I was very lucky to have been in Toronto on the weekend and even luckier to have played Rosedale Golf Club with three perfect companions, our host Jim Blaney, Donalda member Jay Lilge and Summit’s former Professional, Ron Raynor. The fact that a vicious thunderstorm rolled through while we were on the 10th almost went unnoticed.
The last time I played Rosedale was in 1996. It’s still perfect, the perfect private golf club in fact. Donald Ross designed the course over a hundred years ago, and unlike, say Toronto Golf Club, Rosedale has suffered through many “improvements”. Fortunately almost all of these tweakings have grown out, except one. The Bob Cupp changes now seem to fit in, I was surprised because in 1996 I thought they were very intrusive.
The one problem is the 18th hole, unfortunately Doug Carrick thought the course needed a trick finish (and someone allowed it) and slipped in an Oakmont green. Prior to teeing off I watched a lady member putt her ball off the green, not the way to finish a great round. We did not get to finish so fortunately I did not play 18.
I remember the old green – well not really because every time I got to play Rosedale we ended up playing up 18 towards a street light in the distance above the green. John Dudley was a member at Rosedale (even after he became a professional), we played as often as we could, and it was usually Professional Murray Tucker waiting for us to finish. He and John had the same size feet and Murray gave John his “old” shoes. Jim Blaney remembers John’s dad, an architect.
Rosedale has a superb variety of classic holes and from all the tees can be testing, and fun! Exactly what a membership course should be. I found the greens a bit slower than years past but this could have been because of the humid conditions.
But after we finished and were waiting out the storm I heard something terrible. “Have you heard about the planned improvements?” Well no I said, and I didn’t want to but where could I go? “That short 9th hole will be lengthened by moving the snack bar back…..”. The 9th hole is, to me anyway, the perfect short par 4 hole. Driveable for some (how many Rosedale members hit it 338 on the fly?) but for the rest of us a lot of fun. Why inconvenience a membership just to make changes? Spending the 6 million on a Donald Ross masterpiece doesn’t make sense to me. Cut down a few willows in the fall and nobody will notice.
Rosedale members you have a perfect course – keep it that way! There are a lot of other newer courses that need improvements, Rosedale doesn’t. Why not adopt one of the other courses?