Hole 2, St. George’s Golf and Country Club, Toronto
What makes it great: I’m not the first to point this out, as Tom Doak noted the greatness of the second par four at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in his Confidential Guide to golf courses. What’s unique about the second — and about much of the course — is the fact it plays across valleys as opposed to through them. Most golf architects would have routed their course through the valleys, but Stanley Thompson picked a different route for St. George’s. The tee shot is over a wide ravine, that runs across the fairway and away to the left, meaning a well-positioned shot also has the longest carry. Those failing to get up top will likely not make the green.
The right side of the fairway is protected by a bunker (part of Ian Andrew’s restoration of nearly a decade ago), meaning those who play for the shorter route have to flirt with the hazard. From there golfers are left with a long iron into a subtle green that is open in front and comes in on-grade, allowing golfers to run balls into the hole, or offering the chance for par to those who come up short and can get up and down.
The green is flanked on both sides by bunkers, and on the left drops off steeply into another valley that leads to homes. Needless to say, if you’ve survived the first shot there’s no guarantee that you’ll make the second. However, by offering an opening to the green, Thompson presents an opportunity to players of all abilities, one of the elements that makes the hole so terrific. I’d put this one up with No. 7 at the National, #2 at Highlands Links, #3 at St. Thomas and #16 at Cabot Links as among the great par fours in Canada.
Other great holes at St. George’s: #5, #7, #11, #13, #18.