Thompson Society Technical Guides 

Stanley PuttingPublished by The Stanley Thompson Society

About these guides: The Society has developed the Guides over a period of years to act as helpful tools in the restoration of Stanley Thompson golf courses. They are intended only for those involved in club governance such as Directors, management, committee members and members at large.

The Guides are not instructions for architects, superintendents, engineers, or other professionals. They reinforce the Society’s guiding principle which is:

Dedicated to the preservation of Stanley Thompson courses through education.

The Donald Ross Society has published this statement from Ross:

"When it comes to course renovations and restoration, too many of today’s architects have been more concerned with imposing their own style rather than enhancing the virtues of the old layouts.”

Stanley wrote this in correspondence to a client about the role of an architect versus amateurs:
" ... whether you realize it or not, the next few months are when it should be watched closely. There might be those with more enthusiasm than knowledge who would advise a Golf Architect is an unnecessary piece of expense at this stage of the development ... and guard lest we be led down the Primrose Path by enthusiastic but well meaning amateurs.

"I am coming around the end of March, and will spend three or four weeks during seeding time supervising same and flashing the bunkers and greens. This will put the Course beyond the tampering stage as regards the architecture.”

Preservation, or restoration, requires a dedicated team of greenkeepers, committees and management to ensure agreed-to objectives stay the course.



Stanley Thompson Technical Guides PhotosThe booklet is 8.5 x 11 inches, spiral bound. It is 70 pages and is illustrated in colour throughout with historic and contemporary photographs along with illustrations. Mostly of Thompson’s courses, they demonstrate various principles. 


A comprehensive listing of the Technical Guides content can be found on the previous page.

Section descriptions


Includes a letter from the Past President of the Donald Ross Society; a review of the Society’s founding principles and its past and ongoing work; a note about the authors stating ... "the authors are architects or superintendents who have direct hands-on experience with specific subject matter; others have been involved with various golf club matters on Committees, Chair of Green Committees or as Directors and Presidents”; and a comment from Dr. Geoffrey Cornish.

Section 1: Principles

Essays about the rationale for restoration; a review of classic golf course restoration including descriptions of Thompson’s work and the current state of older courses; a description of his basic design principles.

Section 2: Assessment

This section tells how to fact-find through established methods and sources; a description of playing surfaces - from tees through to greens; information about bunkers and mounding; and trees on a golf course and how to handle them.

Section 3: Planning

An informative section dealing with communicating with club membership; how to build a team; strategic planning; selecting an architect; a critical must-read part about environmental concerns; explanation and objectives of a master plan.

Section 4: Restoration

Considerations regarding bunkers and greens; how to manage trees; the tendering and construction process; the various phases of construction.

Section 5: Reference

Profiles of the authors; further reading material; bibliography and credits.

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Thompson Society Technical Guides (Volume I)

  • Foreword Gerald W. Stratford, President Donald Ross Society
  • Purpose: About these guides
  • Society Matters: About the Society
  • Contributors: About the authors
  • Comment: About Stanley Thompson: Dr. Geoffrey Cornish

Section 1 – Principles

  • 1.1 Rationale for Restoration
  • 1.2 Classic golf course restoration
  • 1.3 Thompson design principles

Section 2 – Assessment

  • 2.1 Fact-finding
  • 2.2 Playing surfaces (tees, fairways, rough, greens)
  • 2.3 Bunkers/ mounding
  • 2.4 About Trees

Section 3 – Planning

  • 3.1 Process and member package
  • 3.2 Building a team
  • 3.3 Strategic Planning
  • 3.4 Selecting an architect
  • 3.5 Environmental concerns  
  • 3.6 Master planning process

Section 4 – Restoration

  • 4.1 Bunker considerations
  • 4.2 Green considerations
  • 4.3 Managing trees
  • 4.4 Tendering, construction and staging
  • 4.5 Construction phases

Section 5 – Reference

  • 5.1 Author profiles
  • 5.2 Further reading
  • 5.3 Bibliography
  • 5.4 Credits


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Stanley Thompson Technical Guides Testimonials"Yes, indeed, I received the STS Technical Guide. Very nice! I wish I had such a document for other architects."
James R. Hansen, Professor of History,  Auburn University, Alabama; biographer of Neil Armstrong; designated biographer of Robert Trent Jones

"Thank you for the Technical Guide and Thompson Musings. I have read thru each once, but will now study them. My initial reaction is that they are inspired."
Dr. Geoffrey S. Cornish, associate architect with Stanley Thompson, Past President of ASGCA and Honoured Member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame

"What a fabulous compendium of valuable insight andbeautifully presented as well."
Gerald Stratford, Past President, Donald Ross Society

"I have been meaning to thank you for sending alongthe booklet. Congratulations on a very fine work." Dr. Jamie Harris, Medical doctor, author, and a Thompson historian, Regional STS Director, Saskatchewan

"Beautiful. Thanks much for forwarding this". 
Cecelia Paine, Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (Landscape Architecture), University of Guelph

"Yes, indeed, I received the STS Technical Guide. Very nice! I wish I had such a document for other architects." 
James R. Hansen, Professor of History,  Auburn University, Alabama; biographer of Neil Armstrong; designated biographer of Robert Trent Jones

"They were worth the wait. Well done!!!!!!!!!!!"
Dick Kirkpatrick, master course shaper and architect

"Congratulations. They are excellent."
Jim Barclay, author and Honoured Member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame

"I'm in receipt of the Thompson Society Technical Guides ... I think the booklet looks great. My congratulations."
Jeff Mingay, authority on classic golf courses, author and architect


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