The Takeaway: Long regarded as Canada’s most revered course, St. George’s is a historic layout with strong architectural bones and a timeless routing. In Toronto’s strong golf scene, St. George’s and Toronto Golf Club square off for who reigns supreme. Grade A
Designer: Stanley Thompson 1929 (Robbie Robinson work in the 60s, Doug Carrick 1992 renovation, Ian Andrew & Tom Doak bunker and green work in 2001, 2014, and 2019)
Phone Number: 416-231-3393
Course Website: Official Website - Visit St. Georges Golf & Country Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 1668 Islington Ave, Etobicoke, Ontario M9A 3M9 – CANADA
What to Expect: No discussion about the top golf courses in Canada is complete without giving St. George’s Golf & Country Club consideration. The historic layout designed by legendary architect Stanley Thompson is a pillar in Canadian golf and acted as host for the RBC Heritage Canadian Open in 2022 that saw Rory McIlroy hoist the trophy at the end. Carts are available to players but the course is such an enjoyable walk that it is highly recommended to take a caddy and soak in the terrain and features on foot. The course features an almost ideal amount of movement throughout the routing such that hole designs are compelling while not being too severe for virtually every age of player to comfortably walk the terrain. Trees frame the fairways throughout the course with a nice combination of thickness and thin so as to generally being afforded an option to advance a second shot towards the green but not so thinned out to where you can get away with hitting the ball anywhere. As one would expect from a course with a championship pedigree, there is plenty of challenge to be found at St. George’s but not in an overwhelming fashion as can be felt at Winged Foot or Bethpage Black. Rather superior architecture that is compelling for all levels of players is found here while various pin placements can add all the challenge you’d want. No two holes feel similar at St. George’s which is a feature I love to see and its greatness is rivaled by just Toronto Golf Club as the finest track in Ontario.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 5th Hole – 454 Yard Par 4 – The towering buildings in the distance are a reminder that you are golfing in one of the world's largest cities, though it rarely feels like that while traversing the grounds at St. George's. The cavernous bunker at the base of the sprawling tree straight ahead isn't as big of a concern as one might expect while standing on the tee since it sits over 360 yards in the distance from the back tee, but if you are playing further forward then its proximity should be noted. The ideal approach shot comes in from the right side of the fairway where the angle will be best to contend with a green that is twice as deep as it is wide and falls to the right. You don't want anything to do with any of the three bunkers that surround green so avoid them at all costs if you want to walk off with a par. The natural movement in the terrain and the way Stanley Thompson used it at St. George's is on full display on this stellar par four.
Best Par 3: 3rd Hole – 208 Yards – A masterpiece restored to Stanley Thompson's original design, the 3rd hole is a classic example of a hole looking more intimidating than it actually plays. A half dozen bunkers come into play and the two in front appear to be beastly features to contend with, but in reality the play is just beyond them and then letting your ball tumble down 40 yards of hidden fairway and onto the putting surface. You can't tell from the tee, but the green has a wide entrance to it and is very inviting to the ground game which can prove to be effective when dealing with the sloping surface this green is known for. The variety and visual appeal this hole offers is an early treat at St. George's.
Best Par 4: 14th Hole – 475 Yards – The 14th tee represents the furthest north portion of the property and can often play downwind as it heads back to the south. Players that put a good turn on their ball will hit their drive downhill to a blind bunkerless landing area that is flanked on the left by o.b. and a creek that eventually comes into play on the right. The creek angles across the fairway and comes close to the green on the left side with just a bunker sitting between the water and the putting surface. A total of three bunkers surround the small, flat green that isn't terribly receptive to shots and is quicker to let them hit and release. This is a tough green in regulation but an incredibly satisfying hole to par if you can manage to avoid the trouble.
Best Par 5: 9th Hole – 538 Yards – This is a nice par five to finish the front nine on. The fairway tilts to the left, so a drive aimed at the left edge of the fairway bunker on the right is the ideal play to take advantage of the natural terrain. If you are going to err, then the miss is to the left is advisable as it will still open the angle to attack this green in two since the fairway bends to the right after the driving zone. A half dozen bunkers come into play during the final 100 yards into the green and the raised edges mess with player's depth perception and give off a more intimidating look that the hole plays. That being said, the entrance into the putting surface is narrow so if you are laying up then 75 yards from the center of the green is the widest landing zone and ideal angle to take. The raised green and swell through it provide a final touch of character to contend with before recording your score.
Birdie Time: 11th Hole – 528 Yard Par 5 – The par fives at St. George's generally represent great scoring opportunities, and the 11th is no different. A half dozen bunkers can come into play before reaching the green, but if you are able to avoid them off the tee you will have a great chance to take a rip at the green in two. The raised tee boxes will help generate extra carry off the tee so this is a good time to be aggressive and try to reap the benefits. The raised lips on the bunkers short of the green give an appearance of being up near the putting surface, but the left side of the green is completely devoid of bunkers and the right side only features them halfway back. If you are feeling cautious, then hitting a second shot over the bunker on the left will offer a favorable landing area with an excellent angle to attack the flag from. There are plenty of holes at St. George's that are going to challenge you, but this is one where you need to turn the tables and attack back.
Bogey Beware: 4th Hole – 474 Yard Par 4 – Midway through each nine St. George’s Golf and Country Club delivers some stout par fours to contend with, but none more challenging than the 4th hole. In fact, during the 2022 Canadian Open that the club hosted, there were more bogies (162) scored here than at any other hole. The lengthy two-shotter plays to a blind fairway that is shielded by the large rise on the right side of the short grass just beyond the forward tees. The fairway carves through a valley with a bunker sitting 325 yards in the distance before the hole ascends uphill to the greensite. A trio of deep bunkers protect the raised putting surface and quickly cause havoc to balls tailing off course enroute to the flag. The regular play this hole often is featured as a par five and a scoring opportunity, but during the Open it is a par four bugger.