History Walk: Organized Golf in Smiths Falls Dates Back More Than A Century

The Town of Smiths Falls has a long history of organized golf (Water Tower Photo: Scott MacLeod)

It’s interesting to search through archived newspapers and find articles about golf from earlier days. 

Research shows that golf in one form or another has been played in the Smiths Falls, Ontario area continuously for the past 120 years. The Smiths Falls Golf & Country Club is presently well-known because of the exploits of Smiths Falls G&CC Members Brooke and Brittany Henderson.

But organized golf goes much further back in history.

In 1899, the Poonahmalee Golf Club was formed with the clubhouse near the junction of Lorne Street and the Jasper Road. For a number of years through 1910 the club prospered with a 9-hole course, but gradually, as the original members left town or passed away, interest in the golf club waned and the club went out of existence.

The Poonahmalee Golf Club was reorganized in 1922 with a new site for the golf course, which included a portion of the old course, the use of the original clubhouse, but a new starting point on Brockville Street. Activities of the golf members throughout the 1920’s are recorded in the local newspaper and also in the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Journal newspapers.

Once again the Club ceased operations in the early 1930’s but a core of golf enthusiasts pushed for a new golf course while continuing golf activities by holding Smiths Falls Members-only championships at the Links O’Tay Golf Club in nearby Perth, Ontario. 

A 1937 press clipping from the archived files of Links O’Tay Member Rusty White talks about the report from Thompson (Stanley) and Jones (Robert Trent) recommending the purchase of the Gould Farm located on Highway 15 and within easy walking distance from the centre of town.

Unfortunately, plans to build this new course were dropped as there was no financial support for the new venture. 

Golfers from Smiths Falls continued to play at the Links O’Tay until a united goal to build a golf course in the Smiths Falls area brought about the 9-hole Smiths Falls Golf & Country Club in 1954.

One has to admire the dedication and perseverance of the small core of avid golfers who continuously promoted the game of golf through the years resulting in what is now the prosperous 18-hole Smiths Falls Golf & Country Club.