They say that A.W. Tillinghast used to site his par-three holes over a property’s broken ground.

They say that the entire region near Vineland, Ontario, is known as Twenty Valley. It might be due to the presence of Twenty Mile creek (miles in Ontario? Not kilometers?) but then again …

Both may be true, but we can’t imagine Tilly doing a better job than Clinton Earle “Robbie” Robinson did at Twenty Valley golf and country club did in using broken ground. Nor can we imagine fewer than twenty valleys to traverse, across the golf course. We’d long heard of the value found on this property, and decided it was time to pay a visit ourselves.

The golf course opened in 1959, and the present clubhouse has stood since 1976, with an upgrade or two. Robinson was a disciple of Stanley Thompson, Canada’s first, great golf course architect. His work at Twenty Valley is a blend of benign with dramatic. The first three holes serve as a gentle introduction to the property that is to come. On one’s first visit, the climb over the creek to the elevated green is a prelude to the final trace, at the 18th. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Holes 1-4 and 18 sit west of Cherry Avenue, with the remainder of the course to the east. As we cross the road, we don’t lose the tumbling drama of this portion of the acreage. The fifth features a blind tee shot over a rise, followed by two hold-your-breath carries at six and seven. You get a break at eight, until you reach the green. Nine and ten give you more creek drama, with breathers from the tumult at eleven and twelve.

We won’t spoil the entirety of the round with big reveals, so let us say that Robinson was a master of letting the land speak for the golf routing. He saw little use in over-bunkering of a golf course. On a flatter, less-interesting site, he might have dug a few more sand pits for aim, variety, and penalty. On the land that became his masterpiece, he had little need to add to what nature gave him.

Twenty Valley is 50 minutes from both the Lewiston-Queenston and Peace bridges, with ample wineries and craft breweries along the route. You’ll enjoy the entirety of the trip and your round, and you won’t mind a post-mortem on the club’s patio, overlooking the lovely 18th. Green fees are $64 riding with exchange from Monday through Wednesday. From Thursday to Sunday, they bump up to $72.

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