Golf and Northern Ontario are not exactly the marquee grouping, but that does not mean there isn’t any good golf up there. One of the sneaky good golf courses is hidden in Geraldton and comes to us from none other than Stanley Thompson.
Kenogamisis Golf Club has nine holes from Stanley Thompson and nine from Les Furber built some 60-odd years apart. For those who venture the three hours north of Thunder Bay, the Thompson nine is the better of the two, and certainly starts on a high note with the 430-yard par 4, 1st.
Like many of Stanley Thompson’s best achievements, Kenogamisis opens with a generous tee ball. Not without trickery, the fairway’s ruggedness matches the vibe of Northern Ontario. Playing down the left side opens up a flatter lie while right can bring some interesting lies.
As you walk the fairway, you get a sense of the contours. They are not as intense as St. George’s, Elk Island (review here) or Highlands Links, but they are enough to make an interesting and exciting tee ball that one would enjoy every time they played.
The Hog’s Back fairway is exciting, and reminds the golfer of another hidden golf course in Northern Canada at Elk Island, 45 minutes east of Edmonton.
After navigating the eye-catching opening shot, the approach shot is straight out of Stanley Thompson’s playbook with a green site wrapped in mounding to frame the green beautifully.
Part of the excitement with playing small town courses from Golden Age architects is the unaltered design elements. With small budgets, courses are unable to ruin the design elements in the search for perfection that some of the inner-city private clubs have sought after. On the first, an exciting green site awaits with a lot of movement that makes putts fun.
A better view from the walk from 1 green to 2 tee, which shows the spine through the middle.
Kenogamisis is one of Northern Ontario’s best hidden gems in a region full of hidden gems. The opening hole is an exciting welcome to the golf course and certainly well worth the effort to play.
For those who go, it is not just the 1st hole that is good. The rest of the Stanley Thompson nine is particularly interesting, full of old school charm and small-town hospitality.
The 1st, however, is among Thompson’s most interesting opening holes, and for that it deserves special recognition.