By Mike Jiggens
Tom Doak and Ian Andrew have been selected as the new consulting architects for St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
The two noted architects are joining forces to work together for the first time and will be at St. George’s in the coming weeks to meet with club members as Doak takes on his first project in Canada.
“As part of our mission and vision of the club, we want to remain a top-tier golf course and for this reason we are evaluating all options with the new architect team to sustain and improve our world-class status,” says CEO and GM Joe Murphy. In 2013, Golf Magazine rated St. George’s G&CC No. 87 in the world, while in 2012, Golf Digest magazine ranked the course No. 10 in the world outside the United States and No. 1 in Canada.
“My first thought when I heard about the project was that I am generally not taking on new consulting clients anymore, because they chew up too much of my schedule, but that I had to make an exception for any course that was listed among my favorites in The Confidential Guide. That's how I got tied up with Royal Melbourne, too,” Doak said. “My second thought was that I knew Ian Andrew had done a lot of work at St. George's a few years ago so I called him and asked if he wanted to collaborate.”
Doak, a minimalist designer from Traverse City, Mich., is considered by many to be today’s preeminent architect. He has personally designed and built five courses in the Top 100 in the world and helped preserve and restore another 10 on the current list. His resume includes; Royal Melbourne (West) and (East), Crystal Downs, Chicago Golf Club, Garden City, Shoreacres, Camargo, Somerset Hill and Royal Adelaide, which are all currently all in the top 100 in the world. He was also responsible for the much heralded green rebuilding program at San Francisco Golf Club that carefully preserved A.W. Tillinghast’s greens.
In May of 1991, Doak was writing his book titled, The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. He came to see St. George’s at the encouragement of writer Lorne Rubenstein and was so impressed with the course that it became one of his 31 Flavours of Golf. This section was used to identify the best work of the best architects in the history of the game.
Andrew is a passionate golf architect and historian who led the bunker restoration project at St. George’s for Carrick Design in 2001. Andrew was passionate about Thompson’s legacy and spent close to a year researching the history of the club before delivering his presentation to the membership on how to restore Thompson’s legacy. He spent a great deal of time on site during the construction to ensure the work not only matched the photos, but had the attention to detail found on the greatest examples of architecture in the world.
Since that time he has worked on dozens of restoration projects and a couple of key collaborations. His portfolio highlights include; a restoration master plan for Plymouth CC designed by Donald Ross, grassing work at Glens Falls CC designed by Donald Ross; a master plan in 2013 for Huntington CC designed by Deverault Emmet; restoration master plan and bunker restoration work at Knollwood CC designed by Seth Raynor; restoration master plan, tree removal and bunker restoration at Park CC designed by H.S. Colt and Charles Alison; restoration master plan and bunker renovation with Gil Hanse at Scarboro G&CC designed by A.W. Tillinghast and a complete rebuild of the Blue Course at Laval Sur-Le-Lac Golf & Country Club with Mike Weir that opened in 2013. Andrew has also worked on more than two dozen Stanley Thompson courses including the restoration of Highlands Links.
“I’m thrilled to be back at St. George’s. The bunker restoration project at St. George’s was a turning point in my career as an architect and I have always held the club in very high regard,” said Andrew, who resides in Brantford, Ont. “A few years ago I made a list of the architects I wanted to work with and Tom is right at the top of it, so I’m thrilled to work with Tom.”
Andrew said future work will be focused on maintaining and restoring the Stanley Thompson history and heritage of the golf course and altering it as little as possible as they move forward.