Sawmill Creek -- A New Canadian Classic
by Art McCafferty
The bulldozers and earthmovers are gone. The cement and asphalt trucks have disappeared. And while you can still hear the sound of an occasional hammer here and there, what you mostly hear now are the sounds of happy golfers discovering a great new Canadian golf course -- Sawmill Creek.
It looked like Bill and Linda Gerrits had begun to settle in. After emigrating from Holland in the mid-forties, Bill and members of his family settled in Sarnia, Ontario. Bill went off to create The Gerrits Group, a heating and air conditioning general contractor. He did very well over the years, the Toronto Skydome being one of their clients, for example.
Bill and Linda bought a farm on the outskirts of Sarnia in 1989. They built a home that was big enough to be classified as a small town. However, Bill always had the idea of turning it into a clubhouse.
Bill hired Rene Muyaert, one of Ontario's most prominent architects, to design the course. Muyaert also designed Toronto's St. Andrew's Greenhills, West Haven Clubs, as well as the Oaks Golf and Country Club near Delaware.
They moved a tremendous amount of dirt on this project, as it was a very flat piece of land. Muyaert gave the course a distinctive look with a wonderful blend of mounding, waste areas and ponds. It has an expansive look, in some ways reminiscent of the Twin Lakes course in Michigan's Macomb County. The course, with nine holes now open, will play to 6,530 yards.
A 35-station bent grass tee area with target greens complete with bunkers will supplement the golf course. There will also be an oversized practice putting green.
They have a classically designed pro shop that is classily filled by one of Ontario's best. Peter Boyce, CPGA at Sawmill, has returned to the area after having served as the head pro at Provo Golf Club in Providenciales Turks and Caicos Islands, British West Indies. The course is rated as one of the top ten Caribbean golf courses. Peter formerly served as the head professional at nearby Sarnia Country Club as well.
Peter will focus on establising a Junior golf school, a school targeted at women, and lessons for more advanced golfers. He is a clubmaker who features the Bob Toski and Magique lines. There is a richness to the pro shop and fine golf apparel is everywhere. Paul Dietz and Peter's son Matt Boyce will assist Peter this year.
The clubhouse seats 220 for dinner, has a fitness centre, a variety of meeting rooms, and an area for private dining. They promise that state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment will be the order of the day.
There will also be a number of bed and breakfast suites available for overnight, weekly or monthly guests.
The back nine will be opening later on this year, so put them in your date book for early this fall, or early next year.
Sawmill Creek, www.sawmill-creek.com, 3790 Lakeshore Drive, Camlachie, Ontario - N0N1E0, 519-899-golf.
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