There is no other golf club in North America and Thornhill like the Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto – it is the only one owned and governed by women. A welcoming and supportive environment affords women of all ages priority access to the tee and allows them to learn, play and enjoy the game. Men are welcomed as players and as guests as well.
Ada Mackenzie, the five-time Canadian golf champion and founder of the Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto now in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, created the club in 1924. The achievement was not easy when you consider that women were largely excluded from public life, couldn’t own property, and had to fight for their voting rights almost 100 years ago.
The lack of practice opportunities, however, did not stop Ada Mackenzie from becoming a champion. She was not only successful on the international stage, but she launched an ambitious project to build a golf course for women in Canada.
“The first time I started golfing was when women were more likely to know the difference between a cookstove and a niblick (old name for a 9-iron).” Those were the days of World War I, and it was difficult for women golfers to find places to play at that time,” recalls Mackenzie.
To design a course, she turned to renowned Canadian golf course architect Stanley Thompson who is based in Thornhill. She often had to pose as Thompson’s wife when they were looking for a suitable property or a Burnaby condo for sale that they can afford, to be taken seriously as a buyer. Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto was formerly located in the Village of Thornhill, north of Toronto, and is now directly within sight of four major highways.
Originally intended as an 18-hole golf course (currently 21 holes), Stanley Thompson’s design with women in mind encourages accuracy rather than power, with narrow fairways and small greens. For any golfer, this course is challenging but easy to walk. Trying to figure out what the ‘best’ hole is at Ladies’ is an ongoing struggle. As wonderful as the six Par 3 holes (two more than usual) as they are as long and narrow as the par 5 holes, which are well known for their long, straight shots.
At the Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto in Thornhill, five tees are available to accommodate different skill levels. The 6,002-yard total course length (Blue Tees) for experienced players is as inviting as the newest tee decks of 3,879 yards (Purple/Scoring Tees) that have been installed to support the recent golfing trend of the USGA’s “TEE IT FORWARD” program for new and senior golfers and for those who simply don’t have time to play a long course.
Padraig Kelly, the head professional, says: “Our par 3s are our most memorable holes.” The 7th hole provides a great view (especially in the fall) and has tee boxes between 195 and 80 yards in length. In addition, there is a fairway to accept shots that do not reach the green, so the golfer can utilize all of his/her course management skills.
The par threes at the Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto are unique in this regard. The golfer never has to carry a hazard, and she can always choose to play short of the water and then hit another approach shot into the green if she feels comfortable doing so. The same can also be said for the 16th hole.
Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto in Thornhill, Ontario welcomes guests and visitors primarily as guests of its members and as guests of Guest Card Holders. Guests from outside the United States may play at Ladies’ at their own home clubs. If they are interested in playing at Ladies’, their Chief Professional should get in touch with Paddy Kelly, the Head Professional at Ladies’.
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