Cranbrook Golf Club marks 100 years

Club recognized by Golf Canada for 100 years of tradition in Cranbrook.

Blair Armitage

Blair Armitage

The Cranbrook Golf Club officially celebrated it’s 100th anniversary over the weekend as a representative from Golf Canada recognized the centennial at the club championship on Saturday evening.

Blair Armitage, the region director, Membership Development, Western Canada for Golf Canada, presented Cranbrook Golf Club president Les MacDonald with a scroll to mark the occasion.

Armitage addressed the club membership by reading from a letter written by Golf Canada president Paul McLean.

“On behalf of Golf Canada, it is my pleasure to express congratulations to the executive and membership of the Cranbrook Golf Club in celebrating the club’s 100th anniversary,” read Armitage.

“Reaching such a milestone speaks to the success and growth of golf in this country over the past 100 years—a growth that can be attributed to the collective efforts of fine clubs, such as the Cranbrook Golf Club.

“It is clubs like Cranbrook that honour golf traditions and foster development of the game that have helped our sport reach the level of respect and prominence that it now holds in Canada.”

The scroll will be on display in the Founder’s Room at the back of the club.

After the ceremony, Armitage noted just how unique it is to have a golf club in operation for 100 years.

“A lot of golf courses, the establish themselves even earlier than this one, but they didn’t stay, they didn’t maintain themselves,” Armitage said. “They were developed into something else or whatever, so the question of how unique it is—it’s very unique that the club actually maintains it’s integrity, maintains itself as a golf club body for 100 years.”

Though the actual golf course has had a couple facelifts over the years, the club itself was formed over 100 years ago in 1915.

On April 6, 1915, a group of Cranbrook residents met at City Hall to discuss forming a nine-hole golf course in the city. An executive was set up and the members donated towards financing the club, as well as donating supplies such as lumber for the clubhouse.

The original course was built on the land where the Tamarack Centre is now situated. The first tee-off on hole one had to be played across the highway. The clubhouse was also on the opposite side of the highway to the course. Later that was changed as the clubhouse was moved closer to the hillside and the first hole tee-off brought along with it.

The course closed in 1948, leaving Cranbrook without a course until the new one at the present location was up and running in 1951.

However, details on the closure are not well documented, and play did continue at least into 1949.

In 1915, when the Cranbrook Gold Course was getting going, there was another course already in operation, the Kootenay Golf Club of Cranbrook. That began operating in 1904 and was located in Slaterville.

In 1920, the Cranbrook Golf Club purchased 111 acres of land in the now Tamarack Mall area and laid out the nine hole course.

By 1938, the Club had listed the asset value of the course at $5,800 with a net profit of $132.79.

In 1946 negotiations had begun with BC Lands for 170 acres for a new golf course in the form of a grant.

A year later a public meeting called for a proposed new community golf course east of the city, where the Cranbrook Gold Course is currently. A second meeting two months later outlined the proposal: Land could be purchased for $280 plus $10 for a provincial grant. The estimated cost of the course was $15,000.

Three years of manual labour and donated cat time from the city was put into the course and Dr. Reid Geddes was instrumental in getting the work done.

At the end of 1951 the tax sale of the Cranbrook Golf Course went through and later in 1952 the Old Golf Course was sold to the City Dairy for $12,000.

In 1953, the new clubhouse was planned and the next year it was ready for use.

It was in 1972 that another nine holes were approved. The construction this time was done by machinery rather than manual labour and the new holes opened July 15, 1973.

A year later the club decided that it needed an addition for the clubhouse, which was officially opened on 1975. In 1988 the club replaced equity certificates with membership certificates, since not every golfer was required to have one.

With files from Arne Petryshen