Our members Dr. Joseph Breloff and Mr. Clint Starke worked hard to compile the history of LTCC, which dates all the way back to 1896!!
(A Sketch of the first Lockport Country Club by Mr. Joe Whalen as described by Mr. Clint Starke)
Increasing membership and a growing interest in golf forced the club to leave its log cabin in 1902.
An old post card showing a more mature Lockport Town & Country Club. Note the windmill and pump house on the left side of the picture (approximately 1915)
A post-card picture of the LTCC clubhouse above the large lake. (about 1930)
The Lockport Town & Country Club had the privilege and foresight to have one of the most famous golf architects design our original 9-hole golf course.
(September 18, 1893 – January 4, 1953) was a Canadian golf architect. He was a co-founder of the American Society of Golf Architects.
Born in Toronto, he graduated from Malvern Collegiate Institute and attended the Ontario Agricultural College (now the University of Guelph) for one year. He served with the Canadian military in Europe during World War I; after the war ended, he visited many of the top courses in the British Isles. When he returned to Canada after the war he became a full-time golf course architect, going into business himself by 1923. In the 1920s, there was a rapid expansion of golf and new courses were needed to accommodate the millions of new players, so Thompson and his peers were kept very busy.
He designed courses from 1912-1952, mostly in Canada, with a philosophy of preserving the natural lay and flow of the land. He got his start with George Cumming, longtime professional at the Toronto Golf Club, who had designed several Canadian courses around the turn of the 20th century.
Thompson was an excellent player himself, competing with success many times in the Canadian Amateur Championship, and he had four brothers—Nicol, Frank, Mathew, and Bill—all of whom became outstanding Canadian players in the 1920s. Nicol was the professional at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, while the other four remained top-class amateurs. Frank won two Canadian Amateur titles, while Bill won one.
The Stanley Thompson Society provides a list of 178 courses that Thompson laid out, had constructed, or remodeled through one of the companies that he worked for or managed in the years 1912-1953. Geographically, the courses are located in:
- Canada (144 courses)
- USA (26 courses)
- Brazil (4 courses)
- Colombia (2 courses)
- Jamaica (2 courses)
In 1930, Robert Trent Jones was a young upstart, fresh out of college, hired to design a new course for Midvale Golf Club in Rochester, New York, under one condition: Stanley Thompson would supervise. Jones agreed. He and Thompson soon realized they shared many of the same ideas, and a partnership ensured. Thompson-Jones and Co was officially formed in 1932, with offices in Toronto, Rochester, and later New York City.
Typically irregular in shape, featuring exaggerated capes and bays with sand flashed high on the interior face to ensure visibility and drama, a trademark Thompson bunker is the most visual demonstration of his artistic flair. Interesting, too, is Thompson's thoughtful placement of sand hazards. Often, by playing near or over a Thompson bunker, risk-takers are rewarded with a shorter path to the hole, and/or an advantageous angle of approach. Challenging his bunkers is optional though. Thompson always provides less skilled, and less daring golfers with a way around the sand, albeit on a longer route to the green.
Stanley Thompson’s philosophy:
"The most successful course is one that will test the skill of the most advanced player, without discouraging the 'duffer', while adding to the enjoyment of both," Thompson wrote in his 1923 design manifesto General Thoughts on Golf Course Design. "One should always keep in mind that more than 85 per cent of the golfers play 90 and over. These are the men that support the clubs and therefore the course should not be built for the men who play in the 70 class."
A golf course must blend harmoniously with its native surroundings, they insisted, and lines throughout a course should not be sharp or harsh, but easy and rolling. "Stan was an artist," says golf architect Geoffrey Cornish, who worked for Thompson during the 1930s, beginning at Capilano. "He would sometimes spend hours personally shaping a single bunker by hand."
“Nature should always be the architect's model.”
So the next time you ball lands on the island green in the sand bunker on our hole #2, think of the honor that you are playing on a golf course designed by the most famous golf architect in the world!
Stanley Thompson Legacy
to see correspondence from Stanley Thompson to LTCC.