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Judging The Big Divots at Anderson Links – Canadian Plowing Championship Hosted By Ottawa Golf Course

Allen Hills (L) and Gib Patterson have teamed up to make the Canadian Plowing Championships happen on the grounds of Anderson Links Golf Club in the east end of Ottawa (Photo: Theresa Whalen)

by Theresa Whalen

Allen Hills (L) and Gib Patterson have teamed up to make the Canadian Plowing Championships happen on the grounds of Anderson Links Golf Club in the east end of Ottawa (Photo: Theresa Whalen)
Allen Hills (L) and Gib Patterson have teamed up to make the Canadian Plowing Championships happen on the grounds of Anderson Links Golf Club in the east end of Ottawa (Photo: Theresa Whalen)

“Does Gib know they’re going to plough up his golf course?”

This is the half humorous and half curious question that has been getting chuckles since last fall when it was announced that the 2016 Canadian Plowing Championships (www.CPC-16.org) will be hosted at Anderson Links Golf Course, in Ottawa, August 24 – 27, 2016.

Gib and Elsie Patterson own Anderson Links and Gib figures that from driving ranges to driving tractors and from divots to furrows – Anderson Links has a long history of both! So why not?

The 200 acres that make up Anderson Links Golf Course was originally farmed by ‘Black Jim’ Anderson and family. At a 4-H meeting in the late 1950’s, Gib’s sister Norma took a shining to Black Jim’s son Robert and long story short – they were married in 1960 and took over the farm.

In the late 1970’s, the Conservative government of the day had the idea to create the ‘Carlsbad Springs Satellite City’ and bought up about 7,000 acres in the Carlsbad Springs – Ramsayville area. The development plans fell through and in the ‘Rae Days’ of the early 1990’s the lands were offered for sale back to the families from which they were bought. Gib purchased the Anderson farm through his sister’s Anderson family and farmed it for several years.

With great proximity to Ottawa and a stretch of Bearbrook Creek running through it – the Anderson farm morphed into Anderson Links in 2007 with 18 holes and a couple of trailers for the pro-shop and clubhouse. The beautiful big clubhouse that is now home for the links opened in 2010 followed by the opening of the south nine in 2012. There is room for another ‘front nine’ along Anderson Road, however for now – that will be the site of CPC-16.

The farmer in Gib has always been interested in ploughing. At 14 he fondly remembers going to the 1952 IPM (International Plowing Match) in Carp with his father – but then couldn’t go to the next one because it was his brother Ford’s turn to go and Gib had to stay home and do chores.

In 1983 the IPM was held in Richmond. With the planning well-started in 1979, Gib teamed up with Allen Hills and Ron Stinson to start a ploughing 4-H Club to help develop the local youth talent in time for the ploughing match. Gib also joined the IPM ’83 planning committee and lead the Urban and Rural Beautification Competition program.

For all his love of ploughing, Gib only ever competed once and that was in the 2001 Ottawa-Carleton Ploughing Match held near Navan at ‘Tiny’ McWilliam’s farm. There, he came in second with a two-furrow antique trail plough pulled by a Cockshutt 60 tractors that Gib’s father had bought in 1947 and Gib still uses today at his driving range on Innes Road.

Gib has also earned his accreditation as a ploughing judge, however he only ever judged one match. “I was never in it for the competition,” explains Gib. “It’s the intricacies and details that are interesting to me – so I wanted to learn all about it.”

From 1987 through to 2001, Gib was elected as Director for the Ottawa-Carleton Plowing Association to the Ontario Plowing Association (OPA). In 1996 he was elected Chair of OPA and responsible for hosting the IPM in Haldimand-Norfolk Region near Selkirk, Ontario.

“It was an extremely dry year and there were places where you could put your hand elbow-deep into the cracks in the ground,” recalls Gib. “The rains hit early on opening day and before long the famous Haldimand clay had swollen closed leaving unbelievable mud conditions. We were using bulldozers to scrape off the surface mud and piling it up like what we do with snow banks – except it was mud. We also had the bulldozers and four-wheel drives pulling exhibitors into the tent city and RVs into the camp grounds. The OPP came in on opening day and told us to shut down the show – but we didn’t. We diverted the campers to a local air strip and the show went on except with no plowing the first day; we just judged on three days of ploughing instead of four. Despite all the rain – the show broke even and everyone remembers the 1996 ‘mud bowl’ in Haldimand!”

When Gib’s long-time friend Allen Hills found out two years ago that a location was being sought to host the 2016 Canadian Plowing Championships, the two got together a winning proposal. Allen would do the organizing and fundraising and Gib would manage the location and logistics and together the duo are now co-chairing CPC-16. The local Ottawa-Carleton Plowing Match will be held at Anderson Links as well on August 27.

Plowing competitions require competitors to turnover both sod and stubble lands and Anderson Links will offer some of the finest sods the competition has ever seen.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome to gather on the headlands and judge ‘the big divots’ at Anderson Links on August 24 -27.

For more information and a schedule of events visit www.CPC-16.org.