Interesting to hear Angus Glen will commence an extensive renovation of its South Course, which held the Canadian Open in the past. The work will occur this fall, but don’t expect to see architect Doug Carrick, who originally created the course for Art Stollery, involved with the project as current course ownership has elected to use the U.K. team of Martin Ebert and Tom Mackenzie. Mackenzie and Ebert built Goodwood, the private facility course that has struggled to find a business model, for the Stollery family. Angus Glen also approached the design team of Mike Weir and Ian Andrew about doing the work before the death of Gordon Stollery, who operated the course after Art’s passing. Andrew and Weir turned down the job.
“We are not using Carrick,” confirmed Allan McDonell, Angus Glen’s executive professional. “It was a hard decision that did not come easy.”
Carrick was surprised and disappointed by the decision. The architect says he had plans in place to rework Angus Glen when Gord Stollery was alive, but new management must have had a change of heart.
“I was waiting for some feedback, but it never came,” says Carrick, who did a plan to renovate the course. “It is really disappointing to me.”
Carrick wasn’t the first architect to start on the project. Initially Stollery wanted Pete Dye, who turned the work down and recommended Rod Whitman. But Whitman couldn’t fulfill the obligations to the project and Carrick took over the work, opening the course in 1995. It immediately raised the bar for public golf in the Toronto area under former GM Kevin Thistle and became the top facility for corporate golf.
This is how Angus Glen’s website describes the course’s early origins:
Arthur Stollery passed away in 1994, but the Stollery family completed his masterpiece and the course opened to the public in 1995. That year, Golf Digest magazine ranked Angus Glen as the Best New Course in Canada.
Over time houses have come to surround much of the front nine of the course, which held the 2002 Canadian Open, though some, including Canadian PGA Tour player Richard Zokol, were critical of Golf Canada (then the RCGA) taking it to the course. Perhaps as a reaction to the criticism of holding the tournament at Angus Glen, the decision was made by Golf Canada to create a rotation of top courses for the Canadian Open, which has included Shaughnessy, St. George’s and Hamilton, as well as Glen Abbey, where the tournament will be held this year.
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Angus South needed a renovation for a few reasons.
The greens have become very overgrown with Poa Annua and the early season greens were pretty sketchy as a result. Not sure how they can avoid that in the future as a busy public course but needs to be fixed at this point.
More importantly, their positioning as a top corporate tournament destination was declining. This was in part due to boredom with the layout after 20 years. A new “revitalized” South course would add new interest to the scores of tournaments that are being held there. It will be interesting how they plan to reconstruct the course and continue to host tournaments. I assume they will shut down the South course at some point and just use the North.
Lastly, they definitely needed a whole new perspective for the course so I’m not surprised they chose not to hire Carrick (or Andrew). This is NOT a course restoration as some projects are but rather a renovation. Adding a WOW factor is very important for this type of facility. Just surprised they chose who they did…WOW is not their middle name. (yes I’m one of the fortunate few who has played Goodwood…excellent but not gee whiz).
[…] Bradley explains in this story from Golf Digest by Dave Shedloski … Robert Thompson reports here that Angus Glen in Markham, Ont., will make extensive renovations to its South Course. F Filed […]
Blow up and build more homes
They’re renovating the wrong course. AG North is arguably the worst site to EVER host a Canadian Open. I wouldn’t go back there is it was free.
If the AG group need room to build more homes, AG North would be perfect.
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both the south and north courses are too artificial looking and tricked up. It will take a big reno to change that.