Golf course architect Ian Andrew has returned to St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto, Canada, to restore original Stanley Thompson detailing on bunkers.
The course, which will host the Canadian Open on the PGA Tour for the sixth time in 2020, was originally designed by Thompson in 1929. Andrew first restored the bunkers while with Carrick Design in 2001 and also completed a greens reconstruction project in 2014, alongside Tom Doak. He has referenced dozens of photos and notes from the 1920s and 30s to inform his work at the club.
“Stanley Thompson is one of the most important architects in history and some believe this is his greatest course,” said Andrew. “The first time I restored the bunkers, I felt a huge responsibility in getting the work done as accurately as I could. The work was very well received in 2001, but over time the detailing began to break down through maintenance, weather and play.
“Most bunkers will only get minor ‘touch ups’ where lines have changed, but there will be a couple of larger modifications done to increase the accuracy of the bunkering as photos have been recently found.
“It’s nice to have the chance to restore those small details and sharpen up the lines of the bunkers. I think the returning PGA Tour players will see the difference the details have brought out.
“While this is being done in preparation for the 2020 Canadian Open, that was not the reason for the bunker project. It was time to update the bunkers.”
Bunkers are being updated to Billy Bunker specification. “Thompson’s bunkering at St. George’s features very high sand faces which can be prone to washouts during large rain events,” said Andrew. “This was a way of minimising the impact of weather on the bunkers.”
The surrounds of all greens are also being stripped and re-sodded. Golf superintendent Ian McQueen and his staff are handling all the irrigation work. KCM Construction began work in spring 2019 and the project will be done by 20 July 2019.