Royal Montreal was the first golf club to be formed on the North American continent, predating St Andrews at Yonkers by fifteen years. Founded in 1873, Royal Montreal Golf Club is therefore a monument of historical importance and even the club’s royal patronage predates that of its Yonkers counterpart. A special international distinction can also be attributed to Royal Montreal – the club’s annual contest with The Country Club, first played in 1898, was the world’s first golf match between teams from different countries.
The first 9-hole course at Royal Montreal was a rudimentary affair but the club moved location twice before finally moving to its present location at Ile Bizard in 1959. Dick Wilson designed all 45 holes at Ile Bizard in the Lake of Two Mountains, the Blue, Red and Dixie courses. The Blue course receives the accolades, but the Red course is a most competent understudy, which Dick Wilson summed up on a visit to the club shortly before his death:
“There is a sweep and dimension to this layout which can only be described as exciting. That vista of the Lake of Two Mountains is the perfect backdrop to these courses. Don’t ever shut off the view with too many trees.”
“I have designed these courses for the present and the future. With the improvement in players’ abilities and training and with better equipment, older courses will become old-fashioned and inadequate in the next fifteen years. The Red and Blue courses will remain modern and can be made even more challenging for the next fifty years.”
Legendary golf writer, Charles Price, commented on Royal Montreal in the brilliant New World Atlas of Golf as follows: “Both Red and Blue courses are formidable assignments and are distinctive in that they are among the few in Quebec which, for handicap purposes, are rated higher than their par. Both courses have a par of 70 but are rated at 72 (Red) and 73 (Blue). It is accepted that a Royal [Montreal] player can play to his handicap anywhere”…“Regular players regard the Red course with more respect as a test of all-round golfing skills. The ‘Blue Monster’ is far more celebrated, largely because of the four finishing holes that throw out a direct challenge to the player, daring him to take on their vast expanses of water.”