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Souvenir History of Bruce Beach/The Golf Club

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History of The Golf Club

The Royal Game of Golf at Bruce Beach is inseparably connected with the name of Rev. Robert Martin, now Dr. Martin of First United Church, St. Thomas, Ontario.

Mr. Martin erected a cottage in 1903, which he named "Couthie Brae", at present owned and occupied by Mr. Thomas Kennedy. When he told Mr. Anderson of his location the latter said, "Well your location is a good one, but don't you think you are getting away too far from the pump?" In those days the McCosh pump in the lane did duty for all the dwellers at the Beach. But like McTavish, who claimed ancestry before The Flood, when he was asked to explain how his name did not appear among those who had gone into the Ark, explained the omission by asking, "Did you ever know a McTavish that didn't have a boat of his own?" Even in this remote past, Dr. Martin had visions of a pump of his own.

Presidents of the Golf Club, Dr. R. Martin, Dr. D.T.L. McKerroll, Mr. Fred Yates

One afternoon almost all the Beachers were engaged in throwing horseshoes in front of the Anderson cottage, when Miss Margaret McInnes said to Mr. Martin, "When are you going to show us that game of yours?" Mr. Martin immediately went for his clubs, and the whole party, composed of the Munns, McInnes', Andersons, Chapmans, and Martins, went out to what is now the second tee. The whole party arranged themselves along the second fairway, some proposing to catch the ball. Mr. Martin took his mashie, and sent the ball high over the heads of the admiring spectators. This was the first ball driven on the Bruce Beach Golf grounds, and so far as known at present, the first golf ball driven in Bruce County.

The above named families, with the addition of the family of Rev. P. J. McLaren, immediately became pupils of Mr. Martin in the study and practice of golf.

One evening Rory McLeod came to see Ivir. Martin, and said he would like to take up the Game of Golf. Mr. ,Martin told him he would be pleased to instruct him if he would get a set of clubs. Rory's countenance fell, and a look of disappointment was plainly visible in his face, as he said, "Oh I thought you had sticks enough for everybody." Rory did not become a golf enthusiast.

Dr. J.L. Murray - Sec.-Treas. of the Golf Club
Mr. C. W. Yates, First Honorary Member and Generous Patron of the Golf Club
The Club House


In 1903 Mr. Martin laid out a six holed course, One at each end of what is now the Frank Tout property, and one at each end of the two sections of the McCosh property. This constituted the golf links for four years, but up to the middle of 1907 there was no golf organization.

On the 5th of August of that year a meeting was held in Mr. Martin's cottage for the, purpose of organizing a Golf Club. By this time the population of the Beach had materially increased. At this meeting the followi11g officers were elected:. President, Rev. Robert Martin; Vice President, Mr. Duncan Munn, Secretary-Treasurer, Rev. J. W. McNamara. The Rev. P. J. McLaren and Miss Margaret McInnes were elected to form the executive.

Thus was launched the first Bruce Beach Golf Club. The name decided on was the name it proudly bears today. The annual fee was placed at 25c per member. The Golf course was re-arranged into a nine holed course by Mr. Martin and l."lr., McLaren with suggestions from Rev. David Ritchie, who spent a few days at Mr. Mar¬tin's cottage that summer.

The number and names of the holes on the course were as follows: No.1-The Juniper, 80 yards; No. 2¬The Pit, 211 yards; No.3-The Basswood, 214 yards; No.4-The Roadside, 193 yards; No. S.....,....The Kopje, 93 yards; Np. 6-The Maples, 206 yards; No.7-The Poplars, 383 yards; No. 8-The Mulberry, 221 yards and No. 9-The Hawthorn, 169 yards.

, A tournament was arranged, 300 score cards ordered and prizes offered as follows: The Handicap competition-First prize-one Golf ball, "The Colonel':; Second prize-one Golf ball, "The Corporal"; Approaching and putting--:-First prize-one "Corporal" Golf ball for each event; Ladies'Approaching and putting-one "Corporal" golf ball for each event. A fee of ]Oc was charged each person entering the contests. In the Approaching and Putting contest of the following year 1"1r. l\lcKerroll and M1'. McNamara tied. As this was not played off at the end of the season, Ivl1'. l'vlartin generously donated a goLf ball to each.

From the organization in 1907 up to 1912 the annual fee \yas 2Sc per member but in this year an advance was made to SOc per member, ladies half price, and 2Sc per \veek for casual players.

The work of preparing the grounds each season devolved upon the members, as the following item from the minutes of 1910 indicates, "It was agreed' that all available members repair to the grounds onC'the f6Howing day at 10 a.m. with a view to putting them in better condition."

In 1913 Bob McCosh is paid $1.50 for work done on the course, and Frank Tout is paid $1.00 rent for the part of the course situated on his property, and Bob McCosh $2.00 for the use of his flats. In 1914 the Golf Club took action to organize a Tennis Club, and after looking over the grounds decided to prepare and h~y out two courts on Stephen Tout's property, and Mr. McKerroll was instructed to interview Mr. Tout, and report to the secretary. Two courts were laid out, one near the centre of Mr. Tout's property, and one at the south end near the stile over the wire fence. But though much work was put on the latter it was never used. A fee of 25c was to be charged for member¬ ship.

While few records have been preserved o'f meetings of the c.!ub in the early years, one is recalled that was held at the McCosh pump in the lane, at which the foHow¬ing members were present: Mr. D. T. L. McKerroll, Mr. •"!iifftl:• ._...

W. A. Bremner, Dr. Richard Davidson, Mr. N. A. Mac¬Eachern, Mr. M. McArthur, and others.

Mr. McKerroll was elected president and for a number of years held that. important position, with M1'. j'vlacIachern as sec.-treasurer.

Among the subjects discussed was the erection of signs and barricades to protect the grounds from visitors to the Beach and cottagers driying their buggies and autos oyer the grounds used by the golfers, and it \vas decided to erect a barricade at the foot of the hill, to protect the green at that point and the fairway extending . north to Steve Tout's fence, which was becoming tracked by vehicle wheels. The barricade was accordingly erected, and on a number'of occasions torn down, one individual declaring that he would drive where he pleased, ashe was here before the golfers, though the Club was at that time paying rent to Bob McCosh for the use of the property. One of the members played the part of the historic "Dutch Uncle" to this individual, and admon¬ished him in no uncertain terms, that such conduct would not be tolerated.

The growth of the Golf Club may be judged from the increase in receipts. For the first five years, up till 1912, the annual receipts ranged in the vicinity of $7.00, then years later they had increased to $133.60. In the present year, 1933, they have increased to more than $500.00 . In 1923 the annual fee was increased from 50c to $1.00.

In this year the Lady Golfers believing with Byron, -"That man to man so oft unjust, Is always so to women,"¬ decided to form a Golf Club of their own which they did, with Miss Agnes Hamilton, President; Miss M. Dob¬son, Vice President; Miss Mary Anderson, Sec.-Treas., and Miss Eloise Baird, Mrs. McKerroll and Miss Jean Martin to form the executive. The fees were the same . as those paid by the men.

A discussion arose as to "whether all their funds should be given to the Golf Association. On motion it was decided to give one half. the gross proceeds to that institutiop. The club also decided that their executive wouldI co-operate with the executive of the Men's Club. During the four or Jive years of their separate exist¬ence the Ladies' Golf Club carried on its Own Tournament events, purchased a valuable cup to be given to the win¬nel' in the Annual Contest, ",.. hich is still doing duty, but if any lady \\,On it for' three successive years it was to become her property. The Club also gave prizes for all the other events in the contest. The Club also brought before the General Executive rules for the protection of . children on the links, and named two days per week when children under 16 years were to have the free run of the course from 1 to 3 o'clock, providing they were accompanied by a parent or adult. These suggestions became incorporated in the rules and regulations of the Golf Association. They also provided the refreshments at the annual meeting.

In 1926, like Noah's dove, the ladies returned to their former ark of safety,' and were given equal repre¬sentation On the General Executive. Byron again expres¬ses the sentiments of the returning wayfarers.

"'Tis .w•eet to bear tbe watcb dog's h,onest bark. BClydeep lIloutbedll'elc017le .. as u'e drau' near home. 'Tis SIl'eef to knOll' there is CII} e,re u.'ill mark ti 0111' coming.. and look brigbter 'll'hen we come."

In 1923 through the good offices of Dr. Drum• mond and Dr. Sedgewick/ a secondhand horse mower \vas procured from the Ancaster Golf Club for whid1 they received the thanks of the Association at the annual meeting. In 1924 Mr. Frank Tout notified the club that he would require $10.00 rental for the use of his property.

This amount was given him with a promised increase. and the Club' felt that Mr. McCosh should receive the same amount, which \VaS accordingly given.

At the close of the season Mr. Tout plowed up the field occupied by the Golf Club, and the following yea,: the course was extended throughout the width of NIr. Stephen Tout's property. But returning in 1926, the floods of that spring had done so much damage, and the ground was so wet, that the Steve Tout part of the course bad to be abandoned.

It was then thatMr. D. E. Kennedy and Dr. Gerald \X1ilson purchased the McCosh property between the road and the lake front, comprising some 40 acres. for $3000.00 for golf purposes.

Mr. McCosh expressed a desire that the cottagers behind his property should be owners of the property sold. This was readily agreed to by the purchasers, and the cottagers were given the opportunity of fanning themselves into a joint stock Company, and taking over the property within a year. To this proposition the cot¬tagers willingly agreed. A Company was formed, and a •charter obtained. The name inserted in the charter was• The McCosh-Grove, Limited. The price paid was $3000.00, and the property placed at the disposal of the Golf Club, as a permanent playground. This circumstance, together with the accession of a number of enthusiastic golfers into the landscape, infused a new life and activity into the Club, that to this day is manifestly operative. The assistance of Mr. Ritchie was sought, and a new course of nine holes laid out. A ney.' horse mower at a cost of $250.00 was purchased. Boxes were set up at each of the Tees, and benches procur::d for the conven¬ience and comfort of the players, while the valuable prizes donated by Mr. C. W. Yates, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Young and Mr. D. E. Kennedy, put a new enthusiasm into the annual Tournaments. With each succeeding year improvements were made on the course. Trees and The improvements made at the first tee were particularly One of the pleasant features of our Bruce Beach life noticeable.

Steps \vere put in the bank to assist the is the annual meeting of the Golf Club. The distribu¬players to ascend• to the first green; and to descend from tion of prizes won in the Tournament and the social hour the 8th tee-a decided convenience-but the most wel¬ I enjoyed afterwards over the teacups has become one 'Ofcome convenience was the steps put in the hillside in the the most enjoyable events of the season that we spendascent from the 2nd green to the 3rd tee. \',lith the assist¬ together during our annual holiday.

ance of the "wire fence, the hardy mountaineer could reach I" the summit with the minimum of fatigue, and feel like I Nor can we forget to mention the part that the singing. r i" lady members of the club and their friends have played In 1932 the annual clues of the club were revised as follows: Per day SOc;. per week $2.00; per month or season $5.00. Cottage owners, and their families :md guests were allowed a discount of SO~k on the daily and weekly rates, and 40~;-on the monthly and season rates. But the climax of advancement was reached in 1933 wben two valuable cups were given to the club both beautifully inscribed. One by Mr. C. W. Yates to be . contested for at the annual Tournament, and one by Mr.

It in adding interest and eclat to the sociai functions of the club which were held when visiting clubs played there with our club. At a good deal of inconvenience to themselves the visiting clubs \,'ere royally entertained and went away with unstinted praise and good wishes for the kind and gracious ladies who had been their host~ esses when they visited Bruce Beach.

'\(Te cannot close this short history to date without calling attention to the spirit of friendship and good will . that has characterized the members of this club. In fact the same spirit has always been' a marked feature of Bruce Beach life and our sincere hope is that as the years go b~' the same spirit may characterize the coming genera¬ tions as has prevailed among the founders 'lnd early dwel¬lers uf this beautiful sLImmer resort. '

Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time.
Judge West's Cottage