The Ruin Hole # 10


Cobble Beach Golf Links:

A Grand Stay & Play on the Shores of Owen Sound.

Posted by: Rick Parnham/Alistair Orr


When philanthropist and businessman Willis McClesse purchased a 574 acre parcel of stony, sharply sloped shoreline near Owen Sound in the late 90's, the grand vision to create a world-class residential and resort golf community was born. After painstakingly planning, and conducting a vast archaeological survey which lead to the preservation of the properties heritage sites, the resultant development is a beautiful shoreline community set along the terraced slopes that features remarkable sight lines of sparkling Georgian Bay waters

Cobble Beach is a duel purpose facility that was envisioned to achieve two goals: Firstly to provide a stunning golf style community and to bring a world class resort to the shores of the Owen Sound. The highly acclaimed Doug Carrick designed course was the first part of the development to be built. Each hole along the links-style layout was routed to provide a view of the water. Carrick’s design uses the naturally sharp elevation changes, blending undulating fairways with numerous pot bunkers and combines large sloping greens with spacious collection areas to create a course with a sea-side feel.

The opening hole provides a taste of what the round will be like and requires you to bring your “A” game right out of the gate. This mid-length par 4 plays uphill with the stiff prevailing winds blowing into your face and culminates with a tricky terraced green site. The exacting risk / reward 4th hole is shorter in stature but requires a deft touch with both your drive and approach to the “Redan,” style green complex.

Standing on the 7th tee try not to let the panoramic views of the Sound distract you from the task of tackling one of the toughest par 5's around. This downhill roller-coaster ride requires your most majestic drive to clear a steep crest of the fairway and roll down toward the magnificent shoreline. The pushed-up green is surrounded by closely mown collection areas and pot-bunkers. The 8th is a masterful par 3 designed with a green that collects shots hit right and funnels toward the middle, the most challenging part of this shoreline hole is not being distracted by view of the spectacular clubhouse in the distance.

The back nine begins with a severe uphill par 4. Number 10 may be the most difficult par on the card, for the drive must avoid a series of bunkers on the left and then judge the right club for the severe uphill second shot to a green set into a hillside. Number 12 is a terrific risk / reward par 5, where the right side is mounded and the fairway cants to the left towards the pond which extends from tee to green. Love it, or hate it, the par 4 13th will sure be one of the talked about holes over the post round beverages. The drive must favour the left of the terraced fairway setting up a chance to cross the abyss that fronts the green which is set high on a prominence. The 17th is the hole everyone will remember. The beautiful par 3 is framed by a backdrop of the Sound and the replica lighthouse, while playing slightly downhill to a green that is bisected by a ridge.


The Lighthouse 17th at Cobble overlooking the Sound

This highly regarded layout embraces the seaside links style in its design and this style is carried through to the architecture of the award-winning clubhouse and inn that sits between the finishing holes a few yards from the rocky shoreline. The clubhouse is the hub of the resort, home to a well stocked proshop, the beautifully appointed Sweetwater Restaurant & Bar and an expansive terrace that overlooks the adjacent 9th and 18th greens with the Sound as a backdrop.

The clubhouse also provides a charming stay and play option with a 10 room inn housed on the second floor. The suites are all unique, both in decor and design, many with water views. Perfect for a romantic getaway, the inn also features an in house spa for a relaxing treatment on your visit along with a fitness centre for your daily workout. For those looking for a more secluded stay or a with a larger group of golf buddies, one of the five self-contained cottages adjacent to the 9th hole might be a perfect option. Each of the units sleeps up to six and is fully appointed with kitchen, two bathrooms and a living room. Either choice will exceed your expectations for comfort and convenience.

The community has many outdoor activities to let you explore while basking in the beauty of Owen Sound. Near the clubhouse the resort has two tennis courts and a refreshing plunge pool for a quick dip. More than 14 kms of all-season hiking trails lead to many of the heritage sites that dot the property and take you to the far reaches of the acreage. The 260 foot day dock lets guests boat to the resort or even fly in for your stay. A community beach complete with kids playground and waterside fire pits is available to relax and connect with the natural beauty of the development.

The Owen Sound area has a vast maritime history as an important port city to Great Lakes shipping. A new economy now brings throngs of visitors to the shorelines of Grey Bruce to savour the laid back lifestyle. Cobble Beach is a wonderful place for those looking to get a taste for the splendours of a world-class golf resort or a deeper experience of Georgian Bay living at its finest.

In the Beginning:


The grand plan called Cobble Beach Golf Links began back in 1999 and the path to completion took some interesting twists and turn along the way before the opening shot was fired from the first tee on May of 2007. Late in 1999, archaeologist Dr. William Fitzgerald received a call from the Chippewas First Nations. A headstone that had belonging to famed Aboriginal Catherine Sutton had been found laying damaged on the McLeese’s property. The call prompted the beginning of the largest archaeological study completed in Grey County and would shed some light on a local myth and bring awareness to the colourful history of the area. Upon discovery of the headstone McLeese ordered a historical and archeological study of the entire property. In the ensuing three year period more than 30 university faculty identified 10 heritage zones and clarified the story of Sutton, the early settlers and the purpose of some strange stone piles.


An Ojibway at birth Catherine Sutton was born in 1824 in Credits River Flats. She married Englishman William Sutton in 1839 and the couple purchased 20 acres in Owen Sound from the Nawash band. Having left the property for a brief period they returned to find the government had claimed the land in the Surrender of 1857 and sold the property out from under them. Sutton unsuccessfully petitioned the government to buy back the land and was informed that Natives could not buy back ceded land. Her next step was to travel to England and was granted an audience with Queen Victoria. Having impressed the Queen, Britain intervened and the Suttons got her land back. For the balance of her life she championed Aboriginal rights until her passing in 1865 at the age of 41.

Local lore set forth that Catherine was buried in the area that is now the ninth hole, however, during the historical study it was discovered that a local women’s group had found her headstone on the side of Presquille Road on the north side of the property and moved it to the gardens located at one of the homes on the property. Fitzgerald had his team use a magnetometer to survey several possible location for her burial but the search tuned up negative. Fitzgerald suggests that she is likely buried under Presquille Road and that the headstone was discarded during the construction.

McLeese’s insistence that the area be studied brought forth the truth about Sutton but also unveiled their Native and early European neighbours. The first Scottish homestead was shown to be located behind where the clubhouse stands today and the ruins are now a protected site.

Fitzgerald also came across two sets of stone pile formations that had them stumped. It turned out the rock cairns were survey points put in place in 1819 by Captain Owen and Captain Bayfield when they surveyed the shoreline in advance of the European settlement that was to follow. Two of the original survey maps detailing the survey points were discovered in England during their research.

When the Chippewas of Nawash first reached out to Fitzgerald they had no idea that a culture of full cooperation and respect between the Band and Cobble Beach would be the result. After all the archeology and historical studies were completed the development of Willis McLeese’s vision for this spectacular piece of property began to move forward and the local history preserved.



Cobble Beach Golf Links
221 McLeese Drive, S.S. #3
Kemble, ON
N0H 1S0

































Cobble Beach Golf Links: Par 72

Tees Yards Rating Slope
Champ 7174 74.6 138
Advanced 6674 71.9 134
Hybrid 6331 70.2 128
Regular (Ladies) 6055 74.7 132
Regular (Men) 6055 69.2 123
Forward (Ladies) 5157 70.4 120
Forward (Men) 5157 65.8 112






















Stunning Clubhouse & Inn





Challenging Hole 8





A Local Taste:


Opened in 2012 the Kilannan Brewing Company is the creation of its Brewmaster Spencer Wareham. His Owen Sound based operation prides itself on German-style brews, drawing upon  his training in brewery schools in Chicago and Germany. The goal of establishing a local craft brewery near the location of his family farm, was materialized  in the founding of Kilannan. The company features a wide range of beers, including pale ales, stouts, red ales, lagers and a kolsch.  The stand out is Kilannan Altbier, an amber style ale, with malty tones and a gentle hop flavour to round out the taste. Available locally and at the brewery itself, the beer is also on tap at Cobble Beach for a post round pour.


Killannan Brewing Company

Owen Sound, Ontario, N4K 5N6