Situated in the affluent neighborhood of Princess Anne Manor in the greater Toronto area, St. George’s Golf and Country Club has been a staple of golf in Ontario for almost a century.
The club was established in 1929 by Stanley Thompson, one of Canada’s most prolific amateur golfers of the early 20th century. Though a promising player who led the qualifying round of the 1924 Canadian Amateur, Thompson’s true passion lay in course design, which he dabbled in from an early age. After serving in World War I, he returned to Canada and established Stanley Thompson & Company – a course architecture firm that would soon rise to become an industry leader in Canada.
From 1920 and 1953, Thompson designed or helped design 145 courses in North America, South America, and the Caribbean, but the course at St George’s, being his debut achievement, has always taken center-stage in his list of achievements.
Stanley Thompson had an active role in managing the course and club until his death in 1953, when he passed the torch to another well-respected Canadian course designer, C. E. “Robbie” Robinson. Robinson authored a number of changes which give the course its unique character today, mainly lengthening a number of holes in preparation for the 1968 Canadian Open.
Since it was first opened, St George’s Golf and Country club has hosted the Canadian Open 5 times, most recently in 2010 when it was won by Carl Pettersson. It has also hosted the Canadian women’s open five times, and runs a popular amateur curling program in the winter.
St. George’s Golf and Country Club Amenities
It’s no surprise that St George’s 18-hole golf course is beautifully designed. Set in a patch of the estate’s rolling landscape, full of sheer peaks and troughs that have been used to create a varied array of challenging holes. The third hole, a par 3, is positioned in its own dell, with bunkers that are a good distance from the green, creating a visual deception that makes it an especially exciting one to tackle. The par 3 thirteenth hole is also particularly memorable, with an approach that goes over a creek.
The clubhouse itself carries the same air of historic prestige as the course, and combines a potent Old-World beauty with a range of modern comforts. Its restaurant is served by an executive chef and sommelier who are known to provide an unforgettable dining experience. The club maintains several seasonal menus, which range from casual bites to up-scale gourmet dishes, all complemented by an award-winning wine list. Many of the dishes are made with produce grown in the club’s own garden – it doesn’t get more local than that!
Though the club lacks some of the amenities seen in other country clubs like a pool or large gym, the elegant and beautifully-kept lounge areas, restaurant, and locker rooms are a cut above many other clubs of a comparable price bracket.
The club also has a cutting-edge indoor learning center, which has a 1,000 sq ft putting green, and an array of state-of-the-art golf simulators, training bays, and club fitting facilities.
The club also maintains an active calendar of social events, including a yearly Super Bowl tailgate and several wine pairing dinners.
St. George’s Golf and Country Club Membership Cost
Like many up-scale country clubs, St George’s doesn’t publicize the requirements for membership on their official platforms. However, various online sources say that the members’ initiation fee is CAD $70,000 (around USD $56,000) as well as a $5,000 refundable debenture and annual dues of $4,250 (USD $3,400). These prices place St George’s roughly in the average bracket for comparable courses near a large city, which is a big plus considering the club’s long and prestigious history.
Though there’s little public information regarding guests, it’s safe to assume that like most high-end clubs, guests can come to play and use amenities when accompanied by a full member, and for a fee.
St. George’s Golf and Country Club Visitors Guide and Dress Code
As a traditional and long-established club, St George’s maintains a fairly strict and conservative dress code.
Commercial logos, numbers, and illustrations on any clothing which aren’t club-related are not permitted, though attire with the club’s own logo, logos of other clubs, or designer logos are allowed. Denim is permitted in one of its lounges, the Royal York Lounge, but practically nowhere else.
Hats, caps and visors must not be worn backwards, and must be removed completely when in the clubhouse (women’s fashion hats can stay on). Any shirts must be collared golf shirts, turtlenecks, or mock turtlenecks with a minimum collar of 1.5 inches. Shirts must be tucked-in on the course and in the club house, unless it’s tailored to be untucked.
Like many prestigious country clubs, St George’s maintains a policy that all cell phones must be switched to silent or vibrate, and shouldn’t be used for conversations except for pre-arranged private meetings in certain areas of the clubhouse.