In 1913, the seed for Islington Golf Club was planted by three entrepreneurs with a vision for a community golf club. The Club was conceived in the minds of Colonel Bill Rogers, E.H.A. Watson, Principal of Riverdale Collegiate and Mr. Chadwick, a local realtor. All three were directors of the Colonial Realty Company and realized the rolling farmland and winding Mimico Creek would make a pristine and challenging setting for a golf course. The First World War delayed their plans, but in 1923 they renegotiated an option on the Appleby Farm land, and Islington Golf Club was incorporated.
Fifty men and twenty teams of horses were employed, and because most of the land destined for fairways needed a minimum of work, it was completed in what was regarded as a record for the time. It also helped that the provisional Directors chose to proceed with development before raising funds from prospective members. This was a departure from the usual practice.
Captain Melville Millar was hired by Islington Golf Club as Secretary/Manager and helped to supervise the construction. He was subsequently hired by Thompson and worked for him until 1928 when he formed a partnership with George Cumming. In 1928, Millar donated the Millar Trophy for match play competition among professionals. This tournament was played at Islington for many years.
Islington Golf Club was an early assignment for Stanley Thompson, one of the foremost golf architects in North America. Although there has been minor alteration in the hole sequence over the years, the course plays close to its original design and retains much of the charm and features of Thompson’s original layout.
CANADA'S LEGENDARY GOLF COURSE ARCHITECT
Stanley Thompson was born in 1893. He was one of five brothers who all caddied at the Toronto Golf Club in the early years of the 20th century, and became leading Canadian golfers in the 1920s. Stanley (considered by some to be the finest golfer of the five), led the qualifying round for the Canadian Amateur in 1925.
Stanley Thompson dabbled in golf course architecture before the First World War. When he returned from the war as a lieutenant in the Canadian Field Artillery he formed Stanley Thompson & Company, a golf course design company that was soon inundated with orders for new courses from across Canada. The “Golden Age” of golf course architecture in Canada had begun and Thompson was at the forefront. Stanley Thompson was a prolific golf course architect who designed, remodelled or constructed 145 courses in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean and South America between 1920 and 1953.
In 1948, along with fellow designers Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones, he founded the prestigious American Society of Golf Course Architects. In the past, noted architects Robert Trent Jones, Howard Watson, Geoff Cornish, Robbie Robinson and Bob Moote all worked for Stanley Thompson. Recognition of his accomplishments continues to grow and his courses remain among the top courses in Canada with 17 listed in the top 100. In 1980, he was elected to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.