In an interesting move, one of my favourite clubs, Scarboro G &CC, announced last night that it will use Toronto designer Ian Andrew and American designer Gil Hanse to restore its historic AW Tillinghast golf course.
It is a smart move after years of using Graham Cooke and his associates, who seemed more interested in simplifying the course’s more interesting elements than truly bringing back the Golden Era of Golf.
Let’s be clear — there are a lot of historic clubs in Scarboro’s position. As a golf course, landlocked at 6,600 yards, Scarboro will never hold another Canadian Open and can’t compete with the 7,400 yard new monsters like Coppinwood or the soon-to-be-opened Wyndance.
And with almost all private clubs in Toronto area suffering with membership woes, courses need to find a way to attract members. Embracing their history — especially at a club like Scarboro that has so much of it — is a smart move that can be marketed to new members.
The chance to work with Scarboro is another coup for Andrew (who is good friends with Hanse). The Toronto designer left Doug Carrick’s office in early 2006 and has established himself as THE guy to turn to for restoration work. He’s won numerous jobs recently — including from clubs in the U.S. and in Western Canada (Saskatoon G &CC is using him for extensive renovations, as is Red Deer).
I’ve been very clear about my fondness for Scarboro — which I think should sit in the Top 20 courses in the country with an appropriate facelift. I guess time will tell how that will work out, but I’m confident Andrew and Hanse will take the appropriate steps to make it happen.