RBC Canadian Open

Hamilton GCC Undergoing Major Renovations

RBC Canadian Open

Greg Bowman

Hamilton Golf and Country Club has is home to this year’s Canadian Open, and will do the same in 2023; however, the course will see some changes in the years between thanks to the appointment of a prestigious golf architecture company.

With a press conference at the Canadian Open on Saturday, it was announced that Mackenzie & Ebert Ltd. will spearhead an $11 million project to the golf course in Ancaster which will see renovations to its greens, bunkers and irrigation systems at season’s end this fall.

“As part of the renewal of the golf course assets, our goal is to strengthen the character and original design philosophy of this wonderful Colt masterpiece for members and all golfers to enjoy,” said Martin Ebert, who is a world-renowned Golf Course Architect responsible for designing some of the top courses in the world, including most of the potential stops for the Open Championship in Great Britain.

Hamilton Golf and Country Club is what is considered a “Colt Layout,” named after one of the most renowned course architects, Harry Colt. In the early 20th century, Colt took part in the design of over 300 courses around the world, 115 of which were done singlehandedly. A Colt design often includes the small, deep bunkers around the green; long, narrow fairways blended with short par 3 holes to ensure that players are never quite sure what to expect. Colt first visited the Hamilton Golf and Country Club in 1914, prior to World War I and laid the foundation for what is one of the top courses in the nation. He was also involved in the design of Toronto Golf Club whose luster is on equal footing to that of Hamilton.

Colt’s original design in Hamilton will be used as a guideline for the new renovations, as is the case for most of the projects undertaken by Mackenzie & Ebert as they are familiar with most of the Colt courses worldwide.

“When you’re thinking about any project, you want to make sure you have some world-class help,” said former Club President, Chris Hamel on the appointment of Ebert, who has been consulting in Hamilton for the last five years, “we’ve got great knowledge, great institutional knowledge about our course and about world-class facilities.”

The course has 27 holes on its premises, which will allow for construction of some holes to take place while there will still be 18 available ones for members to still play on. Construction will include the replacement of a 30-year-old irrigation system, a change from Anna turf greens to Bentgrass, and will allow for more pin placement opportunities. The bunkers will also be revamped, maintaining the deep Colt design but with cutting-edge technology.

Construction for the project will begin in September, going through nine holes at a time and is expected to be completed by the spring of 2021.