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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Playing golf at Kebsquasheshing Golf Club in Chapleau officially launched at organization meeting on May 15,1924

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Playing golf in Chapleau became official at a meeting in the St John's Memorial Hall, now the home of Branch No 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion on May 15, 1924.

According to the handwritten minutes, now available on the Chapleau Public Library site, the meeting was held "for the purpose of organizing a golf club' to be called the "Kebsquasheshing Golf Club".

The golf course was located where it remains to this day on land that appeared to have been provided by V.T. Chapple and G.B. Nicholson, under a lease agreement. The club house had been the summer home of Mr. Nicholson.

The first executive consisted of president H.C. Nelson; vice president Dr. J.J. Sheahan, and secretary-treasurer A. McNiece Austin. To get organized, the club used a constitution from the Woodstock Golf Club. A lease for use of the land between the club and Mr. Chapple and Mr. Nicholson for the year 1925 was also on the agenda. Terms of the lease were not in the minutes.
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The meeting decided that the annual fee "for gentlemen be $15 and that for ladies $5" with an initiation fee of $25 for "gentlemen" and $12.50 for ladies decided upon at a later meeting.

One of the first issues raised was the matter of playing golf on Sundays, and after some discussion over a couple of meetings the "playing of Sunday golf on the links be prohibited and that any member violating this rule be expelled from the club". Father Romeo Gascon who was very active in the golf club made the motion.

However, in reading the minutes, it seems that over the years, while the ban was not completely lifted, Sunday golf may have been permitted on the back holes -- which gave me a chuckle. I did not discover date when Sunday golf was officially permitted but into the 1970s the Lord's Day Act governing Sunday sports was in effect in Ontario.
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Ladies were asked to wear flat heeled shoes while men had to wear rubber soled shoes.

Although ladies were permitted as members from the beginning, if my memory serves me right,  there was a "Ladies' Day" each week which was one afternoon. I mention it because my grandmother Lil (Mulligan) Morris was a golfer and I recall being her caddy in the late 1940s... which meant I carried one club. I don't recall if she and her friends Mrs. George Fife and Mrs. Elsie Wilkinson played on other days.

By 1925 the clubhouse had undergone some renovations and a lawnmower had been purchased. The House Committee was composed of ladies only.

The club also decided that "all male visitors, transients or temporary residents be charged annual fee of $25 for the use of the course for the season payable in advance" but it did not entitle them to any of the privileges of full members, only use of the golf course and clubhouse facilities.


Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet

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