Adding To The History at Royal Ottawa – Ceremony Marks Course Changes and Dedication

Hole #2 Dedication, The Royal Ottawa GC - Left to right on the 2nd hole are Paul Potvin, Dan MacKinnon, Robert McMullen, George Brimmell, Claudia McKeen, Matthew Kenny and Chris Wilson (Photo: Joe McLean)

The Royal Ottawa Golf Club has seen three locations since 1891 when it began in the now Sandy Hill area of Ottawa in Strathcona Park. In 1896, the then Ottawa Golf Club was relocated to the Brigham property on the Chelsea Road north of Hull. Taking advantage of the valuable mineral deposits on their property at their 2nd location, the property was sold and the Club moved to its current location in the Aylmer section of Gatineau, Quebec in 1903.

Through the years, members of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club (Royal status awarded in 1912) have treasured their history, evidence of which can be seen on a walk through their elaborate clubhouse. Also treasured by members is their golf course originally designed by Tom Bendelow from Chicago and amended by Willie Park Jr. in the 1920’s.

Golf course architect Neil Haworth is in charge of the current renovations being made to the Royal Ottawa Golf Club Course and the new par 3 – 3rd hole is the first new hole constructed on the course in the past fifty years. The game plan with constructing this new hole was to take the par 3 – 2nd hole out of play as part of the changes being made to the golf course.

Closing the 2nd hole

On Saturday, April 28th, members of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club made their way to the tee of the 2nd hole. Pictures were taken of the Club Members who had scored a hole in one on the par three and then Royal Ottawa Vice-President George Smith officially declared the 2nd hole, named UPHILL, closed. Members who had scored a hole in one participating in the closing ceremony were Paul Potvin, Dan McKinnon, Robert McMullen, George Brimmell, Claudia McKeen, Matthew Kenny and Chris Wilson.

Officially Opening and Dedicating the New 3rd Hole

After officially closing the 2nd hole, members made their way over to the new par 3, 3rd hole. Vice President George Smith asked everyone present to pick up a glass of champagne and accompany him to the commemorative stone under wraps. After a brief talk about their golf course superintendent Steve Verrall, who passed away suddenly in 2017, Mr. Smith asked for a moment’s silence and then unveiled the commemorative stone and plaque dedicating the new 3rd hole named NORTHERN PINES in the memory of Mr. Verrall. Mr. Smith then proposed a toast to the memory of Steve Verrall.

The Royal Ottawa Commemorative Plaque reads:

NORTHERN PINES

In memory of

Steve Verrall

Golf Course Superintendent

Steve lovingly cared for the golf courses

at the Club from 1988 to 2017.

Steve’s memory will be kept with us

for years to come as we tee it up on

this hole named in his honour.

Dedicated April 28, 2018

Several staff and members were then asked to officially open the new hole by hitting shots to the new green. While results varied, all in attendance agreed that the two ceremonies were well done in keeping with the spirit as well as the traditions and history of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club.

Apart from the two changes, golfers on the Royal Ottawa Golf Course in 2018 will play a re-routed 4th hole and a lengthened 5th hole. More changes will be made to the championship course as well as the Royal 9 in future years.

Steve Verrall Scholarship

Royal Ottawa Vice-President George Smith also announced that the Royal Ottawa Golf Club is working with the University of Guelph to establish a scholarship in the name of Steve Verrall to assist future golf course superintendent students. He indicated also that the goal for the scholarship was thirty thousand dollars and Royal Ottawa Members have already contributed towards the set goal.

Congratulations to Members and Staff at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club for their commitment to changes to their golf courses and to their actions in remembering their long-time superintendent and friend Steve Verrall.

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