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St George's Golf & Country Club

St George's Golf & Country Club

Toronto, Ontario
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Jason Livy
Jason Livy

The Royal York Golf Club, as St George’s Golf and Country Club was formerly known, was founded in the Roaring Twenties with the help of Canadian Pacific Railway money. Stanley Thompson, one of North America’s most talented architects was commissioned to fashion a championship course in downtown Toronto, close to the shores of Lake Ontario and in 1929 the course opened for play. In 1992, Doug Carrick was commissioned to renovate St George’s. We were unclear as to exactly what work Carrick implemented, so we asked Doug directly and his response follows:

“As you know Stanley Thompson designed the original course which was built in 1928 and 1929. C.E. (Robbie) Robinson was a newly hired design associate at the time and St. George's was the first golf course Robbie worked on with Thompson. Robbie consulted with the club following Thompson's death until his own death in 1989. I began working with Robbie Robinson in 1981 and established my firm in 1985. I continued to work with Robbie until his death in 1989. We became partners in 1987. So there have been only three architects that have worked on the course since it opened 1929, Thompson, Robinson and myself.”

GalleryJason Livy
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Jason Livy

Doug continued, saying that Robbie Robinson made the most significant changes to the course between 1965 and 1967 in preparation for the Canadian Open in 1968, which mainly comprised of lengthening a number of holes. Since then, Carrick has constructed a new green on hole 10, added various new tees and built new practice facilities for the club. In 2001 a bunker restoration was undertaken by his associate at the time Ian Andrew. In 2014, St George's rung further changes as outlined by Ian Andrew:

"Tom Doak and myself rebuilt the greens in July and August of 2014. During this process all the greens relocated or rebuilt by other architects (3rd, 4th, 9th, 10th and 15th) were renovated to match the original greens. The most significant change was the restoration of the original 3rd hole back to its Stanley Thompson configuration.

The club continues to restore a few more original bunkers each year and has undertaken a massive tree removal program to address issues of sunlight and to open up the landscape to view."

In 2019, Ian Andrew returned to the club to oversee a programme of further bunker work, using old photos and notes from the 1920s and 1930s to guide the project. The hazards were upgraded to Better Billy Bunker standards, which helps minimize the effect of bad weather on high sand faces, and all the green surrounds were stripped and re-sodded with new turf.

With tight twisting fairways and undulating terrain, St George’s is a man and woman-sized test of golf. The club has proudly played host to the Canadian Open on five occasions (most recently in 2010) and the LPGA Classic also on five occasions. The Canadian Open was to return to St George's in 2020 but was cancelled due to COVID-19. St George's will host the event in 2021 and 2024.

Today’s layout measures a tad more than 7,000 yards from the back tees and with par set at 71, St George’s really is a serious challenge, especially at the two demanding closing holes, which were both par fives, but now they are each taxing par fours, having been converted for the Canadian Open. #17 measures 486 yards and its devilishly narrow, crowned green calls for an exacting approach The home hole is just as tough (465 yards uphill) to a steep, heavily bunkered green.


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Course Architect

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Tom Doak

Tom Doak studied Landscape Architecture at Cornell University where he won a scholarship to travel to the British Isles, he then spent seven months on the road, literally living on the links.

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