Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day tribute to Stanley Thompson

On June 29th in Ingonish Nova Scotia the Honourable Michael L. MacDonald, Senator, revealed a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque commemorating the national historic significance of golf course architect Stanley Thompson. From the press release:
"A pioneer of golf course design, Stanley Thompson used his exceptional sense of perspective to create visually outstanding courses," said Senator MacDonald. "We are very fortunate to have what some consider his very best design, the Highlands Links Golf Course, here in Cape Breton Highlands National Park."

The ST Society claims the courses at this link are ST's, but there's some debate about his role in number of these so here's a list from Ian Andrew of the courses he feels are likely pure ST. Although I only work with 5 Stanley Thompson designed courses, and have only visited 12 out of the 178(or145), I feel I have an average understanding of the principles and character of his designs, but perhaps from a different point of view than many. When I think of a Stanley Thompson course I think of a course that was built in the first third of the century, and because these courses were built relatively close to the population centers of their day, most are now fully surrounded by our urban centers. It's this characteristic that interests me, and even more so, I'm fascinated with the way superintendents have been able to preserve the "Thompson Integrity" while incorporating today's environmental standards and considerations. Here are a few quick examples...

Check out this link for an Environmental Case Study of Banff Springs from the American Society for Golf Course Architects.

This article covers the restoration of Dickinson Brooke in Fundy National Park Golf Course.

The Cutten Club in Guelph has established buffer-zones around all pond areas and has even reduced the amount of water used from the local Speed River by rerouting Guelph University's grey water run-off through the course and into irrigation reservoirs. This water carries a number of potential pollutants from roads and parking lots (hydro-carbons and road salt to say the least) but becomes filtered through the turf before being released into the local watershed.

Yes, putting up bird houses is relatively easy to do, and any course new or old should be doing it. An urban-locked course like Islington GC largely goes un-noticed by the community for their significant role in providing nesting cavities in an area of the city that is starving for trees, let alone ones with suitable nesting cavities. In the map below you'll see Islington GC, you'll notice how they (and other local ST courses like St.Georges and Lambton) provide crucial ecological infrastructure (Carbon Sequestration, Habitat Corridors, Green Space) to this area of Etobicoke/Toronto.

View Larger Map
First person account of Bigwin Island GC



July 1, 2009 at 3:01 p.m.

good idea for a post swampy!
i know the members go a little crazy at thompson courses everytime you want to adjust mowing heights and trees or bunkers. i didnt think i would see the day that stanley thompson would ever be considerd historically significant to the whole country. awesome.

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