The Calgary Golf and Country Club

cgccpastureThe Calgary Golf and Country Club’s course beside the Elbow River is the oldest private course in Alberta still being played.

Although the Club was formed in 1897, it wasn’t until 1910 that the membership bought about 100 acres from the CPR and moved from their last temporary course near today’s Elbow Park School.

The new clubhouse and course opened in 1911 with 15 of its proposed 18 holes ready for play. The opening day celebrations and tournament attracted golfers from Fort Macleod to Edmonton.

In 2011 the Club held a 100 Years of Golf by The River Celebration with commemorative parties and a tournament partly played with hickory clubs.

Willie Park, Jr, – The Architect of Today’s Course

Just as a post-WWI boom in golf interest was beginning, the Club hired the Scottish Willie Park, Jr (1864 – 1925) in 1922 to bring its course to modern standard. Today, Park is considered as one of the greatest founding architects of golf courses. For its $1500, the Club received a detailed design for 27 holes, suggested topographical changes and plans for an underground watering system.

The Club completed most of Park’s layout by 1925. The installation of the pumps and watering system, however, proved to be too late for the Club?s team of horses that hauled water as they unfortunately drowned while hauling water from the Elbow River.

Although the Club modified Park’s layout over the years, his design has always been as the fundamental basis of the course. In 2007 a restoration project returned the course to Park’s classic style.

Charlie Hague – The First Club Champion

charliehague

In the Canadian golf world of the early 1900’s, an Alberta golfer of Charlie Hague’s calibre would have received little national recognition for his accomplishments.

Post-WWI competitive golf was synonymous with Eastern Canadian golf. Western golfers were offered no financial compensation for travel when competing in national championships and so chose to stay home where a tournament could be played on a week-end versus the ten days it took to travel and play in the East. But in 1921, Calgary banker Charlie Hague surprised the Easterns and showed all of Canada that the Western provinces had some seriously competitive golfers.

A Dead Stymie At The Canadian Amateur

The 1921 Canadian Amateur was held in Winnipeg, a political concession by the Easterners who preferred to play closer to Toronto and Montreal. Entering as an unknown, Hague, then in his mid-thirties, was the runnerup taking the eventual winner to extra holes, Club Champion 1911, 1912, 1914, 1922, 1923, 1929, 1930 Provincial Champion 1908, 1910, 1912 Canadian Amateur Runner-Up 1921 only losing on the 38th when his opponent laid a dead stymie.

“Hague of Calgary”

Hague of Calgary like his teammate Gillespie has made a name for himself in Canadian golfing annals, The Canadian Golfer magazine admitted. “To Calgary belongs the credit of perfecting his game. He has all the attributes of a really great golfer. He is well deserving of Championship honours.”

An Alberta correspondent added, “The East is beginning to believe that we have players of championship calibre here.”