Address: 70671 Bluewater Highway
Grand Bend, ON N0M 1T0
Phone: (519) 238-2324
Website: Oakwood resort.ca
Rate: $285 – $349 peak season / night
GPS: 43.3195 -81.7526
Wednesday July 28th 2021 Original Visit
This resort has an eighteen hole golf course, pro shop, a restaurant, a spa, indoor pool and hot tub, along with event facilities, as well as private access to the beach on the shore of Lake Huron. It has a large presence, and is made up of multiple buildings that provide either golf course or resort views, the landscape looks to be well taken care of but with an attached golf course, I would have been disappointed if it wasn’t. We stayed in Oak Lodge in room 145, the end unit on the upper floor, parking was at a premium and quite tight, wouldn’t be big pickup truck friendly.
We were booked for a two night stay, with a breakfast, and a round of golf with a power cart included. And as I have always said you only have one opportunity to make a first impression and so many businesses fail that first test. I think that I referred to the resort as rustic in the previous blog, and while rustic can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, its kind of like the term resort that way. and while there was no shortage of knotty pine on the walls and on the vaulted ceiling of our room, it also seemed to be home to a lot of dust and spider webs. It is the little things that leave the biggest impression, like if you put a ceiling fan in a room you need to dust it often, and all that air movement makes the dust collects on the spider webs, and if one of the rooms features is the pine ceilings, people are most likely going to look up to admire them.
Part of the cleaning issue could very well be caused by the lack of lighting in the room, making it difficult to see the dust … well that’s not a really good excuse because it was easy enough for us to see, another little thing like vacuuming behind the door would have helped, or just stopping to look around you, possibly a supervisor doing spot checks now and then, to confirm the end results. So the lack of lighting is obviously not an excuse that holds any credence, I’m just going to chalk it up to possibly understaffing.
The resort seems to be booked pretty much to capacity, not surprising for one of the busiest vacation weeks of the summer. So this was not a quiet stay with lots of floor noise, barking dogs, kids running up and down the halls, and the constant slamming doors. It was different to see nothing but Ontario license plates in the parking lot, just another reminder of this pandemic.
The room furnishings were all dark wood, a small desk, a large cabinet piece to house a large bar fridge, and a home to sit a small old flat screen television on, a dark wood fireplace/heater sat in the corner with a split a/c unit on the wall above it, a six foot patio door led to a wood deck/balcony with a couple of chairs, and two queen size beds complete the room. There was an ice bucket with some 8oz plastic glasses and the washroom had a supply of packaged soap, shampoo and conditioner.
Missing was the coffee maker for my morning coffee, and real glass glasses to enjoy a cold beverage on a warm afternoon, all cast aside in the name of Covid. Same with the pool and hot tub both closed because of Covid we know that was the resorts choice not a health board restriction, but amazingly it is safe enough for a massage in the spa, who would have thought a massage was safer than a swim. And a comfortable chair or two in the room would have been nice, to sit and read a book or to write a blog.
The beds were very comfortable, although seemed very high off the ground with some sort of big wooden structure around the bottom, once in they were cozy. The air conditioner was quite and worked well on the humid afternoons with the sun beating on the patio door. Sitting on the deck/patio was not pleasant because the split a/c unit was mounted on the deck just outside the patio door, the whole idea of the split a/c unit is allow the mounting the noisy compressor remotely. The deck views were great, but the deck boards needed staining and although it is a no smoking room the ashtray on the deck being full of butts was not a nice touch.
And of course just as with campgrounds the free high speed internet has been nonexistent, it did work early in the morning, I tested it and got 5 mbps but it was short lived and by 8 in the morning the speed test would not even start … remember you get what you pay for … so free or included internet usually equals poor or nonexistent.
Dave’s Pub & Grill remembering that we are still under Covid protocol in July 2021, I can imagine this place being a going concern before covid, with a large patio overlooking the first and tenth holes of the golf course. We had breakfast there which was included with our stay, and while the presentation of the meal was excellent, the food was not hot. Now that was because of two reasons, first we had prime patio seating so we are a long way from the kitchen and secondly because they were understaffed our meals most likely sat before being served, and I understand the difficulty getting staff, but the management is to blame for opening too many tables for the staff that they had. A very smart move was a limited menu, the wait staff was very attentive, but obviously over worked, knowing that turning tables improves profits, simple things like refills of coffee caused us to be more than an hour for breakfast where a craft of coffee on the table allowing the wait staff to deliver plates sooner, would have reduced our time and most likely provided hotter meals. We were not rushed at all which was nice, but with half the course being closed, the tee off entertainment was a little scarce at times.
The Beach was quite a walk from the resort through a gated community, the beach was a sand beach on the shoreline of Lake Huron, which is still quite cool, not getting to its peak temperatures near the end of August through the first of September. Signage prohibited any alcohol on the beach which will reduce our beach time, and something as simple as a shuttle that runs back and forth would be a nice touch, when hauling chairs and such, either that or supply chairs at the beach. Again I see a missed opportunity, refreshments, snacks, French fries, easy money and an enhanced experience, on this busy private beach.
The golf course we were unable to play because of recent flooding on the back nine, and we have elected to return later to enjoy all eighteen holes in a month or so. I will amend this blog when we have been able to play the course.
In closing we did speak with Jeff the general manager, not because of any issues, just because he was greeting people outside of the Pub after we had finished our breakfast. We discussed the staffing issues that every business is experiencing right now, he said we could reschedule our golf for later in the year. We found all the staff to be trying to assist, possibly a little green from lack of experience, but definitely trying to accommodate everyone’s needs and requests. While we will most likely never be back, for no other reason than it’s just not our thing, we can see no end of potential to this resort, it needs some updating, and redecorating, but we are also fifteen months after the pandemic shut down so much of the world.
Monday September 13th 2021 Update
We ventured to Grand Bend and the Oakwood Resort today to play our rain check round of golf from our rained out July visit, because we had rained again overnight I tried calling the pro shop twice before driving there, just to confirm the course as open and playable. I got voicemail both calls, left my name and number on the first call, and the message did not indicate that the course would not be open so we drove the near hour long trip to arrive in advance of our tee time and we more that annoyed to see a “Golf course closed” sign at the reception. The young lady at the desk was very accommodating, and told us that none of the pro shop staff came to work today, so that was why no one answered my call or returned my message.
I’m sorry but when you put resort in your operations name people have some sort of expectation that they will be treated well, at least with a little extra care, but that has not happened here. Just a simple message on the phone at the pro shop to say that the golf course was closed, I mean they had taken the time to make the damn sign up! So two hours later we are back at the coach, well that’s not true, we stopped for a wood fired pizza at the golf course just ten minutes up the road from Oakwood Resort that was open and being played.
So we have rebooked out tee time for next Tuesday, the 21st, maybe the third time will be the charm … but I’m not holding my breath.
I did get a call from the pro shop on the next day, and he apologized, but said management had told them not to come to work.
Tuesday September 21st 2021 Update
Well it has happened, we got to play the July round of golf that has been rained out twice already. We had a 1:10 tee time, but when I called the pro shop I was told that the course was open, and playable but if we wanted to get there earlier we could tee off earlier. We were able to get on the course about an hour ahead of our tee time, the day was overcast and rain was forecast for later in the afternoon.
The course itself was a mixture of par 5’s and par 3’s and while the length from the white tees was only 5356 yards it played long because there were some big par 5’s. This par 70 course has 5 of its 8 par 3’s on the front nine holes with three in a row to bring you back to the clubhouse and three par 5’s in a row on the back nine with some being 600 yards. I didn’t see a sand trap on the course, which has many huge mature trees guarding some of the holes. There are a number of the par 3 holes with mats to tee off from, not a desired feature on a golf course but from what we had observed most likely a good call for a resort course in a party town.
The course was still showing signs of having being under water, with piles of debris in the roughs on some of the low holes, I would still call the course wet when we played it today, with standing water in some areas, and because of being cut into heavily wooded areas some of the greens were in poor shape, but with the rain that the area had received over this year understandable.
We had a great day on the course, we did have a little light rain on the back nine but only for a hole or two, Miss Laurie got some pictures of a Blue Herron on hole 10 and we seen a King Fisher by the creek near the green on hole 7 but no pictures that time. The photo is of the 160 yard par 3 11th hole, which was beside our room and also shows the mature trees around the course.