History Walk: Celebrating 125 Years Of Formal Golf Play In Canada

An early image of the Ottawa Golf Club

The Canadian Golf Association was formed in 1895 and received its Royal designation in 1896 by Queen Victoria through the Governor General of Canada – Lord Aberdeen. 

Alex Simpson, Secretary of the Ottawa Golf Club, was a strong proponent of the formation of a Canadian Association of golf clubs to organize a national championship. Mr. Simpson invited Canadian golf clubs to participate in the Ottawa Tournament at the Ottawa Golf Club in 1895. A full week of activities from June 4-7 was planned with the main event being the competition for the Aberdeen Cup, which would be awarded to the first Amateur Champion of the Dominion of Canada. (Kingston Golf Club’s Thomas M. Harley)

During the week of the Ottawa Tournament, a consensus was reached by the six golf clubs in attendance – Kingston, Ottawa, Royal Montreal, Royal Quebec, Toronto and Winnipeg – to form a golf organization. It was agreed to hold its first official meeting later that year during the Interprovincial Competition being held at the Toronto Golf Club. 

The Canadian Golf Association Constitution was signed by officials from the Kingston, London, Niagara, Ottawa, Rosedale, Royal Montreal, Royal Quebec, Toronto, Winnipeg and Victoria Golf Clubs on Friday, September 27, 1895. 

The first officers of the Canadian Golf Association were:

  • President: Senator George Drummond (Royal Montreal Golf Club)
  • Vice Presidents: Lt/Col. D. T. Irwin (Ottawa Golf Club) and John Hamilton (Royal Quebec Golf Club)
  • Honourable Secretary/Treasurer: W. C. J. Hall (Royal Quebec Golf Club)
  • Members: Charles Hunter (Toronto & Niagara Golf Clubs), Lt/Col Cotton (Kingston Golf Club), J. F. Kirk (Deer Park & Rosedale Golf Clubs), J. L. Morris (Royal Montreal Golf Club), F. P. Betts (London Golf Club).

Now known as Golf Canada (2010), the organization has held true to its objectives from its first constitution to promote interest in the game of golf, protect the mutual interests of its members and establish and enforce uniformity in the rules of the game by creating a representative authority.

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