Royal Montreal Golf Club, host venue for this week’s President’s Cup, is the oldest golf club in North America, founded in 1873
Royal Montreal Golf Club, host venue for this week’s President’s Cup, is the oldest golf club in North America, having been founded in 1873.
In that year, a small group of eight men sat in a dockside office and formed the Montreal Golf Club. Eleven years later, in 1884, permission was granted by Queen Victoria to use the “Royal” prefix in the club’s name.
Royal Montreal’s first course was a 9-hole affair laid out on Fletcher’s Field which was part of Mount Royal Park.
It was shared by the red-coated golfers and other citizens relaxing at a venue that was then on the outskirts of Montreal.
In 1896, the club moved to Dixie, in the parish of Dorval, where it remained until the pressures of urban growth again dictated a decision to move.
The clubhouse at Dixie is now the Queen of Angels Academy for Girls.
The second and last move to its island home at Ile Bizard in 1959, saw 45 holes and three courses being constructed.
Pride and joy of the club is the champion Blue Course which has hosted many Canadian Opens and continues to be ranked as one of the “100 Greatest Courses in the World” but the 18-hole Red Course and the nine-hole Dixie Course are both quality layouts offering excellent testing golf..
THE BLUE COURSE
Renowned Golf Course Architect Dick Wilson and his Associate Joe Lee were responsible for designing all of the original 45 holes at Royal Montreal, but in 2005 world famous Rees Jones was asked to remodel the Blue Course.
Renovations to the front nine were started in September 2004 and completed in the Spring of 2005.
The Back Nine of the Blue Course was renovated in the Fall of 2005 and reopened for play in August, 2006.
Despite the renovations, Blue Course has remained essentially the same except for Holes 12 and 13 which been reversed; 12 is now a par 5 and 13 a par 3.
he greens are all constructed to USGA specifications and sodded with L93 grown on the same USGA soil mix.
– The new greens were all constructed to USGA specifications and sodded with L93 grown on the same USGA soil mix. They range in size from 4,000 to 6,000 square feet and all are elevated and tightly bunkered. They tend to have 3 distinct areas or ‘greens within a green’.
– The fairway bunkers were redesigned and relocated to take care of modern golf equipment technology and a range of 280 to 320 yards from the tee. Carry bunkers are at 260 to 280 yards.
– The tees were all reconstructed into pods. Drainage has been installed on all tees.
– The fairways all have an engineered system of slit drains, similar to the Cambridge Drainage System.
You can get an overhead view of the Blue Course and the clubhouse by going to:http://www.rmgc.org/en/web/blue.html
THE BLUE COURSE – HOLE BY HOLE:
Here is how the Royal Montreal Golf Club describes its 18 holes on the Blue Course:
The Front nine is a par 35 playing to 3,542 yards:
No. 1 (444 yards, par 4)
The 1st hole is a slightly uphill dogleg to the left. The left side of the fairway is bunkered and a long carry at 320 yards. The green is kidney-shaped, narrowing at the front. The back left plateau of the green slopes away from incoming approach shots.
No. 2 (385 yards, par 4)
The 2nd hole is a dogleg right, slightly downhill and a driveable par 4. The green sits perpendicular to the fairway and has 2 dramatic spines that divide the green into 3 distinct areas. A deep bunker guards the left side of the green, while the right side falls away sharply demanding a very precise touch.
No. 3 (437 yards, par 4)
The 3rd hole is a slight dogleg right. A well placed drive still leaves the player with a demanding shot to the raised 3-tiered green, which is protected by deep bunkers at the left and right front. The green falls away sharply at the back.
No. 4 (501 yard, par 4)
The fourth hole should be the most difficult hole on the Front Nine. It is an uphill dogleg left with a very narrow tee shot landing area, protected on both sides by bunkers. The player is normally playing into the prevailing wind. The green is kidney-shaped, narrow at the front and protected at the front left and right by bunkers.
No. 5 (203 yard, par 3)
The fifth hole is a very demanding par 3 that requires a very precise shot to another elevated kidney-shaped green. The pattern continues with the front portion of the green being very narrow. It is well protected by deep bunkers at the front left and right of the green. The green has a pronounced spine through its left and centre sections.
No. 6 (570 yards, par 5)
The sixth hole is the lone par 5 on the Front Nine; and one of only two on the Blue Course. There is the potential to hit the green in two, but the prevailing wind is generally into and/or slightly across the player’s face. The hole is a dogleg right with a generous tee shot landing area that is bunkered on both sides. The green is large and angled to the fairway. It sits on a plateau with two very deep bunkers at the front of the green and a series of bunkers along the back. The green is relatively flat, but has a demanding putting surface with a number of distinct areas within the green.
No. 7 (153 yards, par 3)
The seventh hole is a deceptively short par 3. The player does not want to miss this small well bunkered green as they will be faced with a difficult shot from deep bunkers that protect both sides of this narrow green … or have a challenging flop shot.
No. 8 (394 yards, par 4)
The eighth hole provides a slight pause, as the next ten holes become progressively more challenging. This is a short, downwind hole with a dogleg left. The tee shot landing area is very generous. This green departs from the kidney shape of most previous greens. It is round and, unlike the previous greens, much of the green’s surface is not visible from the area that most players will be hitting their approach shot.
No. 9 (437 yard, par 4):
The ninth hole leads back to the Clubhouse and is a slight dogleg left. The tee shot landing area is bunkered on the left side, requiring a 320-yard carry. The green is elevated, narrow at the front and guarded by deep bunkers on both sides. The green has a pronounced spine from the middle of the back to the center of the green. If the approach shot is not in the same quadrant of the green as the pin, a birdie is highly unlikely.
The Back nine is a par 35 playing to 3,629 yards:
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