The amazing opening green site, as good as anything I've seen
On Monday I met up with two friends (and fellow Stanley Thompson enthusiasts) to play Allanadale Golf Club. For Thompson fans Allendale likely gets passed over because it is only 9 holes, and is one hour north of Toronto. But for anyone who hasn’t made the trip for those reasons has missed out on a unique experience. Allandale Golf Club is probably the most intact piece of Stanley Thompson in Ontario. When you begin to go through the best known Thompson courses in Ontario you’ll find they are all altered. St. George’s has four green sites that are not original, Westmount has three new holes, even Cataraqui has a couple of holes on the front nine that Stanley didn’t do, and a couple of greens that were rebuilt. Allandale is all there, still intact, like stepping back to 1927.
Now I will say up front that about seven greens need recapturing to find the original contours, but that really is nothing beyond a year or two getting the grass back to green height. The contours will add a lot to the already fascinating contours that bring memories of Highland Links for their charm. The greatest improvement would be to recapture the back tier on the fascinating 5th. That is almost as good as the back pin at the 2nd at Catarqui.
Many of the bunkers have lost there lines, but because of the way they have grown in the old lines are fairly clear on most of them. The rest of the bunkers are now grass, but once gain because of the way they were removed the bunker complexes are all 100% intact waiting to be brought back to life.
The carry bunker, short of the green, on the 5th
The charm of the place is you get to play the same routing, the original greens, essentially the original bunker placement and even the old tees (there are a couple of new tees, but even they are barely noticeable). You can’t beat that for getting to experience what Thompson laid out. The owner, Brian McCann said that he has only planted three trees in all the time he has owned and operated the course, so even the width that Thompson created has not been lost by silly planting schemes that ruin a lot of Stanley’s work.
Brian mentioned that a few people have come through, including a member of the Stanley Thompson Society, and told him to spend big money making fixing things and making changes. But I just can’t understand why. He only needs to slowly recapture what has shrunk or been grassed in - Nothing else! I will be back to play there with my son, a perfect place for us to enjoy the game as it is meant to be. Did I mention that nine holes in this incredible setting is only $21. during the week. Go! If you are a Stanley Thompson enthusiast and you haven’t been there…..go!