Framed by natural grasses and trees, captivating land forms and ragged handmade bunkers, this stunning course flows effortlessly over pastureland, across environmentally significant Savannah grasses and the Oxbow River valley, intertwining with existing gravel spoil piles.
The challenging par-72 championship design (73 from the forward tees) measures 5,672-yards from the forward White tees, 6,279-yards from the Blues, 6,676-yards from the Gold tees and stretches back to a very demanding 7,183-yards from the tips.
Firerock Golf Club is located at 10345 Oxbow Drive, Komoka, Ontario, N0L 1R0. Komoka is five minutes west of London.
Golfers should be warmed up and ready to play as they arrive at the elevated first tee. What you see before you is a medium to long carry down across the Oxbow River Valley, which will come into play several more times throughout the round.
The first drive of the day is a little intimidating, however, the landing area on this 457 to 545-yard, par-5 is generously wide and forgiving. Watch out for the bunkers on the right. The hole sets up as a double dogleg and it will take two perfect shots early in the match to hit the green in two. There are bunkers on the left, leading to the raised green and a roll-off collar to the right.
While it’s only the second hole of the day, the golfer is given a huge opportunity to bite off as much of the only man-made lake on the course as you think you can handle off the tee.
It’s a very inviting tee shot. From another elevated tee, the risk is that you’ll need to drive the ball over the water and sand bunkers that sit to the left, but the reward is a short iron onto the green on this 304 to 388-yard, par-4. If you’re lacking confidence after the first tee shot – the large bale out area is to the right! But why not have some fun – it’s just a game. This nasty green sits on a plateau that can be difficult to hold, but the greensite has no sand bunkers!
The first of four par-3s, takes golfers on a short but unforgettable journey to Ireland. This spectacular hole is cut through a canyon of old gravel spoils leaving little room for error.
Playing from 120 to 230-yards, the green is surrounded by the daunting fescue hills and thick primary rough that will make for a challenging up and down on an errant shot. The tee shot is played slightly downhill into the prevailing wind to a bunkerless, raised greensite. The green then slopes back to front, so one more club then usual is a wise choice. Don’t get caught up in the captivating scenery, or you’ll end up somewhere you don’t want to be.
If you’re 1-over par or better after the first three holes, architect Thomas McBroom says you’re well on your way to a good score after a challenging start.
From the tee of this 295 to 399-yard, par-4 there are two obvious choices. The fairway is uniquely split by a looming fescue-covered sand and gravel pile. The aggressive shot is to drive the ball down the right side leaving a shorter approach shot into the green, but a slice will land in two to three inch thick blue grass rough. A drive to the left of the sand pile leaves a longer second shot, but it sets up nicely avoiding the lone pot bunker at the right-center of the green.
A good honest par-4 with the wind at your back. This 348 to 430-yard slight dogleg-left welcomes a driver off the tee. The ideal shot will be positioned on the right side of the fairway, but to do that you must flirt with the three treacherous fairway bunkers that come into play off the tee.
The bunkers on the left aren’t reachable, but it’s a much tougher second shot because the green is well guarded by a wicked bunker at the left front and a smaller one back left. Being short right isn’t a bad option here.
A driveable par-4, well, maybe. On the scorecard this sharp dogleg-right plays 294 to 382-yards, but in reality, if you’re willing to gamble, it’s just 320-yard from the tips as the crow flies.
The question is, are you willing to try and carry your drive 250-yards plus over the largest and potentially most lethal bunker complex on the course for a shot at eagle? The smart player will take out a 3-wood or long-iron, fade the shot up the center of the fairway that slopes away from the contour of the hole and open up the green for an easy approach shot. A wedge or short-iron is all that is needed to a sloping, raised green that’s protected front left and right by deep bunkers.
With the prevailing wind at your back, this is a grip-it and rip-it 448 to 538-yard par-5 that’s reachable in two for the daring at heart. The man-made pond that separates the 2nd and 7th holes isn’t in play off the tee and there’s a wide-open landing area that’s tough to miss.
This hole is all about the second shot. From 200-yards in, the pond skirts the left side of the fairway, while the largest green on the course is tucked around the bottom corner of the pond. It’s all water to the green if you’re going for it in two, while the neck of the hole continually narrows on the approach shots. McBroom says, that if you play it smart, it’s an easy birdie.
The Oxbow River shouldn’t come into play on this 148 to 219-yard, par-3 as you tee off directly over the small valley from a picturesque elevated tee to the well protected green-site below.
There’s one bunker to the left front and a sea of them rising from the front to the back that leave no room for error for a pin tucked into the right side of this two-tiered sloping green that rises to the right. Par will be a good score on a hole that’s high on drama and that could be tough on the scorecard.
Heading back towards the clubhouse, No. 9 is perched atop the Oxbow River Valley wall that dramatically drops to the right of this demanding 327 to 404-yard par-4.
It’s the hole you see as you enter the course off Oxbow Drive. A big slice and you’ll end up in the wilds, but five devilish bunkers on the right have been designed to catch wayward balls before they’re lost forever! Stay to the left side of the fairway and it’s a much easier second shot to a green that’s protected directly in front by a single bunker.
After a welcome breather at the clubhouse it’s time for an adventurous descent into the striking Oxbow River Valley. The challenge on this 334 to 416-yard, par-4 is to take the drive 250-yards over the left fairway bunkers and then let the ball roll down the moderate incline towards the green. There’s lots of room if you miss to the right, but three front right bunkers strategically protect this smallish green.
It will be a daring second shot off a downhill lie. Visiting any of those three-foot bunkers will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get up and down for par. From the landing area it’s a 40-foot drop to the green surrounded by a majestic forested area.
Sited in a densely wooded area that’s home to several 200-year-old black maples, No. 11 is the shortest hole on the course measuring just 109 to 175-yards off the back tees. Architect Thomas McBroom, says it’s one of the sweetest par-3s he has ever crafted.
If you’re going to have one dead-solid straight tee shot, this should be the one. A delicate mid-iron must cross the banks of the Oxbow River not once, but twice to a tight green featuring a large run-off area at the front. The only safe alternative to the direct route over the Oxbow River is short and right, where a scrambling par remains a possibility.
It’s time to have some fun with this exciting 410 to 487-yard, par-5, that could easily be a par-4 except that you’re hitting directly into the prevailing wind and it’s slightly uphill.
As the shortest par-5 on the course, it’s definitely an opportunity to get a shot or two back from par, but be careful of the bunkering in the first landing area. If you’re tempted to go for it in two and McBroom is counting on ‘golfers’ greed, you’ll have to deal with a series of six severe bunkers that guard the left and back portions of this sloping green defined by a stunning hedge row.
This is the start to a brilliant collection of three consecutive par-4s that are key to scoring well on the back nine. An accurate tee shot that cuts over a large swath of environmentally protected Savannah grasses is required on this 328 to 410-yard dogleg right.
While there isn’t a bunker to be found anywhere in this natural setting, the fairway rolls naturally over a series of mounds left behind from the former sand pit into the landing area. The approach shot to the raised green requires precision to avoid runaway slopes and the railway line, which demarcates out-of-bounds along the left side of the hole.
Abrief interlude is provided by this short, two-shotter playing 264 to 361-yards. The smart player will leave the driver in the bag and opt to hit a 3-wood down the right side of the fairway and then an eight or nine-iron into a green that’s well protected by four bunkers on the left side. That being said, there’s also the temptation to drive the ball over an enormous fescue-covered gravel spoil pile, a shot of about 270-yards from the back tees, on this dogleg left.
For those who like to live dangerously it’s a gutsy shot that certainly isn’t for everyone, but it could leave you with a wedge in. The green is artistically melded into an elevated hedge row that frames the 12th and 17th greens and only adds to the natural setting.
Although wide open in appearance this is one of the toughest holes on the course. When you stand on the tee deck, the wind usually blows right in your face as you bear down for the longest carry of the day over a seemingly endless field of Savannah grass. The correct line to the hole favours the left side, skirting several bunkers punctuated by abrupt towering relict forms decorated in fescue grasses.
The hole sets up much easier from the left. Those erring on the right side must deal with another nasty patch of tall grasses on the second shot and pretty much fly the ball directly to another raised green that’s protected by a single bunker out front.
There’s no chance of getting home in two on the longest par-5 on the course; so don’t even think about it. The best strategy is to hit two well-positioned shots, not necessarily a driver, leaving a short iron or wedge into the green for a shot at birdie.
That said, the wind is at your back for the last time and you’ll need to avoid a huge sand trap to the right of a slender fairway landing area on this 481 to 569-yard, par-5. Stay left, because further down the fairway there’s another large and cruel bunker to the right of the second shot landing area that should be avoided at all costs. This raised green is bunkered both front left and right.
Looks can be deceiving, keep that thought in mind on the final par-3 of the day. It’s tougher than it looks. This 120 to 197-yard, par-3 takes advantage of a natural rise in the land around old spoil piles where the green has been strategically placed.
The bunkers to the right ascend smoothly towards the green, but McBroom has created a bit of an illusion in the design. They actually finish about 20 yards before the green, but appear as though they’re right on top of it. A slippery roll-off into a cavernous hollow marks the defence of the green’s left side.
The round finishes with one of FireRock’s most spectacular holes. Striking views are provided from the highpoint on the valley wall down into the valley and across towards the green and clubhouse site. From the forward tees, No. 18 plays as a par-5 from the forward tees. For everyone else it’s a treacherous 402 to 454-yard, par-4 that may prove to be the toughest hole on the course in years to come.
The last drive, like the first one, can be intimidating. The challenge off this tee is to hit the ball long and far enough that you won’t bring the Oxbow River into play on the second shot. There’s an extremely tight landing area in the valley below and a large bunker to the right of the fairway landing area to contend with.
If your drive isn’t what you hoped for, it’s best to lay-up on the second shot. Otherwise you’re facing a towering long iron or fairway wood up and over the Oxbow to a green site with a false front and is bunkered at the front left corner at the top of the valley wall.