Sunday, August 2, 2020

The McKellar Golf Course - Part Four (The Hall of Fame)

This is part four of a five part series on the history of the McKellar Golf Club/Course. 
Part one (McKellar Park, club beginnings and the general history) can be read: HERE
Part two (The course layout and club boundaries) can be read: HERE
Part three (The Clubhouse and other buildings) can be read: HERE

Another reminder, for anyone reading this, if you have any old photos, artifacts or anecdotes about the McKellar Golf Course, I would love to hear from you. Please email me at Thank you!

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This fourth part I've called the "Hall of Fame", and is mostly a spot to list all the key figures and champions from McKellar's history, that I was able to piece together. The focus here is on the club pros, the course record holder, the annual men's and women's championship winners, other trophy winners, the full list of hole-in-ones on the course, and a list of all the greenskeepers.

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The full list of Club Professionals at McKellar

1927: Alfred “Freddie” Rogers was the first club pro. He was the former assistant pro at Rivermead. It is unknown where he moved to after his year at McKellar.

1928-1930: Rube Mullen. Formerly with the Hull City Golf Club. Moved to the Gatineau Golf & Country Club.

1931-1933: Ernie Wakelam. Formerly of the Brockville Country Club. His brother Cyril also acted as club pro with him in at least 1931. Moved to Gatineau Country Club in 1934.

Canadian Golfer Magazine, Dec 1930

1934-June 1934: Jimmy Sim. Formerly of the Chaudiere Golf Club. Appears to have resigned suddenly mid-season for reasons unknown. Later appeared as the pro at the Chelsea Club.

June 1934-1935: Bob Ferns. Formerly of the Mississippi Club at Carleton Place.

1936-1937: Frank Mann. Formerly of the Toronto Willowdale Club. He left for the Tecumseh Golf Club after the 1937 season. He had an assistant pro Lionel Brown in 1937.

1938-1940: Earl Stimpson. Formerly of the club at Summerside PEI. His brother Alex Stimpson was also shared pro duties in 1938 at least, and filled in as pro in the fall of 1940 while Earl had an appendectomy. Earl moved to the Chaudiere Golf Club in December of 1940.

1941 (April to July 17, resigned): Tom Dennis. Formerly of the Murray Bay Golf Club in Quebec. In mid-summer he decided to return back to Windsor where he had lived and worked previously.

1941 (after July 17): none?

1942-1943: I can't find this information!

1944-1948:  Ben Kerr (with assistant pro, his son, Alastair Kerr for all/most of the time)

1949: George O’Donoghue (was at Cutten Field Club at Guelph)

1950-1952: Ben Kerr and Alastair Kerr returned. (Alastair may have only been there in 1950, unsure)

Below are a couple of clippings about Wakelam and Mann. The first is a bit of an update provided by Wakelam to Canadian Golfer Magazine after he first moved to McKellar in 1931. In it, Wakelam speaks positively about the course.

Canadian Golfer Magazine, May, 1931.

Ottawa Citizen, October 31, 1972

Ottawa Citizen, May 6, 1955

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The McKellar Course Record 

The course record was set on Thursday July 18th, 1935, when local pro Bobby Alston shot an impressive 64 (six under par).

Ottawa Journal. July 19, 1935.

Alston (no relation to the author) was probably Ottawa's top golfer in the 30s, 40s and 50s. After his death in March of 1973, Eddie MacCabe of the Journal wrote a great story in honour of Alston's Ottawa golfing career:

Ottawa Journal, March 26, 1973

* * *

Club Champions

John Raper Trophy/Cup (Men's Class "A" championship)

Donated by John Raper. Awarded through a championship: "Qualifying Round for club champion in A and B classes. The 16 players with the lowest gross scores to qualify in each class; elimination by match play over 18 holes, except in finals which shall be over 36 holes." First awarded in 1928.

1928 William "Smiling Bill" Smith
1929 William "Smiling Bill" Smith
1930 Rube W.H. Mullen
1931 Roy A. MacDonell (def Bill Williams)
1932 J. E. Caldwell (def Dr. V. H. Craig)
1933 A. A. MacDonald (def. J.R. Claughton)
1934 Claude Boucher
1935 Cliff Wood (def. Sam Gale)
1936 George Carson Jr.
1937 Syd Anderson
1938 John Boles (def Frank Jansen Jr.)
1939 John Boles (def Harley Benson)
1940 J. A. Bergin
1941 Romeo Guenette
1942 unknown or no winner (none on trophy)
1943 unknown or no winner (none on trophy)
1944 S. Bruce Robins*
1945 unknown or no winner (none on trophy)
1946 W. R. Snow
1947 Norman D. Blais (def W. R. Snow)
1948 Norman D. Blais (def G. Cook)
1949 C. O. Duncan
1950 J. A. Marshall
1951 J. A. Murray (def J. McConnell)
1952 Bob McClure (def Vic McConnell)

(*= in 1944, A.L. Turner was added to the Raper Trophy as the champion, but he had won the Sun Life Trophy for the handicap championship. His name must have been added to the Raper Trophy in error)

Bob McClure in 2008 (Flagstick Magazine)
Bob was the final club champion in 1952 and thus kept
the John Raper Cup. He passed away in 2014 at age 81.

Bob McClure's son Dave McClure kindly passed along some great photos of the trophy, as well as the individual trophy made for Bob to keep after his win in 1952:

John Raper Trophy
(courtesy of Dave McClure)

(courtesy of Dave McClure)

(Courtesy of Dave McClure)

1952 McKellar Club Championship trophy
given to Bob McClure
(Courtesy of Dave McClure)

W. H. Dwyer Trophy/Cup (Women's championship)

Donated by President W.H. Dwyer (though Dwyer's name seems to have disappeared from the championship around 1942). First awarded in 1927. It appears you had a leg up if your name was Dorothy.

1927 Uncertain. (E. Hooper, M. Lyon, A.E. Scarfe, M. Edgar were semi-finalists)
1928 Miss Dorothy Harris (Misses Dickson, Riordan, Fitzsimmons in semi-finals)
1929 Miss Dorothy Harris (def Mrs Ray Johnstone)
1930 Miss Dorothy Fitzsimmons (def Miss H. Ferguson)
1931 Miss Dorothy Fitzsimmons (def Miss Edith Day)
1932 Miss Dorothy Fitzsimmons
1933 Mrs G Caulfield (def Miss Dorothy Simmons)
1934 Miss Myrtle Jeans
1935 to 1937 unknown
1938 Miss Dorothy Jansen (def Mrs H F Boyce)
1939 Miss Dorothy Jansen
1940 Miss Dorothy Jansen (def Mrs J F Boyce)
1941 Miss Dorothy Dickson (def Mrs H L Beer)
1942 to 1945 unknown
1946 Mrs George D Foote (def Miss B. Roger)
1947 Miss M. Taylor (def Mrs. M Condie)
1948 Miss M. Taylor (def Mrs. F McKeowan)
1949 unknown
1950 Mrs Eva Howard (def Mrs Muriel Condie)
1951 Dorothy Greene (def Dorothy Cloutier)
1952 unknown

Ottawa Journal
September 2, 1929

Ottawa Citizen, August 24, 1940.

These were the two main trophies given out over the years at McKellar. Others included:

* The T. Bert Cole Trophy: Given for the men's handicap championship (for golfers with a handicap of 18 strokes or more). First awarded in 1928. Winners include J. E. Shepherd (1932), J. N. Salter (1934), F. C. Elford (1941), and J. A. Murray (1951).

* The G. F. Hodgins Trophy: Given for the ladies' handicap championship (for golfers with a handicap of 22 strokes or more). First awarded in 1928. Winners include Miss R. LeRoy (1932), Miss Myrtle Jeans (1934), and Audrey Boyce (1951).

* The George Carson Trophy (aka the Carson Cup): Given to the ladies' two-ball champion in 1929, appears to have been changed to the ladies' two-ball foursome champions by 1931. First awarded in 1929. Winners include Misses D. Argue and E. Hearnden (1932) and Misses H. Younghusband and N. Pelton (1934).

* The Ahearn Cup: Given to the ladies' two-ball foursome in 1929, then to the mixed two-ball foursome champions 1931-1934, and then men's two-ball foursome by 1935. First awarded 1929.
Winners include Miss J. M. Campion and A. A. MacDonald (1932), Miss H. Younghusband and G. P. Connell (1934), Mrs. D. McKeowan and G. Graham (1948), and Eva Howard and R. Hyde (1951).

* The Cochrane Shield: An award for an "approaching and putting" competition. Awarded from 1931 to at least 1934. Winners included Mrs M. Ferguson (1934).

* The Queale Shield: An award for a "driving competition". Awarded from 1931 to at least 1934. Winners include Miss N. Pelton (1934).

* The Sun Life Trophy: Originally given to the 72-hole champion, later was given to a handicap division champion. First awarded in 1934. Winners include George Leafloor (1934), A. Turner (1944), W. R. Snow (1946) and N. Blais (1948).

* The McKechnie Cup: 72-hole championship trophy. First awarded in 1939. Winners include R. Corrigan (1941) and D. M. McKeown (1951).

* Reid Trophy: Another handicap tournament with playdowns. First awarded 1939. Winners include R. Corrigan (1941).

There were other trophies/shields that popped up over time, but those were the ones that seem to have lasted the longest. I wonder where all these trophies and shields have ended up??

Photo of original McKellar Golf Club
trophy awarded in 1930 to the "Mixed 2 ball
foursome" winners Miss N. Pelton and
Edwin Swimmings.
(Courtesy of Catherine Swimmings)

* * *

The Hole-in-One Club

By my count there was a total of 13 hole-in-ones achieved at McKellar Park over the course's 26 years of operation. The newspaper would always report on local aces, as they are obviously quite rare.

So here is the list of those who accomplished the feat, and any details I could find. A couple of the stories are pretty ironic/cool:

* Thursday July 12, 1928 – The confirmed first hole-in-one at McKellar – John R. Cook (of 88 Eccles Street) at the par three 16th hole, 118 yards “a mashie shot from the tee. The ball bounded high in the air, dropped a few feet from the cup and rolled in.”

* Monday July 7, 1930 – John Edgar, at the 12th hole. Edgar was 79 years old. “Using a mashie, Mr. Edgar dropped his ball dead to the pin and it went down.”

* Wednesday July 14, 1937 – Frank Mann, the club pro, at the 211-yard 3rd hole. “drove to the edge of the green with a No. 2 iron and his ball rolled in to the cup...without touching the pin”, noted the Citizen. He was playing with Frank Jansen Sr., W.G. Smith and Frank Jansen Jr. Interestingly, the scores on the hole were 1,2,3, and 4 for the foursome. It was Mann’s first ace of his career.

* Date unknown in 1940 – Amby Kiefl hit a hole in one on the 12th. (His sister Ruth would get one in 1942)

* Monday September 22, 1941 – Mrs. W. H. Harrington hit a hole in one at the 12th hole. She had been playing golf only since the start of the 1941 season.

* Thursday July 2, 1942 – Mrs. T. MacClure Fraser of 72 Clarendon Avenue, at the 12th hole. “She drove 130 yards using a No. 5 iron.”

* Friday July 24, 1942 – Ted Hurley at the 12th hole. 130 yards using a nine iron. “Just a few days ago Hurley came within inches of achieving the feat. Yesterday his ball hit the green a few feet in front and trickled into the cup.” His first ace in three years.

* Wednesday September 2, 1942 – Ruth Kiefl, her first hold in one, on the 12th. It was also her first year playing golf. She used a two iron. She was also the sister of Amby Kiel. McKellar hole-in-one hitter from 1940. Wrote the newspaper: “They say that lightning never strikes twice in the same place but the same can not be said for the Kiefl family. Two years ago brother Amby, well known Ottawa athlete, sank an ace on the same hole”

* Tuesday July 11, 1944 – Cpl. J. Bolander hit a hole-in-one on the 130 yard 12th hole with a 5 iron. Bolander was stationed in Ottawa with the Canadian Army.

* Monday June 24, 1946 – 15-year old Ronald Going, a caddie at the Royal Ottawa golf Club, hit a hole-in-one at the 12th hole, while playing with two other caddies and a Journal reporter. He was using a 7 iron. He hit a 97 for his full 18-hole round. Going lived at 236 Breezehill Avenue, and was a student at St. Malachy's School in Hintonburg.

Photo and Headline from
the Ottawa Journal
June 25, 1946

* First week of July 1949 – Jack Beauchamp hit the first ace in several years – at the 206 yard, par 3 sixth hole using a four iron. He had also hit a hole-in-one the previous year at the Restigouche Club in Campbellton, NB.

* Saturday May 5, 1951 – Andy Anka, well known local merchant, and the father of Paul Anka, sank his tee shot on the 130-yard 12th hole using a five iron to get the first hole-in-one of his life (and perhaps his only one?)

Ottawa Citizen, May 7, 1951

* Tuesday July 10, 1951 – Jack Twerden used a 7 iron at the 12th hole to get a hole in one, seemingly the final hole-in-one in McKellar's history

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The list of Greenskeepers at McKellar Golf Club

1927 to 1928: Some evidence points to Samuel Bourgeau being possibly the first greenskeeper at McKellar. He was employed by the club in 1928 and 1929 in some regard, and may have been tended to the greens in the early years before the club brought in Unsworth.

1929 to 1938: Tom Unsworth. Possibly Unsworth was there prior to 1929, but there is no record of it. One source noted that Unsworth had built McKellar course, so it is possible, but all records of him living on the course and confirmed working there begin in mid-late 1929.

1939: William R. Sharkey

1940 to 1946: A. John Mohns

1947 to 1952: Frank H. Brooks

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Thanks for reading part four!

Next up is the final part, Part Five - the sale of the golf course property (including lots of "what ifs" of what it nearly became) and the transition to the residential subdivision that we know today.

(To close, below is a random clipping, from the Citizen May 2, 1940, showing a full list of a season's events at McKellar Golf Course during one of its peak years):

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