Designer: Stanley Thompson (with alterations by Les Furber and Ted Locke)
Overview: Mayfair is the blue blood club of Edmonton, mirroring the likes of Rosedale in Toronto or Capilano in Vancouver. As such it has a fine history and a classic Stanley Thompson course that has been tinkered with in places over the years, first by Les Furber and more recently by Ted Locke. Where it excels the elements of Thompson’s genius surface. Unfortunately where it falters is in recent changes, both heavy-handed ones by Furber (with his atrocious use of waste bunkers which are the antithesis of Thompson’s style) and the reworked 10th hole, which is a blight on an otherwise fine golf course.
- Despite significant changes, there are some interesting elements to the course which would appear to be part of Thompson’s original concept for the course. The long fours, in particular 7, 12, 17, are all quite fine, and though there’s little elevation in the course, the best holes have some interesting movement in the fairways.
- While I’d say the longer two-shot holes still offer much of Thompson’s perspective on design, the shorter par fours also captured the imagination and presented a wider shot variety. Of particular interest are the 6th, 13th and 15th.
- The 10th, a dogleg right around a massive holding pond, is an awful mess and really out of sync with Thompson’s work, as is the 11th, a long par three with a bank that rolls into the holding pond. Neither hole looks like Thompson’s work – though I understand the 10th has long been a problem.
- There’s no doubt the 18th is a tough hole. But did Furber have to turn it into a Pete Dye hole from central Florida when he made his changes? Now it is all about awful unnatural ponds and water fountains. That has little to do with Thompson’s vision of golf – though the setting of the green (which also appears to have been rebuilt) underneath the outdoor patio is one of the best in Canada.
- There are some awkward holes at Mayfair (the third, for example) that are now protected by trees designed to try to recapture shot values that have long since disappeared.
Final Tally: It would be fascinating to see what Royal Mayfair could become if the club decided to make the fundamental changes that would undo many of the renovations of recent years. Right now it has the bones of a terrific course, but the aesthetics falter and the recent changes (10, in particular) are pretty questionable. The question I was left with as I walked off the 18th is what would Mayfair be if they brought in an architect prepared to remove Furber’s horrific embellishments and put Thompson’s vision back?