Defined by our past, driven by our future.

In 1929, Robert Home Smith had a vision – to build a fine course that would stand the test of time. There have been several enhancements to the club and course over its 85-year history. At the heart of every new project or improvement is respect for those who’ve come before, and a commitment to preserving and honoring St. George’s storied past. We continuously look to the future to provide our members with a world-class course and excellent club experience that they can be proud of.

Since 1929

Since 1929

Learn about our history by clicking on the arrows above.

1929 – The Club’s First President, Home Smith

1929 – The Club’s First President, Home Smith

Co-Founder, Home Smith, was the first Club President from 1929-1935. He also developed St. George’s Manor & the Village of Humber Valley.

The 1929 Trio – Thompson, Smith & Lyon

The 1929 Trio – Thompson, Smith & Lyon

Stanley Thompson and Home Smith witness George S. Lyon lay the clubhouse’s corner stone. In the pouring rain the Royal York Golf Club officially opened May 20th, 1930 showing George S. Lyon hitting the first ball.

1933 – Joe Kirkwood with the Open Trophy

1933 – Joe Kirkwood with the Open Trophy

There weren’t many more spectators than players in 1933. Golf was still the property of the rich. The publicity was handled on the social pages of local papers and the Globe & Mail reported that up to 5,000 spectators watched the final two rounds. Australian Joe Kirkwood was the 1933 Canadian Open Champion, but was better known and made more money as a golf trick artist.

1938 – The Annual Winter Dance

1938 – The Annual Winter Dance

Nearly 400 members and friends of the Royal York Golf Club attended the Club’s annual dance held at the Old Mill.

February 1947 – The Royal York Gets a New Name and Members Buy the Club

February 1947 – The Royal York Gets a New Name and Members Buy the Club

C.P.R. and Toronto Land Corp., Ltd. had reached an agreement wherein The Royal York Golf Club would change its name to St. George’s Golf and Country Club – a change that seemed fitting, given Homes Smith’s fond affinity for England. It wasn’t until March 31, 1962 when the membership officially took over ownership of St. George’s for a purchase price of $2,013,200.

1949 – Winner of the 40th Canadian Open, Dutch Harrison

1949 – Winner of the 40th Canadian Open, Dutch Harrison

Toronto was dry in 1949. The course had no watering system and played much shorter than its 6,645 yards. The Township of Etobicoke limited water use in the evening hours, so when the competitors took showers in the clubhouse, only air came out! E.J. (Dutch) Harrison finished on top posting scores of 66-67-71-67.

1957 – Curling Debuts at St. George’s

1957 – Curling Debuts at St. George’s

Curling came to St. George’s in 1957. The club constructed a six-sheet rink and lounge, the Dragon Lounge. The first stones were thrown in competition on November 11, 1957.

1960 – 51st Canadian Open Champion, Art Wall Jr.

1960 – 51st Canadian Open Champion, Art Wall Jr.

Saturday’s final round saw flash floods that delayed play. The leader, Wall, and his two playing partners, Tommy Bolt and Gene Littler, invaded a cocktail party in one of the homes adjoining the course. Wall played the final 16 holes after nearly a three-hour delay and conquered St. George’s with spectacular rounds of 66-67-67-69-269 – 19 under par, 288.

1968 – Bob Charles

1968 – Bob Charles

Canadian golf course architect Robbie Robinson added 350 yards to the course since the Open in 1960. He reconstructed four greens, added eight tees and a fairways watering system had been installed. Bob Charles finished with a championship flourish and a wonderful 66 in the final round (70-68-70-66-274) to defeat Nicklaus by two strokes.

1975-1984 – St. George’s Tests LPGA Players

1975-1984 – St. George’s Tests LPGA Players

LPGA Tour stop, The Peter Jackson Classic, was held at St. George’s in 1975, 1978, 1980, 1982 and its successor the du Maurier Classic, in 1984. Players came to think of St. George’s as “the elegant club” and the course as the “toughest we play all year”. The Club donated part of the proceeds from the tournament to local charities.

1998 – St. George’s Home to Curling World Champs

1998 – St. George’s Home to Curling World Champs

In spring 1998 Wayne Middaugh led his power house Ontario team of lead Scott Bailey, second Ian Tetley and third Graeme McCarrel to the Canadian and World Championships, ultimately defeating Sweden 7-4.

Carl Pettersson Breaks Course Record in 2010 Canadian Open Victory

Carl Pettersson Breaks Course Record in 2010 Canadian Open Victory

The Sweden-born, England-Raised, North Carolinian drank seven beers before receiving confirmation that he’d even made the cut. Pettersson would make it to the weekend and shoot a course record 60 on the Saturday and 3-under 67 on Sunday, finishing the tournament with a 14-under 266 to earn a $918,000 payday. He is pictured above with the many St. George’s members and volunteers.

Members Mark Elgner and Craig Sinclair Victorious at World Club Championship (WCC)

Members Mark Elgner and Craig Sinclair Victorious at World Club Championship (WCC)

In 2013, the WCC celebrated a decade of competition on its home course, The Club at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island in South Korea. The only event in golf that features head-to-head competition by the world’s top clubs chosen from GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World, Elgner and Sinclair displayed grace under-pressure, winning the tournament in a playoff.

2014-2015 – The Greens Restoration Ushers in a New Era of Golf

2014-2015 – The Greens Restoration Ushers in a New Era of Golf

In the spring of 2014 the membership approved a reconstruction and restoration of all 18 greens after a devastating winter marked by the December 2013 ice storm. Golf Course Architects, Tom Doak and Ian Andrew, meticulously studied historical images and plans and used state of the art technology to retain Stanley Thompson’s original design and the land’s contours through the reconstruction process.

2015 – Families Tee Up Together

2015 – Families Tee Up Together

Family tees are introduced for the first time, making the course more accessible to the Club’s younger members and allowing for the whole family to spend time together.

Stanley Thompson

Stanley Thompson (1893-1953) was one of five brothers (Nicol, Bill, Matt, Stanley, Frank) born in Toronto’s east end, who became leading Canadian golfers in the 1920s. Heralded as “The Amazing Thompsons”, Stanley was considered by some to be the finest golfer of the five and led the qualifying round for the Canadian Amateur in 1924.

Despite his natural golf ability, his true passion was for golf course design. Stanley Thompson dabbled in golf course architecture before the First World War. When he returned from the war, where he served as a lieutenant in the Canadian Field Artillery, he formed Stanley Thompson & Company – a golf course design company that would become a leader in the field. The “Golden Age” of golf course architecture in Canada had begun and Thompson was at the forefront.

Between 1920 and 1953 he designed, remodeled, or constructed 145 golf courses in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and South America. Some of his most celebrated works include Highlands Links (Nova Scotia), Banff and Jasper (Alberta), St. George’s (Toronto), and Capilano (Vancouver). Stanley Thompson was shy and introverted, but was known for telling “stories” that many reporters questioned but nevertheless published. He was a lover of steak, rye whiskey, and cigars. His ‘larger than life’ persona is one of the reasons he came to be known as “The Toronto Terror.”

His first wife died in 1943, and he remarried a few years later. He was on his way to South America, having stayed the previous night at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel, when he suffered an aneurysm. A day later, on January 4, 1953, Stanley Thompson died in the hospital at the age of 59. In 1980, he was elected to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.

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Thompson’s work at St. George’s

In 1909 Robert Home Smith began acquiring lands near the banks of the Humber River for real estate development. By 1927 Smith had decided that the construction of a golf club would add considerable sales appeal for his properties in the area. About the same time, a good friend, Sir Edward Beatty, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, had launched the construction of the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, one of the largest hotels in the C.P.R. chain. The Royal York had determined that business men and guests staying at the hotel would enjoy the luxury of access to a fine golf club, and Home Smith lost no time in convincing his friend that he could provide that facility in Etobicoke – hence the original name, “The Royal York Golf Club.” Smith hired prolific golf course architect, Stanley Thompson, to design and construct an 18-hole championship course and to design a further 9-hole course on the adjacent norther lands.

Thompson handpicked the site of the course from two thousand acres of Home Smith property. The end result was a masterful use of land where, “In designing the course, Stanley Thompson took full advantage of the natural contours and wooded valleys to make every hole of exceptional golfing character”, as described by Baxter Dobell in the 1932 edition of Golf and Sports Illustrated. By 1929 the golf course was completed and construction was underway on the unique clubhouse.

Did You Know?

In 2017, the St. George’s wine list, managed by Sommelier Corey Ladouceur, received a 3-star rating by The World of Fine Wines

When the clubhouse first opened in 1930, it featured 28 bedrooms with rates listed at $3 overnight, $15 weekly and $40 monthly. In the 1930s, The Royal York Golf Club (St. George’s) was one of the very few clubhouses that remained opened year-round.

The Club hosted the Canadian Open five times – in 1933, 1949, 1960, 1968 and most recently, 2010.

In April 2013, the Club unveiled a spectacular new men’s locker room, introduced a spacious indoor learning academy above it on the second level in the fall of 2013, as well as an archive area to hold our most precious treasures.

The Club was honoured to be ranked No. 30 in the world in the February 2014 issue of Golf Digest magazine.

The Club installed a new $1 million cedar shake roof on the clubhouse in the fall 2014, preserving the Club’s original look and feel and providing a seamless connection to the new Men’s Locker Room wing of the clubhouse.

In 2014, the Club went through an extensive greens reconstruction project led by architects Tom Doak & Ian Andrew, as well as St. George’s Property Superintendent Keith Bartlett. Through the process, original images and notes from the 1920s were referenced in order to replicate Stanley Thompson’s original greens profiles.

In 2015 our Sommelier, Corey Ladouceur, was presented with the Award for Excellence in the diversity for wine list and food pairing by the International Wine and Food Society.

During summer 2015, the Club had a series of promotional videos produced. The use of drone technology captured dynamic aerial footage of the course, clubhouse and surrounding area – giving even our most long-standing members a new perspective on a club they’ve called home for so long.

In 2016 St. George’s Golf & Country Club retained its designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, an Audubon International program. Keith Bartlett, Golf Course Superintendent, led the effort to maintain sanctuary status on this course. St. George’s Golf & Country Club was designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary in 2010 and is one of 997 courses in the world to currently be designated as such.

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