RBC Canadian Open 2022 Overview
The Canadian Open takes centre stage this week, a competitive field tee it up and St George Golf & Country Club. Stanley Thompson’s expertly crafted course has truly stood the test of time. Among the best courses in the world, the players will look forward to this week. This is the precursor to the US Open taking place at the famous Brookline next week.
The Royal York Golf Club, as St George’s Golf and Country Club was formerly known, was founded in the Roaring Twenties with the help of Canadian Pacific Railway money. Stanley Thompson, one of North America’s most talented architects was commissioned to fashion a championship course in downtown Toronto, close to the shores of Lake Ontario and in 1929 the course opened for play. The course has had a few redesigns over the year and most recently in preparation for the Canadian Open here in 2022 & 2024.
St George’s is a true test of skill, with tight twisting fairways and undulating terrain. The club has proudly hosted the Canadian Open five times, most recently in 2010, as well as the LPGA Classic five times.
Today’s layout measures slightly more than 7,000 yards from the back tees, with a par of 71.
With a more strategic bias than many of Thompson’s other well-known works, St. George’s places a high value on accuracy from the tee, and its tight greens are difficult to hit when out of position but often enticing enough to tempt golfers to gamble causing greater problems. The round starts with a beautifully bunkered uphill par four, followed by the difficult 2nd, one of several fantastic driving holes that require a precise drive down the dangerous side to set up a decent angle into the target. The fourth and fifth holes have significant undulation and reward those who take an aggressive line down the right with a relatively flat lie, while the cross-gully sixth and semi-dell eighth holes are both enjoyable par threes but thereto attack for the worlds best.
Back nine highlights include the subtle rolls and ridges of the 10th fairway and the notorious par four 12th with massive bunkers down the left side of a right sloping fairway and a green sitting on a ledge that is more difficult to hit the further right you stray. Also, a notable hole is the 14th where you must drive long and straight to reach the downslope or face crossing the diagonal creek from a hanging lie. The finish is rightly acclaimed as one of Canada’s best. A tough par three at 16 is followed by the impossibly difficult 17th, originally conceived as a par five and still featuring its tiny three-shot green, and the strong, slow rising 18th played through mature trees and striking greenside bunkers.
St George’s is a serious challenge and one that should make for great preparation ahead of the US Open next week.
Key Skills Set Required
- Driving Accuracy – Not the longest of course by any means, players falsely could assume this track can be overpowered. It’s precision that’s is preferred over power this week. Playing to the right side of the fairways and opening access to the tucked pins will be more important than pure distance of the tee.
- SG Approach Play – Plenty of tight landing areas to hit this week from the tee, however it’s the second shot approaching the tiny greens which will cuss the players most to think about. Second shot will vary in length of course but there appears to be a high amount from over 150 yards. This is due to forced landing areas from the tee. We want players onside who excel with iron in hand.
- Par 3 Scoring – With 5 par 3’s in play each day this week it makes sense to look at those who excel in this area. Linked to iron play, those players who can attacked the pins on par3 and make plenty of birdies will be at a distinct advantage over their competitors.
- Par 4 Scoring 450yards + – Only the nine par 4’s this week, and 6 of them will measure up at over 450 yards. These demanding par 4’s will play an important factor this week. I want player onside who can dominate the tougher more challenging par 4’s.
- SG Sand Saves – Heavy bunkering protects the majority of greens here at St George’s Golf & CC. Lots of elevation changes make clubbing hard for all players and this results in a high amount of approach shots finding the well placed bunkers. Getting up and down from here will be important this week. The winner will have got up and down circa 80% of the time.