resort, formerly known as Muskoka Sands.
The former Muskoka Sands had a lot to offer, but was starting to show its age. Its rejuvenation has already begun with renovation of the existing hotel, construction of cottage chalets, and expansion of the marina facilities to accommodate up to 60 boats.
There is also a Weir-endorsed teaching academy and even a charitable foundation similar to the Francis Ouimet Society in the United States. The latter scholarship program subsidizes the education costs of young people who are seasonal employees at Taboo and lack the funds to attend post-secondary institutions.
Since Weir’s endorsement until 2011 the golf course at Taboo Golf Resort and Spa near Toronto in Muskoka, Ontario has grown immensely in popularity for golf packages. Be sure to book a tee time well in advance to have an opportunity to play this unique golf course on your next golf vacation to Ontario, Canada.