Dating from 1929 St George’s Golf & Country Club was built within one of Canada’s first golf and housing estates near central Toronto. Stanley Thompson, the designer of Jasper Park, Capilano, Highland Links, Banff Springs and many of Canada’s other better courses was chosen as the architect, and given a significant parcel of land from which to select the terrain for his golf course. The rolling landscape he chose included ravines and gullies that he used to create a great variety of holes, and reminds me a little of the majestic San Francisco Golf Club.
Originally called Royal York, St George’s Golf & Country Club evolved from opening as a public access course to one of the more private members courses in Canada. It has hosted many championship events over the years, including The Canadian Open, and has until recently been regarded as the best course in Canada.
The course is beautifully maintained, and has a spectacular old clubhouse that has real character. You do know you are somewhere special!
Over the years the original Thompson bunkering detiorated and some well meaning course renovations to lengthen and strengthen the course for tournaments changed the character of some holes. Fortunately in more recent times the club employed the meticulous Thompson expert Ian Andrew, and Tom Doak’s Renaissance Design team to bring the course back to the original Thompson look and strategy. They have done so in emphatic fashion, and the course plays a treat.
Being a private club the course is tighter off the tee, and perhaps a little more strategic than some other Thompson courses, and the bunkering is a feature. I also particularly like the way the gullies have been used. The variety of holes is also a strength.
Favourite holes include:
- The par 3 third hole, set in it’s own dell, and featuring bunkers well short of the green, and a false front- visual deception at it’s best
- the par 5 fourth which rolls around and up to a heavily bunkered green
- the par 3 sixth hole, approached over a gully
- the tricky par 3 eighth hole with sloping back to front green which runs diagonally right to left…
- the lovely short par 4 twelfth hole with it’s dipping fairway
- the par 3 thirteenth hole over a creek
- the par 4 eighteenth closing hole with a view of the iconic clubhouse as a backdrop
Because it is an exclusive members course, only a privileged few will have the opportunity to play St George’s. But those that do will recognise the genius of Stanley Thompson.
It is very much a course that will reveal it’s secrets on multiple plays, so it must be a delightful place to be a member!
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