Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Architect: George Cumming (1914); A.W. Tillinghast (1924)
Yardage: Par 71, 6526 Yards
My Quick Review: The only Tillinghast in Canada -- If you like great greens and rolling terrain, Scarboro is for you.
Scarboro is a golf course with significant architectural pedigree (Cumming and Tillinghast). The club has hosted the Canadian Open on four occasions, and has hosted many of the 'greats,' including Nicklaus and Palmer.
Cumming's routing uses the terrain very well, repeatedly crossing Highland Creek and moving the golfer golfer up, down and across some very undulating terrain. The strong use of natural features helps to minimize the urban setting in which the course is located.
|Scarboro's Victorian Clubhouse|
Of particular note at Scarboro is the sensational bunker placement. There is minimal use of fairway bunkers at Scarboro, but where they are used, they are used with purpose. Staggered bunkering creates very interesting strategic options. The greenside bunkering is very clever as well. While many of the greenside bunkers are quite deep, tremendous care was taken in varying bunker depths -- the deepest bunkers are found on the greens you are not supposed to miss.
Scarboro's greatest strength is found in its set of short par 4s. Holes 3, 7, 15 and 16 all play 340 yards or less and each requires considerable thought. These holes will all be profiled later in the review.
Holes to Note
Hole 1: Par 5, 576 Yards
Step on the 1st tee at Scarboro and you know you are about to play a quality golf course. Staggered fairway bunkering and plenty of corridor width guarantee that this will be a course filled with strategic options.
The second shot is all about avoiding the significant mounding on the left side of the fairway -- nothing but deep rough and nasty lies there! The fairway is plenty wide 150 yards from the green, but narrows as you get closer to the green -- how comfortable do you feel on the 1st hole of the day?
|Mounding Guards the Left Side of the Fairway|
|Another Look at the Mounding|
|Approach to 1|
|Lots of Tilt on the 1st Green|
The first of a very strong set of short par-4s. The fairway is very wide if you are willing to lay back 125 yards from the green, but as the golfer gets more greedy, the fairway gets narrower. The right side of the fairway is guarded by a steep drop-off into Highland Creek.
Though it is drastically uphill, the approach to the 3rd seems fairly straightforward, but...
|Deep Greenside Bunkering|
|3 Looking Back to the Tee|
The 4th is Scarboro's 'signature' hole. A long par-3 that plays some 50 feet downhill from tee to green. The green is guarded by a series of 3 bunkers on the right and shots that are missed significantly to the right will find Highland Creek.
|4 Green with Contouring Highlighted|
|4 from Behind|
Another great short par-4, the 7th is short enough that many players will feel compelled to try to drive the green. But, lurking 40 yards short of the green, right in the landing area of many drives, are two deep bunkers. Just 'knocking it down there' doesn't work here -- if you are laying-up, be sure to lay-up well short of the green -- if you are going for it, be sure you can carry the cross-bunkers as finding them is the easiest way to turn a hole that should be a birdie hole into a surefire bogey.
|7 Approach - Note the two bunkers 30 yards short of the green|
|7 Green from Behind|
This hole has something for everyone -- a blind, quirky tee shot, great rolling terrain, a split-fairway, a forced-carrie over Highland Creek and an amazing natural greensite.
The tee shot is completely blind and (I presume) had a much more natural feeling before the apartment building was built. The direction of the fairway gives the golfer the idea that the hole will continue to move left, but tee shots too far left will find Highland Creek. The ideal line is straight at the apartment building.
|8 Top of Hill|
|The Approach to 8 is Played over Highland Creek|
|8th Greensite is as good as it gets|
|8 from Behind|
The tenth is easily the best par-5 on the golf course. Routed over not-so-gently rolling terrain, the tenth moves right from tee-to-green. Three bunkers staggered on the right side of the fairway protect the ideal line and ensure that players of all length and ability will have a decision to make.
|The first bunker lies 245 yards from the tee|
|Approach from short of fairway bunkers|
|Approach from 100 yards out|
|Deep Greenside Bunkering|
Though not a great short par-3, it is definitely a good one. The 11th is an opportunity to make birdie, but if you miss the green, you will be lucky to walk away with bogey. The green slopes significantly from back-to-front and is surrounded by deep greenside bunkers set-back slightly from the green to make recovery more difficult.
|Deep Bunkering Short...|
|Right, Long (and left not pictured)|
Though short on the scorecard, few players will have the length to challenge this severely uphill par-4. The tee shot is played to a split-level fairway -- it is only 190 yards to the upper-level, but the shot to the upper-level is blind and the fairway is narrowed.
While tee shots into the upper fairway leave a far more appealing look at the green.
|Approach to 15|
|More deep greenside bunkering is found at the 15th|
|A tiny, sloping green on the 15th|
|Missing long is not an option|
The sixteenth is deceptively difficult. Though there appears to be lots of width, shots that miss the fairway left will carom down the hill and into a ravine, and shots that miss right will be completely blocked-out by trees. Clever players will hit an iron short of the fairway bunker on the right.
|Approach from 100 Yards Out|
|A Deep Swale Protects the 16th Green|
|The View from in the Swale is Not Appealing!|
Probably the most-well known thing about Scarboro is the uber-quirky drive on the 18th hole, which is played over the heavily-trafficked Scarborough Golf Club Road. In truth, the tee shot on the 18th is not visually appealing, though this will be rectified when the club completes the planned raising of the 18th tees. Even though it is near-impossible to hit a car, it is still difficult to not be a little nervous hitting over the road.
|18 Back Tee|
|18 Member Tee|