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The Free Press

Thursday, July 5, 2018 Page A11

HONOURING THE PAST, WELCOMING THE FUTURE Fernie Golf Club 1918 - 2018 Celebrating 100 Years of Golf

Centennial Celebrations - July 3-7, 2018

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The Free Press

Fernie Golf Club 1918 - 2018

Honouring the Past, Welcoming the Future Fernie Golf Club Centennial Celebrations Live

Saturday July 7th, 2018 - 1:00pm A special Fernie Golf Club 100 Year Open House with Free Family events

RED GIR·LUnveiling Fernie Golf Club’s new historic exhibit Music

· A free 5-hole golf round, clubs available

· Swing old fashion Hickory Golf Clubs on a Sand Green at the 19th Hole

· Time Capsule Ceremony · Free Family Golf Games · Golf Course Cart Tour · BBQ Dinner and Ceremony

Free Golf

$10 BBQ Tickets available at the Pro Shop 250.423.7773

The Fernie Golf Club is pleased to support Elk Valley Hospice through its Centennial Celebrations


The Free Press

Thursday, July 5, 2018 Page A13

Honouring the Past, Welcoming the Future

A 100-year Golfing Legacy T

he beginning of a 100-year golfing legacy began in Fernie in 1918. The determination of committed golfers, showing tenacity and perseverance, has created a legacy that endures today and will continue into the future.

Looking for a Summer Pastime

The original course layout was on the land where Prentice Park is today, with a spur line of the Great Northern Railway forming the north boundary. However, in the spring of 1921, W.R Wilson built a new fairway, at his own expense, and it was decided the club could build the others.

Looking for a summer pastime, a group of Fernie Curling Club executives met in early 1918 at the legal offices of Herchmer & Martin to discuss the formation of a golf club and course at the north end of town. A committee formed to lay out the course and, together with volunteers and donations totalling $10, work was begun. By July 1918, work was completed at the cost of $500. The following month the first golf match was held with Sandy Watson and R.M. Young defeating Alan Graham and Sherwood Herchmer.

The first 9-hole layout was shifted across the tracks to an area used for grazing cattle. The property was owned by the Crows Nest Pass Coal Company and the club agreed to pay the sum of $30 in lieu of grazing fees. To this day, the Fernie Golf

MEMBERS OF FIRST BOARD President – Alan Graham Vice-President – R.M. Young Secretary/Treasurer – Sandy Watson Executive – Sherwood Herchmer, Jas McLean, E. Daniels, Thomas Prentice and E.K. Stewart.

New Fairways

The Fernie Golf Club minute book from 1928 outlines the “full country club priviledges” which included both green fees and tennis fees, when the club was amalgamated with the Fernie Tennis Club

From the first course layout in 1918/19 to today, the Fernie Golf Club fairway views feature the valley’s spectacular mountain scenery Club still operates on land owned by the company. A 100-year lease agreement was established in the early 1970s, with a covenant stipulating

that the club must continue to provide affordable golfing opportunities for the residents of the valley.

Improving the Golf Experience From the 1930s through to the 1960s, the club was devoted to maintaining and upgrading the course despite a constant struggle with dwindling finances and tiring equipment. Water was piped to several fairways and the early greens were made of different mixes of sand, sawdust and used oil, collected from local garages. Eventually sand greens replaced the mixture, and although grass greens would not come to fruition until 1968, the club continued to upgrade the course. Improvements included new mats, new alignment of holes, nets along the river to prevent ball loss, privies out on the course, and foot bridges over creeks. Volunteers carried out most of the work; however, the club was able to continually employ a greenskeeper through these years.

In the early 1930s the newly designed course provided golfers with various challenges including creeks and roughs

From these humble beginnings to today’s high quality course, the Fernie Golf Club and its members have strived to continually grow and develop the facility and its services. That commitment to accessible quality golf promises to be continued into the next 100 years. Course fairways traversed creeks, banks and groves of trees to test golfers’ skill

Congratulations on your 100th Anniversary! Bravo! Hwy 3 near Starbucks & Boston Pizza 9am-11pm every day 250-423-6522

Bridges and pathways were built and created by volunteer club members to help the flow of play

Congratulations to Fernie Golf Club Fernie Mountain Lodge 1622 7 Ave, Fernie 250-423-5500 Toll Free: 1-866-423-5566

on your 100th Anniversary!

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The Free Press

Honouring the Past, Welcoming the Future

Growing and Expanding for the Future F


rom the early years to the present, the Fernie Golf Club has had three homes. The three different clubhouse locations reflect the development and expansion of the course over the

The first home of the club was moved from the McDougall Sawmill and was originally the home of sawmill owner A. McDougall

The first clubhouse was moved in 1921 from the site of the old McDougall Sawmill. It was situated on same location as the present cart house beside the parking lot. The Victoria era building had been used as an office and dwelling and was pulled from the lower plain along the river, 20 feet up an embankment. It was located at the end of a majestic, tree-lined drive that wound through the center of the fairways. The first and second storey wrap-around porches overlooked the upper fairways while the back faced some of what were to become the lower fairways of the present course. Also acting as the residence for the greenskeeper, in the early years bar and food service “at the house” was provided by member volunteers. Eventually staff, sometimes even the greenskeeper, ran the bar and restaurant. This facility operated for more than 50 years.

The building, with its covered decks on both storeys, was a perfect venue for the club’s functions and social gatherings

Grass Greens and the Next Home In 1968, the Club’s greens were finally planted with grass, which helped encourage increased membership and promote public interest in golf. Once the greens were in place, it was obvious that a new clubhouse was needed. The only issue with the club’s determination to create grass greens was how to pay for it. Again, club members and the local community came together with both time and money. Debentures were sold to members and with donations from Crow’s Nest Industries, Kaiser Resources and generous support from equipment contractors the work was started. Volunteer labour, supplied by both the men’s and ladies leagues, help seed and build the long anticipated grass greens. Total cost was approximately $30,000, which included a new tractor, greens mower, verticut and a hammer mill. The next project – a new house. With the realignment of a few holes, the Club’s second home was built in the early 1970s, situated at the end of 2nd Avenue. The ranch-style clubhouse boasted stunning mountain views from its covered deck with a restaurant and bar offering golfers a place to socialize and enjoy their sport. The building was erected by volunteer labour with donated materials. The new location also had a pro shop, club storage and a maintenance shop. After golfing 9 holes for more than 60 years club members now were hoping to broaden their facility. Taking the course from 9 to 18 holes was the next logical step in its development. Working out the details of expansion would take a lot of time and energy for the club but again members volunteered hours of their time to make it happen.

A golfer would want to do his own raking on the sand greens – an opponent’s technique might leave a lip around the cup hindering a well placed putt

Club volunteers seeded the greens with “Northland Bent” grass in early summer - within six weeks the greens were playable

The second clubhouse, along with a separate pro shop and maintenance shed, was situated at the end of 2nd Avenue

100 Years! on achieving this milestone!

792 2nd Ave., Fernie • 250-423-4607


Fernie Golf Club on your 100th Anniversary 1542A-10th Ave., Fernie 250-423-7444

The Free Press

Thursday, July 5, 2018 Page A15

Honouring the Past, Welcoming the Future

Expanding to 18 I

n 1981, Crows Nest Industries Ltd., which owned the land all around the course and the playing fields in the vicinity, officially assigned portions for sports and recreation facilities, specifically Prentice Park and the Fernie Golf & Country Club. With this assurance of land, in 1983, a group formed by Club President Dan Cox, undertook to expand the course to 18 holes. Three holes from the original 9 were eliminated and 12 new holes were built. Golf course architect W. Newis, designer of several golf courses including Bear’s Paw in Calgary, was retained to layout and supervise construction. Together

with government grants, a bank loan, and generous financial assistance from Crows Nest Resources, Westar and Nohels Logging, the fairways were seeded in late summer, the size of greens enlarged from 4120 square feet to 6800 square feet and lower level greens were raised above the flood plain. A watering system was installed and the greens seeded. White silicon sand from Golden B.C. was placed in the bunkers. The improved, expanded holes put the Fernie Golf Course on a new footing. Not only did it provide the local golfing community with an outstanding home course, but now became a major amenity in attracting tourists and the travelling golfer.

The design for the expanded 18 hole construction

Creating the new No. 1 fairway would start a golf round right beside the new clubhouse


As part of the agreement to assign land to the club, Crows Nest Industries insisted on a special promise. In a codicil applied to the club’s Society status it was agreed that, “The Fernie Golf Club guarantees that the facility will be available to any person or persons who wish to use it ….”, ensuring golf opportunities continue in perpetuity

For the Love of Competition

olf might be considered an individual sport where your biggest opponent can be yourself; however, through ongoing skill development and practice many golfers enjoy friendly competition and tournaments.

Many local corporations and businesses play host to tournaments each year at the Fernie Golf Club

As early as July 1918 work was completed on the first holes of the Fernie Golf Course at a cost of $500. The following month the first golf match took place at the course with A. Watson and R.M. Young defeating A. Graham and S. Herchmer. In subsequent years competitions were keen with matches between M.A. Kastner and J. Corbet being compared with fights between Kilkenny Cats. In the first inter-club match play, held in September 1919, Fernie defeated Cranbrook by a score of fifteen matches to two. Emblematic of inter-club championships was the Boyd Cup, which started initially amongst Fernie, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Creston and later included Wardner. In addition, the Crows Nest Pass Golf Association held tournaments at a different host club each year from Lethbridge through to Fernie. However during the 1930s and 40s many of these tournaments were cancelled due to gas rationing and the shortage of golf balls. Now almost every weekend of the golf season sees the Fernie Golf Club hosting a special tournament. In May, weather permitting, the Men’s, Ladies and Juniors will host their opening tournaments. As the summer progresses many local charities will host competitions and often the area Pro-Am tournament is held at the club. Other staple tournaments throughout the season include the Club Championship, the Tony Servello Senior’s Open, the Adult/Junior Team tournament, the Ironman tournament and the Turkey Tombstone. The latter, which comes with a turkey dinner, closes out the season.

In the 1987 Club Championship long time member Marilyn Bruschetta won the Ladies Low Net

Keep up the great work, and remember that we are behind you all the way!

Our sincere Congratulations on your 100th Anniversary 250-423-9288 16 Manitou Rd

Happy 100th Anniversary Fernie Golf Club Fernie 1-877-447-6788

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The Free Press

Honouring the Past, Welcoming the Future


The Grounds Keepers he job of maintaining a golf course is a labour of love. Technological advancement has made the job easier but it has also raised golfer’s expectations of playing on pristine fairways and luscious greens.

Looking after the House and the Greens A list of early course managers and maintenance personnel include Andrew Lees, Thomas Illedge, A. Peters, Andy Traska, and Frank Gigliotti. These people, along with volunteers, maintained the course, and, in some instances, their wives looked after the clubhouse. In later years, Skifty Morris, having left mining after an injury, decided to look after and live in the clubhouse. “Thirsty” members could pretty well be satisfied any time of the day or night or any day of the week. Skifty managed and looked after the place and never requested nor drew any pay.

A commemorative plaque dedicated to long-time Course Superintendent Bob Brydon can be found on the 8th hole

Bob Brydon became the Course Superintendent in 1975 and was dedicated to creating a course that would become a source of community pride. Ray Bryant recounts his first season working at the Fernie Golf Club under the astute direction of Bob, who passed away in 1998. “When I came to the golf course I thought all there was to maintaining a golf course was cutting grass and moving sprinklers. The first year was a wake up call, as to what a golf course was all about and how meticulous I had to be in setting up equipment so the grass wouldn’t be bruised if the reel bed knife wasn’t adjusted properly… “Then there was the golf course and what it takes to maintain a healthy turf - what were those terms Bob was talking about - snow mould, red thread, Pythium blight, anthracnose, blue/green algae, black layer, percolation, leaching and compaction - just to name a few turf problems. Bob loved his job and he and I hit it off right from the start.”

A large factor in golf course maintenance is ensuring the machinery is in top working condition. Greens mowers, like the one Bob Brydon is riding here, need an exacting touch to get the blades sharpened properly

As early as 1976 the club recognized that course maintenance was getting more complicated – it was not just mowing grass anymore. Throughout his tenure, the club supported Bob’s participation in programs to learn the latest advancements in course upkeep. Ray has maintained this commitment and is a member of the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association. After his first year, Bob asked Ray to become his assistant. Ray said, “this man set me up for the most exciting years a person could ask for in a job.” Ray Bryant has been the Club Course Superintendent for more than 20 years.

The Fernie Golf Club has joined the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System of Canada (ACSSC), an international program designed to help landowners preserve and enhance the environmental quality of their property. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses is co-ordinated by the ACSSC and is sponsored in part by the Royal Canadian Golf Association

Many of the fairways and clubhouse flower beds were maintained for years by maintenance crew member Ursula Schroeder, a 45-year employee

Remembering those who served



Fernie Golf Club on your 100th Anniversary

302 535 Victoria Ave N. Cranbrook, BC Office: 250-417-6022

Tom Shypitka, MLA Kootenay East

Phone: 250-417-6022 302-535 Victoria Avenue North Cranbrook, British Columbia V1C 6S3

The Free Press

Thursday, July 5, 2018 Page A17

Honouring the Past, Welcoming the Future

Tony Servello, who has a senior’s tournament named in his honour, was a tireless volunteer and avid golfer in the early years of the club

Leagues of Volunteers Who Love Golf


rom the initial meetings in 1918 the Fernie Golf Club’s success in becoming a reality would rely completely on its volunteer members. When a Fernie Free Press advertisement called for work bee volunteers to help create the holes, aspiring golfers responded eagerly. That volunteer tradition continues today. From the Board of Directors, to tournament co-ordinators and the Men’s and Ladies Leagues, volunteer members carry out most of the Club’s activities. Within the first few years, the club boasted both Men’s and Ladies League play each week. Few sports garner participant’s long-term dedication like golf. The Fernie Golf Club is a true testament with numerous members belonging to the club for more than 40 years and at least one member has belonged for over 50 years. Many local families have been members for multiple generations. This dedication to the sport has translated into a thriving club with strong programs for golfers of all ages.

The Ladies League has always had strong leadership and volunteer base. Jean Simpkins, left, was a league president for many years, pictured here with Theresa Vickers, center, and Rosemary Brydon

Fernie Golf Club 1918 - 2018

Gold Sponsor

Ron Bentley, left, Irv Mitchell, center, and John Hack would enjoy Wednesday night Men’s League play with other club members

The Fernie Golf Club would like to thank the following for their support of its Centennial Celebrations and the creation of the clubhouse exhibit, “Honouring the Past, Welcoming the Future”

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The Free Press

Honouring the Past, Welcoming the Future


Accomplished Golfers

ernie is known as a sports town. Whether team sports like hockey or soccer or individual sports like skiing or golf, the community has produced some very accomplished athletes. Among the best golfers in the 1920s was one of the club founders Sandy Watson, who won the prestigious Crows Nest Pass Championship four times. Sandy, and fellow competitor D.G. McKenzie of Blairmore, were semi finalists at the Canadian National Championship. Fernie golfer Agnes Lawes also dominated the Crows Nest Pass Championship in 1925, 1930, 1931 and again in 1948. The 1940-1950s era was dominated by the local brother-sister combination of Frank and Ellen Hughes. They won several East Kootenay and Crows Nest Pass Open titles and were very active in club competitions. Members of the Hughes family still golfs at the Fernie club. Frank Hughes holds the course record of 64 on the old course while his brother Paul qualified in both 1991 and 1992 for the B.C. Amateur Championship. The highest achievement for a Fernie golfer belongs to Jackie Twamley. Jackie has won both B.C. and Alberta Junior championships and in 1986 was Canadian Junior Champion as well as Alberta Ladies Champion. She then earned a golf scholarship at the University of North Texas. Jackie placed well at the World Junior Ladies in San Diego and in a World Amateur Tournament in Australia. Jackie worked as an assistant pro at Bear’s Paw in Calgary, where she qualified for the 1991 LPGA event in Canada, the Du Maurier Cup.

Frank Hughes, left, with Frank Pichler, at a Fernie club tournament. Ellen and Frank Hughes, Frank’s aunt and uncle, dominated local tournaments in the 1940s and 50s

Sandy Watson, four time CNP Champion, also was one of the driving forces behind developing golf in Fernie In 1991 Fernie’s own Jackie Twamley qualified for the LPGA event in Canada, the Du Maurier Cup

Mentoring and Leadership

Golfers of all abilities have always been encouraged to enjoy the course and its facilities. Over the years the Fernie Golf Club has had exceptional professionals who have provided top-notch instruction as well as mentoring younger players. As Club operations grew, a golf professional, along with support staff, became a necessity for the course to succeed. The Fernie Golf Club has been fortunate to have attracted many qualified golf professionals to direct club operations including Dave Rogers, Mike Will, Doug Robb, Mel Dies and Max Sherwood. The pros have mentored many young local golfers who have gone on to pursue careers in the golf industry. • Kevin Maffioli has been the Head Golf professional at the Christina Lake Golf Club for many years • Cindy Carson-Soukoroff, along with Max Sherwood, both started in the Fernie pro shop and moved to the St. Eugene Golf Resort where Cindy still works as the Head Golf professional • Danielle Poupart turned professional in 2011 and is now teaching golf at a facility in Calgary after having worked for the Priddis Greens Golf Club • With 11 years at the course, Craig McArthur is the head golf professional at Blackhawk Golf Club in Spruce Grove, Alberta • Chad Scott is the Head Golf professional at the Rise in Vernon and is the current president of the PGA of BC

Mike Will, left, grew up golfing in Fernie and went on to become the Head Professional for the Cordova Bay Golf Course

Chad Scott, Head Professional at The Rise Golf Course in Vernon, was appointed the PGA of BC Association’s 39th President in 2017

Max Sherwood, Fernie Golf Club’s CPGA Head Professional, center, with Gus Twamley and a visiting professional, on the left, and Gerry Pang and Steve Servello, on the right

Special Features - Fernie Golf 100th Anniversary  


Special Features - Fernie Golf 100th Anniversary