A visit to St. George’s Golf & Country Club is essential to start to understand the architectural genius of Stanley Thompson – arguably his greatest gift to the world of golf. This course is awesome!
Not only is it awesome, it’s been the influence of many an architect. Including a young Robert Trent Jones who went on to utilize many of its principles at Peachtree, his best effort.
Upon arrival at St. George’s, which finds itself just outside the bustle of downtown Toronto, you immediately realize you have landed someplace extremely special.
From the clubhouse you make your way under the highway and up to the pro shop. Hard to believe the city has grown up around this course as during your round it feels totally isolated. The routing takes you out through this highly undulated landscape over rolling hills and through their troughs. The start takes us from an elevated tee through a small valley on the tee shot and then up the back side of the valley to a green nestled at the top. Natural in its setting, the green slopes severely back to front with the slope of the hill. Thompson most certainly allowed the landscape and its features to dictate the routing, yet the end result was a seamless integration giving the idea that the course had always been there, one with nature.
Below is a short description of some of my favorite holes:
The par 3, 3rdhole demonstrates perfectly his genius as the deception has you thinking on the tee that the green is resting behind the small hill while in fact there is another 50 yards of fairway fronting it. The bunkers left and far out of play add to the illusion of this tricky par 3.
The 4this a reachable par 5 where a solid drive up the right side will catch the slope and run down the hills allowing a risk reward shot at the green in two. A hard back to front sloping green protects par on this hole.
The par 4 10this a slight dogleg left and plays to a highly elevated plateau green. The 11this a medium-long par 3 playing to a back to front sloping green with a false front and a bunker front left protecting it.
The 12tha par 4.5 that rewards a long drive to the left side catching a speed slot down the hills. Failure to reach this leaves a long iron or hybrid over a burn and green side bunker to a challenging green running diagonally from right to left away from the line of play.
An excellent back 9 ends with a long uphill par 4 playing back towards the highway with the clubhouse above it. Another testing green finishes things off on this brilliant course.
A day at St. George’s is not complete without enjoying a post round drink up in the clubhouse on the patio overlooking the highway and the course. It's worth a special trip to Toronto which is a wonderful city full of friendly people.
Date: September 07, 2018