Fifty Years of Golfing Elegance
For those have had the privilege to play the Rideau View Country Club, you already know just what an extraordinary place it is. For fifty years this Manotick, Ontario club has served their members, becoming an integral part of daily life for many of them.
This year, as the club celebrates five decades of existence there is a lot to be exalted. A wonderful golf course, a thriving club, a record of fine players, and a myriad of events of almost every calibre has created an enduring history that deserves attention, respect and as much commendation as you can offer up for this National Capital Region institution.
The term “country club” might be a little misleading in the Rideau View name. As much as this is a private club with a full schedule of club-like activities, they have a tremendous focus on the golf itself. “We have a niche in the market as a golf club as opposed to a typical country club,” emphasizes club General Manager Brian Bruni. He says when he discusses the clubs to non-members there are various points that he makes an effort to accentuate. “We are a club with a history, a solid foundation of fifty years. We feel we are a private members golf club. We try to distinguish that not in the sense that you need to be single digit handicap to play here but that our operating philosophy is centred on the golf season – not as a year round club. The golf season drives the complete package of golf and social activities here at Rideau View ”
Golf has always been the centre of attention, defining the very roots of the club.
Although history marks the first sod turning as taking place on June 23, 1957, the true inception of the facility took place in the fall of 1955. It was on October 23, 1955 that twenty fans of the game met in Jack Snow’s home to consider building a golf club for the Jewish community. It led to the first annual general meeting of the Rideau View Country Club on September 18, 1956 and from there it was full steam ahead.
The essence of Rideau View begins with the location itself, just outside of Manotick, in the south end of Ottawa. Just over 180 acres of undulating property, beset with trees, was a thoughtful choice when it was selected as the site. In five decades those trees have just grown taller and lusher, creating the perfect parkland backdrop.
Golfers fortunate to play the layout will find plenty of attractive holes to get their attention. In choosing the appropriate set of tees players can find any amount of challenge they require. The great number of elite amateur and professional events that have been hosted on the course over the years proves the quality of the layout.
With holes that vary greatly in length, there is an opportunity to test just about every shot in your bag. Multiple elevated tees and greens also vary the experience. If you can play the beefy par three holes well, you can usually score decently but you cannot lose focus until you get the final putt into the hole. The daunting par five finishing hole (at close to 570 yards from the Black Tees) has been the scene of many pivotal golf moments that changed the tone of a round in a hurry. Golfers routinely mention the key to playing the course well is to stay out of the trees and keeping approach shots to the greens below the hole to avoid extra slick putts on the well-conditioned surfaces.
Acclaimed architect was contracted to create the original Rideau View layout. He would initiate the succession of fine architects who have helped to shape the golf course into what it is today. That grouping also includes C.E. Robbie Robinson, Graham Cooke, and most recently, Doug Carrick.
Rideau View grew from nine to eighteen holes by 1963 and has evolved greatly within those eighteen holes. With ample space available, the layout has been stretched to 7025 yards from the longest of five sets of tee decks. With a variance down to 5017 it allows the course to be enjoyed by anyone who tees it up.
In some sense the inclusive effect of the yardage on the golf course is sort of symbolic of the entire club. Even before the membership was opened up the general public in 1973, the club possessed a family atmosphere that is still pervasive. There are plenty of references to the membership “family” in the club’s literature. Members continually mention the number of social events within the club and feeling of being part of something “more than a golf club” when asked what makes Rideau View special for them.
While any of our readers have not had the opportunity of playing this layout, those that have understand why insightful players revere it. And it just seems to get better with age – especially when you consider the dramatic bunker renovation project completed in the last few years and the major advancement currently taking place at their clubhouse.
The original clubhouse was a very simple 5200 square foot structure that has been expanded and renovated through the years. It pales in comparison to the new facility that now approaches 20,000 square feet of space. It will be competed in the coming months as the club prepares to host a bevy of 50th anniversary celebrations. A $2.5 million dollar project, it will bring the building into the modern era with great functionality. All this while retaining the key asset of the building: a location at the highest point on the property that ensures attractive views.
A supportive membership and a great test of golf are always points of pride within a club but the product of those conditions also leads to something else – great golfers who are able to compete at just about any level. Rideau View has a rich history of great golfers at the local, regional, national, and even, world levels. Whether it is a dominating presence at Intersectional events or members who have won City Championships or Provincial Championships, the club has delivered a list of great golfers too numerous to mention. Do your homework and you will be awed by the quality of golfers. Members like Brad Fritsch (Nationwide Tour) and Lee Curry (Canadian Tour) represent the club on a professional stage, for example.
With that said Brian Bruni relates that they are proud that they are able to facilitate the development of these players but it makes them even prouder that they are able to do this while still meeting the needs of the majority of the members. “We work to provide a golf experience that distinguishes our club for every member.”
As mentioned, several reasons contribute to the success of these players. The golf course of a championship level (and condition thanks to Superintendent extraordinaire Gord MacMillan) pushes the golfers to get better while the staff of golf professionals has helped to shape their swings and minds.
Nearing 30 years in service at the club Head Professional Paul Sherratt is acclaimed for his abilities having been the Canadian Club Professional of the Year two times as well as the National Teacher of the Year in 1999. His junior program is legendary and Paul’s shop staff always reflects his tremendous level of professionalism. The staff offers a wide range of service available to both club members and members of the community. “Paul’s emphasis on growing the game of golf, junior golf, and development of golfers simply reflects what we feel are some of the strengths of Rideau View,” asserts the General Manager.
While it is time to celebrate at RideauView – 50th anniversary activities have actually been ongoing for 3 years – it is simply a mark in time to honour past members and rejoice for a while before pushing forward, says Brian Bruni. “At the end of the day we are about the game of golf. We are focused on meeting and exceeding the needs of our members and continual progress is part of how we can do that.”
With that said, they have to be commended for what they have built in their first half century. It is certainly a heritage they can celebrate with pride.
Private, Shareholder Owned
C.P.G.A. Head Professional
Yardage/Ratings/Slope (Par 72/74)
Black Tees – 7025 yards
Men – 73.6/129
Blue Tees – 6526 yards
Men – 71.4/125
White Tees – 6151 Yards
Men – 68.9/120
Ladies – 75.0/134
Red Tees – 5720 yards
Men – 67.2 / 116
Ladies – 73.1/130
Gold Tees – 5017
Men – 63.3/105
Ladies – 68.9/117
Average Hole Lengths (Black Tees)
Par 3’s – 192 Yards
Par 4’s – 410 Yards
Par 5’s – 538 Yards
Rideau View Country Club
6044 Rideau Valley Drive N.
Manotick, On, K4M 1B3
Phone: 613-692-3442 (Office)