There is fall-time golf and there’s fall-time golf in the Muskoka region. It’s just not comparable. Especially with a splendid tapestry of warm oranges, deep reds and a burst of vibrant golden yellows, as the summer leaves begin to change. Talk about a backdrop. Peak foliage starts right about now, and runs until later October. Getting us up there from downtown Toronto on an early morning in September was the sleek, refined new Cadillac XT6.
ClubLink’s Rocky Crest Golf resort features a breathtaking championship golf course that weaves through an exposed Canadian Shield. I know this since I bounced a drive off the rock facing on one of the holes, only to see that fresh Titleist Pro V-1 ricochet deep into the woods. Giant forests of white bitch, hemlock and pine envelope the golfer on every tee box. The course was designed by Thomas McBroom, a name synonymous with outstanding golf course design and construction in Canada and around the world. If there is a more picturesque golf course anywhere else in Ontario, name it.
Forget your score
The Canadian Shield appears on 15 of its holes. Tees stretch from 6,936 yards down to 5,131, so there’s something there for all level of golfer. Not that you will care about your score. You’ll be too transfixed by the surroundings. The par-5, 563-yard 18th was our signature hole. It features an ascending tee shot with rock facing on the right, then an initial winding fairway. Following that is a straight shot in to the green, with the imposing, pine-log clubhouse overlooking the green in the background.
ClubLink is a network of private, member-based golf courses around Ontario. Besides Rocky Crest, Grandview is another ClubLink Muskoka offering, ranging from 7,065 yards to 4,750. It’s another a lush course, north of Rocky Crest, that winds through granite, wetlands and forests. Lake Joseph Golf Club is the third component of the ClubLink triumvirate here, located along the shores of picturesque Lake Joseph. It’s also designed by McBroom. Five tee decks there stretch from 6,995 yards to 5,081.
Lake Joseph Golf Club
Our media vehicle was the Cadillac XT6 Premium Luxury mid-size SUV. External features begin with its iconic grill, and extend through the exterior trim with bright metallic and galvano finishes. The Premium Luxury and Sport models comes with a 3.6L, V-6 engine, and nine-speed automatic transmission featuring Electronic Precision Shift, for a seamless, smooth ride.
The XT6 has four selectable driving modes for the road conditions you are facing. XT6 models come standard with AWD. The Sport model has a dual-clutch Sport Control AWD, with Continuous Damping Control active handling for a sportier driving feel, including better responsiveness. There are too many driver assistance and safety technologies to mention here.
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Probably the biggest statement-maker for the long drive north to Muskoka was the interior. It’s a blend of contemporary aesthetic, comfort, luxury and simple interfaces. There is a laser focus on detail, quality and craftsmanship. Then there’s the seating – leather upholstery, power-adjustable, heated front seats. That heated steering wheel will especially come in handy with the winter months coming up.
Immersive sound system
What really stands out in the vehicle is the sound system. The Bose Performance Series sound system has 14 custom-tuned speakers for a truly powerful, immersive listening experience. The CUE infotainment system of the Cadillac XT6 features a rotary controller in addition to the touch screen. Pretty user-friendly, overall. Media includes satellite radio, Wi-Fi hot spot, six USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There is a dedicated wireless charging phone slot. Cargo usability and handy little storage spaces is another strength. There are three rows of seating. But fold down that last row (electronically via push button) and you have 43.1 cubic feet of cargo space. That’s a lot of space out back. More than enough space for a full set of TaylorMade clubs for you and clubs for your three other golfer mates.
TOP IMAGE: CLUBLINK’S GRANDVIEW CLUBHOUSE
Rocky Crest clubhouse