There is ground suitable for the pursuit of golf. And there is not.
The Glen Lawrence Golf Club possesses the former.
Established in 1955, at the time there were very few golfing options in the Kingston region, in fact the private Cataraqui Golf and Country Club was the main choice that did not require a long drive.
The timing was perfect for the opening of a public golf club and on the east side of the Limestone City the land existed that was perfectly suited to game.
Just off old Highway #2 a parcel of land ran up and down a valley, with a high access point ideal for a clubhouse. This is where the Harvey family brought to life what was to become a Kingston institution.
The family looked to the already established Cataraqui club and their pro, Richard H. “Dick” Green, for guidance. The adept Green would eventually have a hand in designing a number of golf courses but few could argue that Glen Lawrence was not one of his best works.
Long after his death people often refer to it as the best layout in the area.
Since 1980, the golf club has been in the hands of the Ferguson family. Ernie Ferguson, who was a successful businessman in the Toronto region, purchased the club as an investment. He has involved many of his family members in its operations through the years. They continue the tradition of the original owners in having a golf course that is a joy to see, a treat to play, and always makes you feel welcome.
Celebrating 60 years of existence this year (and there will an appropriate birthday party and other related activities), the club is proud of their past but at the same time is embracing and preparing for their future.
Long ago it was a year round facility. The winters featured a snowmobile club and cross country skiing across their tumbling property. Nearer to the clubhouse a tow rope was even in place for those taking advantage of the steep embankment south of the clubhouse for snowy pursuits.
It was a community hub, and now, although more focused on temperate activities, the goal remains. The semi-private club is doing all they can to fill the needs of their 325 members, guests, and public players.
“That’s a lot of what we built our business plan a round, the social aspect,” says PGA Professional Doug Wark, the Director of Operations, who came on board in 2014 and is leading the way toward a modernization of the operation.
Glen Lawrence President and CEO Cheryl Ferguson knows that in order to be a successful operation they have to take a well-rounded look at the needs of their clientele. “I want to always be encouraging people to come here for social reasons, not just golf. It’s what we want. We want all our neighbors around here to think of this as ‘the social place’ to be.”
While, like any business, there have been many ebbs and flows in the past, the ownership wants to put themselves in the best position possible to move forward.
It’s been an extensive process – one involving a lot of self-examination and planning during transition. “We’ve set some really good building blocks to do things right,” says Ferguson. “We’re going forward with really strong values, goals and plans.”
Those plans include greater programming, a strong commitment to the food & beverage operation, and taking the customer’s service experience to a higher level.
She adds, “There are a whole bunch of golf courses out there now – with tee and greens and grass in between but we have to ask ourselves why do people come to Glen Lawrence? We have to give them the right reasons.”
One of those motivations they are making a focal point will be the 6623 yard golf course that is the heart of their business. After a 2014 where they invested heavily in upgrades less visible to the customers, 2015 will be the start of program to address their 18 holes.
“We are improving the course for consistency and standards that will be better on a day to day basis,” says Wark about an extensive investment they are making in projects, equipment, and staffing to better take care of their parkland.
“Customers will not only enjoy the great layout but the factors of playability with the plans we have in place,” he adds.
Embracing the statement that a golf course should be interesting over anything else, Dick Green accomplished as much with Glen Lawrence. Playing to its name, at times it can easily remind you of a mature rolling parkland course in the home of golf, Scotland. Think Gleneagles versus the Old Course for those that can relate.
The course flows from the first tee down into a valley where it plays for most of the opening nine, only to rise back to the clubhouse for the approach into the 9th green. Through those nine holes you face a wide variety of holes, green shapes and styles, and other tests that keep your attention.
Once you reach the tenth tee, the real challenge begins. You ability to adjust to uneven lies will be tested with the first six holes on the back nine tumbling up and down the valley. Elevation changes approach 70 feet on some holes.
Like many of the best courses you play, taking on Glen Lawrence for the sake of a low score will require as much strategy as brute force. Knowing where to place the ball to leave the easier approaches and putts is key. Once you get out of position high numbers loom. The ability to be steady over a four foot putt that may curve half that distance will also serve you well on several greens.
That said, a set of five tees make the course, which is often marked by the intervention of wildlife, a pleasant walk for even the most novice of golfer.
No matter what path you take to reach the elevated 18th green, golfers at “The Glen” have consolation waiting for them back at the clubhouse and The Glen Grill & Patio.
The well chosen location for the building yielded one of the greatest assets for the club – the expansive outdoor deck. It is home to regular Friday night socials that attract throngs who come to listen to good music, eat, have a few drinks and share a few laughs.
The patio overlooks the entire golf course below, and post round, with a beverage in hand and the sun falling slowly into the evening sky, it makes a remarkably peaceful place to spend some time.
She may be biased but Cheryl Ferguson fully appreciates the scene their deck provides and one that, like their layout, seems to linger with golfers long after they depart. “Leave golf out of it, there is no place in Kingston where you can eat and have that view. It’s a wow every time and I don’t ever take that for granted.”
Privately Owned – Ferguson Family
Assistant General Manager
Director of Golf/PGA Professional
Pro Shop Manager
Food & Beverage Manager
Black – 6623/72.0/123
Blue – 6351/70.8/122
White (Men) – 5842/67.9/116
White (Ladies) – 5842/72.7/128
Red/White (Men) – 5409/66.1/114
Red/White (Ladies) – 5409/70.6/123
Red (Men) – 5075/64.6/112
Red (Ladies) – 5075/68.8/119
Average Hole Lengths (Black Tees)
Par 3’s – 178 yards
Par 4’s – 399 yards
Par 5’s – 508 yards
Glen Lawrence Golf Club
2022 Highway 2 East