Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver moved location to their present 162-acre site in 1960, having originally started out at Shaughnessy Heights a short distance away in 1911. A number of the Macan inverted saucer greens have been rebuilt over the years and many of the bunkers have been renovated in more recent times by Les Furber.
An interesting match took place at the old course in 1913, the year that young Francis Ouimet sensationally defeated Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at the US Open in a playoff. After the Open, the two British players toured North America playing exhibitions. They stopped off in Vancouver at Shaughnessy and both broke the course record of 70 at the fledgling venue – Ray shot 69 and Vardon returned a 68.
The first Canadian Open to be held west of the Ontario border in almost forty years was hosted at Shaughnessy in 2005 when Mark Calcavecchia won the trophy. Incidentally, Shaughnessy was the last club in the west of Canada to host the Canadian back in 1966. The course has also held the Canadian Amateur in 2003 and the Ladies Amateur in 1988.
Shaughnessy is a classic, private parkland course overlooking the Fraser River and Strait of Georgia. Although many of the large fir and cedar trees on the property are over two hundred years old, many other trees were donated and planted by the members in the early 1960s and they flower at various times between spring and autumn, providing a continuing beauty and variety to the course.
There are many strong holes on the course but a couple worthy of some comment are the 5th and 10th. The 471-yard reachable par five 5th is a cracker. The tee shot must get past fairway bunkers on the right then the approach to the green has to carry a creek that guards the front of the putting surface – that’s for the long hitters, of course; most of us will be happy to treat this as a three-shot hole and walk off with a par on the scorecard.
The 453-yard 10th begins the back nine with a long par four that requires distance and accuracy off the tee as there is out of bounds left. The fairway doglegs slightly right to a green that slopes from left to right – again, par here is a very good score.
The Augusta National of Vancouver. You need to be accompanied by a member. Played from both the regular and back tees a few times and always found the track to be tough, but ultimately enjoyable. This course will reward good shots and punish bad ones. Greens are slick and the design puts premium on those who can work the ball. Clubhouse is beautiful and food excellent. The feel of the place can be a bit stuffy for some, but I kind of like it given the setting and the exclusivity. Excellent and a must play if you can get on.