Golf history is often a muddled mess to scrummage through with contradicting reports and various typos (often at the worst times) leading people to go crazy searching for knowledge from the Golden Age of golf architecture. Rarely, if ever, do courses just disappear, but Quebec has one that did, and it is notable.
Anglo-American Club was designed by Albert Warren Tillinghast (of Bethpage Black, Winged Foot, San Francisco, and for us Canadians, Scarboro fame) in 1922/1923 and has since disappeared with no one able to locate where it went.
Perhaps it was never actually built?
Well, Tillinghast himself, an avid writer, wrote a few pieces on the construction of the course. In a 1922 edition of Golf Illustrated, Tillinghast wrote an article on how “attractive holes may also be built without undue expanse on what appears to the layman as wasteland,” referencing Anglo-American Club, which was said to be built through the difficult rocky land and heavy soils of the Laurentian region of Quebec.
Where exactly was Anglo-American Club?
It was written to be in Lac-de-l’Achigan, Quebec, about an hour northwest of Montreal and about two hours northeast of Ottawa. It was said to be on the shores of the lake, yet nobody has found and traces of it.
Quebec-based Golf Historian Alain Chapnut has spent summers walking around the area looking for the remains of a golf course to no avail.
One of the biggest hurdles to finding Anglo-American Club is the number of holes built is not widely known. Various reports suggest it was 18 holes, but a Tillinghast advertisement lists Anglo-American Club as 27 holes.
Interestingly, Anglo-American Club was referenced in a 1974 USGA piece published for Tillinghast’s resume with no reference to it “No Longer Existing” or anything even indicating it closed.
Maybe the name changed?
In the area, the only golf course that opened within the span of when Tillinghast would have completed the golf course was Club de Golf Shawbridge, a 9 hole course roughly 25 minutes from Lac-de-l’Achigan. But Shawbridge is confirmed to be designed by Kanawaki golf pro Albert Murray, who had a tidy career as an architect himself.
To this day, the whereabouts, architecture style, aesthetic, or anything related to Anglo-American Club is unknown. What we do know, however, is Tillinghast himself was quite proud of Anglo-American Club. In 1924, he wrote the fourth (and final) Recollections of a Golf Course Architect, where he discussed some of his golf courses. He put Anglo-American up next to San Francisco Golf Club, Quaker Ridge and Winged Foot — a handful of his most famous golf courses.
While Anglo-American Club was Mr. Tillinghast’s first introduction to Canada, it would not be his last. He would return to Quebec in 1924 to construct Elm Ridge Golf Club a few kilometers from Royal Montreal Golf Club’s Dixie location, and next door to Montreal International Airport.
In the same year, he visited Scarboro Golf & Country Club to plan his overhaul of the George Cumming design, which would occur over the next couple years.
This is not the only Tillinghast to have gone missing. In Atlanta, The Colony Club is tough to find information on, but it was only open for a single year. Perhaps the same fate that plagues Anglo-American Club? Wherever it was, or is, the answer is unknown, but the mysterious club in the Laurentian region of Quebec only adds to the allure of Canadian Golf.