Dating from 1876 Toronto Golf Club is the 3rd oldest golf club in North America.
The original course was being engulfed by suburbia, so in 1909 the club purchased new land in Mississauga, and employed renowned English architect Harry Colt to design a new course.
Colt was the secretary at Sunningdale, and went on to design many of the world's great courses- so it was a good choice.
In some ways the land at Mississauga resembles his home course at Sunningdale, and Colt has fashioned a timeless heathland type course which is one of Canada's finest.
Three Canadian Opens were held here before 1927, but it dropped off the rota as the professionals overpowered the course.
Nevertheless, Toronto GC had a significant impact on Canadian golf- Stanley Thompson grew up caddying at Toronto, and studying the course and went on to become the doyen of architects in Canada.
In recent years Martin Hawtree was engaged to refurbish the course, and by all acccounts he has done an outstanding job, bringing the course back to the top echelon.
As a visitor, the experience at Toronto is as good as it gets. The old world feel of the club house and surrounds and superb service levels make you feel quite special.
But it is the course that will bring you back, and I loved the experience.
Colt's routing makes the most of the natural terrain, and the natural undulations make for interesting, strategic golf.
The front nine is more difficult to score, but the back nine can give you a chance to recover any indiscretions.
I thought the stretch of holes from 9 to 13 quite outstanding.
Favourite holes are:
- Hole 2- North- a beautifully bunkered, longish par 4 with green running away left to right, and strategically bunkered.
- Hole 6- Barn- a short par 4 with a large fairway bunker drawing the ball off the tee, and nicely bunkered green
- hole 7- Plateau- a dramatic long par 3 played diagonally over a large chasm
- hole 9- Valley- a very pretty par 5 through a valley
- hole 10- Pulpit- a classic Colt short par 4
- hole 11- Clubhouse- a demanding longer par 4 with an elevated green
- hole 18- Home- a short dogleg par 4 finishing in front of the clubhouse which requires an accurate tee shot to set up a closing birdie. It's a nice way to finish
Toronto Golf Club is a class act, and Martin Hawtree looks to have done a pretty neat restoration job.
I thought his restoration at Lahinch was excellent, and Toronto proves that particular job was no fluke.
Toronto is a private members club, and not generally accessible to the public.
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