Lake St. George, a centennial, too much bickering and more

A return to Lake St. George

I first visited Lake St. George north of Orillia over 20 years ago. Back in those days I’d sometimes help our distribution team deliver copies of Fairways Magazine to various courses. I usually chose to go to the Muskoka region because it was so beautiful and a great place to end up after a busy day. Lake St. George was on that route and every time I was there, I was impressed by the setting and vowed to get back and play it some day.

Well, it took over twenty years, but I finally got there this week. Before teeing off, I had a nice chat with Greg Louth, who is now the owner. When I first went there his mom and dad ran the course and Greg was the Director of Golf. Greg’s son is the now the General Manager and apparently there are more generations of Louth family members waiting their turn. That’s quite a succession story that dates back to 1979.

Lake St. George has three nines; the North nine is the original one and was built in 1952. It’s reserved for nine-hole rounds. We played the West (Bob Moote, 2002) and the South (Robbie Robinson, 1972).

The west course weaves in and out of the northern forest and is dotted with ponds and a sneaky little creek that I didn’t see until it was too late. Holes 4, 5 and 6 wrap around a wood lot and are particularly strong. My favourite hole on the front was the 9th, a 90-degree dogleg that is visually puzzling. It isn’t long but requires a very precise tee shot to get to a landing area where you can get a peek at the green.

The South course traverses a more open routing where Robinson has fashioned a collection of holes adjacent to a river valley. There’s a trio of each par types on this nine and they’re all challenging – the par-3’s especially at 180, 210 and 210 yards respectively.

My favourite hole was the finishing hole, a relatively short par-5 (456 yards) that doglegs left and heads uphill. You must avoid that big pine tree (pictured above) in order to have a go at the green but naturally my tee shot ended up right behind it.  C’est la vie!

Overall, the course is player friendly and would be fine for any skill level. I plan on a return visit this summer to play the North nine and hopefully get my revenge on a few holes that didn’t treat me well.

Lake St. George is great value – $48 walking (M-T) and $60 Friday to Sunday and holidays. https://www.lakestgeorgegolf.com/

Happy Anniversary Islington

Islington Golf Club celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023. The Stanley Thompson design was likely a country escape when it was built in 1923 but the City of Toronto has grown up around it, making it a gorgeous sanctuary within the metropolitan area. According to an essay by noted Canadian golf writer Ian Cruickshank, ‘the course was completed in less than a year with a workforce of 50 men and a team of 20 horses.’ Today Islington is a vibrant private club with a striking modern clubhouse that boasts one of the best patios in the country. Situated just feet from the 18th green, observers are so close to the action, they could probably help read putts if they were asked. A wonderful place to relax and watch golf. To learn more about Islington and its history click HERE. Happy Anniversary!

Tired of the Controversy

As we approach the start of the PGA Championship next week, the fighting, biting and stupidity is getting out of control. The powers that be plus players on both sides of the LIV Golf – legacy Tour divide are firing salvos, trying to settle scores and generally acting like idiots.

The USGA changed its criteria for player qualifications for the U.S. Open by adding a rider to one of its selectors. Originally, Talor Gooch had qualified by making it to the PGA Tour Championship last year, but the change makes it ‘qualified and eligible to play’. Since Gooch moved to LIV Golf, he was no longer eligible to play. The other 29 guys all got a pass to the U.S. Open. Gooch just won two LIV events and under any fair ranking system, is the kind of guy any championship should want. But apparently not the USGA. Kind of petty if you ask me.

Then there’s the whole fiasco between LIV golfers and the DP World Tour, the eradication of about a generation’s worth of captains plus fines and suspensions. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot and a bunch of other appendages as well.

It would be nice and easily doable if they all got together, acknowledged that LIV Golf is a valid Tour and figured out a way for the best players regardless of Tour, to play in the majors. As Michael Schurman has often pointed out in our Round Table, this fight has never been about Saudi money as far as the PGA Tour is concerned. That’s something some members of the media amped up and others latched onto. This fight is really about competition. Jay Monahan wants to control everything, and Greg Norman and his backers aren’t about to be shoved aside.

Time to stop the bickering and figure this out.

Congratulations!

To Danny King of Magna Golf Club and Alan McLean of London who both qualified to play in the U.S. Senior Open at SentryWorld in Wisconsin June 29-July 2. McLean and King finished 1 and 2 respectively at a qualifying event in Bath, Michigan recently.

They said it

Carl Spackler in Caddyshack: So, I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one—big hitter, the Lama—long, into a ten-thousand-foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? “Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga galunga.” So, we finish the 18th, and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know?” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So, I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

Peter Mumford
Peter Mumford is the Editor of Fairways Magazine. He's played over 500 different courses in 21 countries and met some fascinating people along the way. He's also a long-suffering Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *