They are some of Canada’s most renowned golf legends, a list amassed of professional and amateur players, course architects and administrators. They have all contributed to the growth of the game of golf in this country. However, their contributions to golf pale in comparison to their contributions to the fabric of our nation.
November 11 is Remembrance Day. A day we remember and pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served in our armed forces. What better day to remember Canadian golfers of the past who helped our nation during its greatest times of need.
The following are just some of the contributions Canadian golf legends made to the Allied forces during the First and Second World Wars.
During World War I, Hamilton, Ont. native Florence Harvey, along with other women golfers in Canada, raised enough money to purchase an ambulance for use in Serbia.
A staunch advocate of women’s golf, Harvey founded and held the position of Secretary of the Canadian Ladies Golf Union – later known as the former Canadian Ladies’ Golf Association (CLGA).
One of the top players of her day, Harvey won the 1903 and 1904 Canadian Ladies’ championship, while capturing the Ontario Ladies Championship on four occasions.
During WWII, the CLGA also raised money, this time their money went towards the purchase of a Spitfire plane.
Karl Keffer is best known for becoming the first Canadian-born golfer to win our national championship – the RBC Canadian Open – in 1909. He also won in 1914.
Keffer, from Tottenham, Ont., was a founding member of the PGA of Canada and held numerous positions during his 29-year involvement with the association including; secretary-treasurer, captain and president. Keffer, a war veteran, pleaded with other golf professionals of his day to join the war effort.
Most golf enthusiasts will know Stanley Thompson as a renowned Canadian golf course architect. Thompson, who was born in Toronto, has 200 course designs to his credit throughout an illustrious career as an architect with a majority of them residing in Canada.
However, most don’t know Thompson was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in WWI.
Donald Carrick, born in Thunder Bay, Ont., was a standout amateur golfer. A two-time Canadian Amateur champion, Carrick also won the 1924 US Junior Boy’s Championship, several Ontario amateur titles and played for Canada against the British Walker Cup team before retiring from competitive golf in 1933 to focus on his family and law practice. Carrick would become a political figure and also competed as a boxer in the 1928 Summer Olympics.
Carrick also received the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E) for his service in the Royal Artillery during WWII.
Winnipeg’s Geoffrey Cornish, one of the legendary Stanley Thompson’s protégés, fashioned a career in golf course architecture. He was one of the best Canada has ever produced. With a career that included more than 200 golf course designs or remodellings, Cornish turned his attention towards chronicling the history of his field, becoming an author and penning several internationally-acclaimed books on golf course architecture in the later part of his career.
Cornish was a Major in the Canadian Army, serving in Europe from 1940-45.
To these and other notable figures in Canadian golf who have supported our troops as well as all of the brave men and women who have served our country – thank you.
With its long history and vast geography, Canada boasts many strange and spooky tales. There are haunted coal mines in Cape Breton, poltergeists in Calgary and even a pair of haunted boots in St. Vincent’s Newfoundland. It is no wonder, therefore, that golf courses across the country are rumoured to be home to some extraordinary spirits.
Haunted Lakes Golf Club
Winning the award for the Canadian golf course with the spookiest name is Haunted Lakes Golf Club in Alix, a town east of Red Deer, Alta. It is here an ancient drama plays out every winter along the third fairway, where Haunted Lake hugs the front right of the green.
Before Europeans arrived, Aboriginal peoples camped on the lake’s eastern shore. One winter, seven hunters camped there for the night. In the morning, they looked out across the lake and spied the magnificent head and antlers of a deer caught in the ice.
The seven headed off and upon reaching the creature, they started to chip away at the ice. The mighty animal, which was very much alive, gave a great heave and smashed through the ice. It swam for shore, breaking a path before it. The deer made it to shore and the safety of the woods, but the men were not so lucky. They plunged through the ice and all seven drowned.
It is said the seven hunters have haunted the lake ever since, giving the spot its name. Locals also claim that every winter a mysterious phenomenon can be observed as each year a huge fissure appears in the ice along the path the deer travelled to the shore.
Glen Abbey Golf Club
Several provinces east of Alberta you will find Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ont.
The original building on the property was built in 1937 by a mining engineer as his weekend retreat. The engineer, Andre Dorfman, was a leading figure in the Canadian mining industry at the time.
In 1953 Dorfman sold the house to the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada as a retreat. The property was sold again in 1963 to businessmen who opened a golf club. In memory of the Jesuits, the course was given the name Glen Abbey. Soon after the club opened, reports of a specter began to surface.
Within 10 years, they started talking about a ghost in the building. The story is that the ghost lives in the old mansion and walks up the back stairs and down the main hallway towards the library.
The mansion is a good example of the stately homes built in Oakville in the early twentieth century. It is constructed of stone with a red clay tile roof and features a wood-lined library on the second floor. Originally known as RayDor Estate House, the building has been designated as a heritage property. Prior to 1975 it served as the golf course’s clubhouse and currently is currently being leased out by ClubLink, the property owners.
One of the rooms in the basement is actually made to replicate the ship in which the original builder came over from Switzerland.
The ghost in the old mansion is said to be male, and eyewitnesses agree it resembles a Jesuit father.
Victoria Golf Club
Victoria Golf Club in Victoria, B.C., boasts both an impressive course history and a ghost or two of its own. The club is beautifully situated on a rocky point at the southern end of Vancouver Island.
The club dates back to November 1893 when local golf enthusiasts negotiated for permanent rights to play the rough fields of Pemberton Farm. Originally, golfers were prohibited from using the grounds over the summer, when cattle grazed what would become today’s fairways.
Like Haunted Lakes, the Victoria Golf Club may be haunted by early inhabitants. One researcher suggests some of its phantoms may be the souls of native warriors killed in battle centuries ago. However, these spirits pale beside the club’s other resident, the late Doris Gravlin, possibly Victoria’s most famous ghost.
Thomson was born in Blackburn, Lancashire in 1906 and immigrated to Canada with her parents. The Thomson family settled in Victoria where Doris’s mother worked at a private hospital. Doris became a nurse as well, until 1930 when she married Victor Gravlin.
Victor was a sports reporter for the Colonist newspaper, spending many happy hours golfing with his brother Walter, head pro at the Uplands Golf Club. The hours Victor spent with Doris would prove to be much less happy.
“When her husband began to drink heavily, Doris left him,” explains historian John Adams, adding that Doris found work as a private live-in nurse.
“In mid-September of 1936 Victor delivered a letter to Doris,” Adams says. “Its contents were unknown, but are believed to have been a request for her to meet him to discuss reconciliation.”
Doris stepped out for a walk at about 7:45 pm on September 22, 1936; Victor left his parents’ house shortly thereafter. One observer saw them together on Runnymede Avenue, but after that, neither was seen alive.
Doris and Victor were reported missing. A search ensued and days later, Doris’s corpse was discovered. Her body was later discovered amid the driftwood on the beach near the 7th green by a caddy looking for lost balls. She had been strangled and her shoes, belt and felt hat were missing.
Gossip maintained that Victor had escaped. But they were wrong.
One month later a fisherman found Victor’s body floating in the kelp beds off the ninth fairway. A length of rope was found in his coat pocket, along with Doris’s missing attire. The police concluded he had murdered his wife then committed suicide by walking into the water.
The discovery of two bodies on the grounds gave rise to the notion the club was haunted, and many sightings have been reported since.
“Typical manifestations are a fast-moving figure in white, a feeling of doom, a cold wind and a globe of spectral light,” added Adams. “Doris also plays havoc with motorists along Beach Drive, sometimes flying through open windows and even penetrating windshields as a cold mist.”
Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club
Charming little Niagara-on-the-Lake in Southern Ontario is often referred to as Canada’s most haunted town. It therefore comes as no surprise that Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club, with its 145+ year history, would be just as populated with ghost stories as the town is with visitors.
Located toward the back of the scenic course you’ll find Fort Mississauga – a defensive structure built after the War of 1812 to defend against the nearby American Fort Niagara. While the Fort was garrisoned until 1826, rearmed after the Rebellion of 1837, and manned during tense periods of the American Civil War, it never saw battle. However, the structure was erected using salvaged pieces from an old lighthouse and bricks from the crumbling Fort George which could perhaps account paranormal activity surrounding the historic site.
It is said that sounds of violence can be heard issuing from the Fort and multiple accounts have reported a man yelling in pain from within the structure. A young soldier even confided to his journal in 1871 that he and another officer saw a tall, gliding figure in a black robe while on watch one evening.
Fort Mississauga is now a National Historic Site and serves as a striking reminder to golfers that the land they putt on is steeped in history.
Jasper Park Golf Course
At Jasper Park Golf Course in Jasper, Alta. you’re more likely to come across a wandering elk than a wayward spirit. Still, a medley of ghostly characters have scared their way into the lore surrounding this jewel in the Canadian Rockies.
Construction for the resort property began in 1921 with renowned course architect Stanley Thompson joining the project in 1924. It took 50 teams of horses and 200 men before Thompson’s design became a reality and opened to the public in 1925.
As far as ghost stories go, past staff suggest that the clubhouse – particularly the kitchen – is frequented by spirits moving objects or banging pots. Multiple witnesses claim to have encountered an elderly woman who mysteriously vanishes when spoken to, and there’s even said to be a photo of her hanging outside the restaurant.
Another spooky story involves Point Cabin where a young maid took a tumble down the stairs and broke her neck. To this day her spirit is said to slam doors, turn lights off and appear to unsuspecting guests.
Jim Rutledge and Robert S. Weir to be inducted into Canadian Golf Hall Of Fame￼
Dan Pino/ Golf Canada
Long-time professional golf standout as well as legendary golf writer to become the 84th and 85th inductees into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame
Inductees to receive the highest honour in Canadian golf as part of RBC Hall of Fame Day in June during the 2023 RBC Canadian Open
The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame today announced that long-time professional and PGA of Canada member Jim Rutledge as well as celebrated writer Robert Stanley Weir have been selected for 2023 induction into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
Rutledge, 63, from Victoria, B.C. will be inducted in the player category while Weir – who was born in 1856 and died in 1926 – will be inducted as a builder for his over two decades of writing on golf. Weir, considered by many to be Canada’s first golf writer, is most famous for writing the English lyrics to ‘O Canada.’
With their inductions, the pair become the 84th and 85th honoured members of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
“The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame is thrilled to welcome Robert S. Weir and Jim Rutledge as our newest honoured members,” said Ted Fletcher, Chair of the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee. “Jim was – and continues to be – an accomplished player at the professional level while Mr. Weir was a pioneer in golf writing, golf psychology, and a wonderful wordsmith on a variety of subjects beyond golf. I speak on behalf of the entire selection committee as well as the honoured members to say they are deserving of their appointments.”
“My initial reply to Ted’s phone call took me completely off guard. After it all settled in, I flashed back to my career and of how fortunate I have been to represent Canada and travel the world doing what I loved for so many years,” said Rutledge. “I am truly honored and thank all involved in my nomination.”
With his induction, Mr. Weir becomes the 26th person inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame’s builder category and 18th to be inducted posthumously.
“Weir was a Renaissance man of golf, and beyond golf, given that he was a highly respected judge and poet, and that he wrote the English lyrics to O Canada,” said fellow Hall of Fame member Lorne Rubenstein of Weir. “Of course, I am focusing on what he did for golf as Canada’s first golf writer. He set the stage for all of us who have read his work in a variety of publications. Canadian golf writers stand on Weir’s shoulders and at his side, learning from him and enjoying his work.”
Weir and Rutledge will officially join the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony taking place on Tuesday, June 7 during the RBC Hall of Fame Day as part of the 2023 RBC Canadian Open at Oakdale Golf & Country Club.
JIM RUTLEDGE… Jim Rutledge is one of Canada’s most accomplished touring professionals – and continues to compete to this day.
Born in Victoria, Rutledge was a celebrated junior and amateur golfer in British Columbia before winning the 1975 Canadian Juvenile Championship and the 1977 Canadian Junior Championship. He turned professional in 1978 and has spent the better part of the next four decades competing on golf tours all around the world.
Rutledge was a member of the European Tour (now DP World Tour) in 1990 where he finished a career-high 55th in the Order of Merit. He also competed in the 1990 and 1991 Open Championships. He made the cut in 1990 and finished tied for 57th.
Fast forward a decade and Rutledge was a member of the Nationwide Tour (now Korn Ferry Tour) from 2001-2009. He won his first event on that Tour in 2006 and finished 14th on the money list which earned him PGA TOUR status for 2007. Rutledge earned the distinction of being the second-oldest rookie in PGA TOUR history when he teed it up that season.
After turning 50, Rutledge has made several appearances on PGA TOUR Champions.
He has won on the PGA Tour of Australasia and on the Asian Tour, but most of Rutledge’s success has come in Canada. He is a six-time winner on the Canadian Tour (now PGA Tour Canada) along with the 1984 PGA of Canada championship and the PGA of Canada Senior Championship seven times including most recently in 2022.
Rutledge has also represented Canada at the World Cup three times and the Dunhill Cup twice.
He was inducted in the BC Golf Hall of Fame in 2011 and the PGA of Canada’s Hall of Fame in 2022.
ROBERT S. WEIR… Robert Stanley Weir was Canada’s first golf writer who wrote on the subject for over two decades.
Ninety articles have been uncovered so far while not all his works have been found. Weir wrote about golf as the sport established itself in Canada and the United States at the turn of the century and as World War I ended. His early work on golf could be found in Canadian Golfer, Golf Magazine (in both the U.K. and U.S.), Golfer’s Magazine, and Golf Illustrated. A collection of his golf writing is available here.
Weir joined esteemed golf writers such as Bernard Darwin, Jerome Travers, and Harold Hilton in the inaugural issue of Golf Illustrated. Darwin once said of Weir: “He has an easily intelligible method of explaining something, which is horribly difficult to explain.”
Weir’s work also appeared in Vanity Fair and Harpers Bazaar. He published two books of poetry, plenty of legal works and is perhaps best known for penning the English lyrics to Canada’s national anthem. Outside of his work chronicling the game, Weir was also a member of Royal Montreal Golf Club and Outremont Golf Club as well as a founding member of Kanawaki Golf Club where he served as the club’s first president in 1902. As a competitive player, he represented Canada as a team member at the 1920 International Match. Weir also served as a Board member with the Royal Canadian Golf Association (now Golf Canada) in 1905.
ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - MARCH 26: A projection onto the R&A club house during the 150th Open Celebration of Light on March 26, 2022 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)
Golf’s incredible journey celebrated like you’ve never seen before ⬇️
There are countless memorable golf shots witnessed while playing the game or experiencing on television. Tiger Woods is synonymous with many of those iconic shots, including his 2000 Canadian Open bunker shot at Glen Abbey Golf Club to solidify his rare status as a Triple Crown winner.
Outside of the professional tour ranks, it is another moment by a Canadian legend that included among the greatest shots in the storied history of amateur golf. With a one-stroke lead on the 18th hole at Wilmington Country Club during the 1971 U.S. Amateur Championship, Gary Cowan’s tee shot caught the last fairway bunker, kicked out, and left him with a shot in 4-inch rough, 135 yards from the green. The Kitchener native needed to bogey the hole, at a minimum, to force a playoff with American Eddie Pearce. A par, and Gary wins.
He grabs his 9-iron and swings, reliving the moment – “As I, and the hundreds of spectators crammed around the 18th green watched, the ball carried to the front of the green and began rolling. Initially, I was unhappy with my execution. I thought I had hit the ball too hard and yelled for it to stop. I lost sight of the ball as it started to skate towards the back of the green and the flagstick. That’s when I heard the spectators gasp. I thought, ‘maybe I hadn’t hit it too hard after all?’ I never imagined I had sunk the shot, but just then I heard somebody yell, “It’s gone in for an eagle!”
Gary Cowan is one of the most successful and revered amateur golfers of the past century. An honoured member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, he chose to write a memoir with journalist David McPherson about his life in golf in his new book “From Rockway to Augusta”. To mark the 50th anniversary of his second U.S. Amateur title, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame has partner with Cowan to create a website featuring some of the stories published in the book. The website launches on September 4th, the same day 50 years ago that that eagle launched Cowan into the records book for a second time.
Golf writer and fellow honoured member Lorne Rubenstein supplied the forward to the book and wrote, “Fifty years have come and gone, but I remember and can see Cowan setting up on the tee, taking very little time, and drilling his drive down the fairway. The golf ball curved a lot more in those days, but it curved only when Cowan wanted it to. He could hit any shot he wanted to, when he wanted to, and had proven himself one of the finest amateurs in the game. He was a world-class golfer.”
Golf pioneer and Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Jocelyne Bourassa passes away at 74
Jocelyne Bourassa (Bernard Brault/ Golf Canada)
Golf Canada and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum are sad to report the passing of Jocelyne Bourassa.
The Quebec golf legend was a pioneer and inspiration to young female golfers across the country for close to 60 years.
“I wouldn’t be here and able to talk about my career without Jocelyne,” said Lorie Kane who won four times on the LPGA Tour and was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2016.
“When I decided to turn pro in 1993 she was working with du Maurier to establish the du Maurier series so I was able to learn how to be a pro from one of the best.”
Kane said the lessons included dealing with sponsors and how to give clinics and how to make the game fun on the corporate level.
“All of those things helped elevate me to who I am today,” she says. “I think it was my second tournament I played in that series I was pretty nervous about how I might be accepted or treated and Jocelyne made a point of coming over to me and telling me I was welcome and that if I ever needed advice she was there for me.”
During her amateur career in the 1960s and 70s Bourassa won three Quebec Junior Championships (1963, 1964 and 1965) and four Amateur Championships (1963, 1969, 1970 and 1971).
She also won the Canadian Women’s Amateur in 1965 and again in 1971 and then turned pro the following year.
“She and I went head-to-head a lot as junior players,” says Sandra Post who has fond memories of her follow Canadian Golf Hall of Famer.
“We were competitors back then but as the years went on we became very good friends. She was so much fun to be around. Very popular and very talented.”
Bourassa joined the LPGA Tour in 1972 and won their Rookie of the Year award. That helped her garner the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award that year as Canada’s best female athlete.
The Shawinigan, Que., native was also named to the Order of Canada in 1972.
Her biggest professional victory came the following year when she captured the inaugural La Canadienne at the Municipal Golf Club in Montreal.
No other Canadian was able to win the Canadian Women’s Open until Brooke Henderson’s victory 45 years later in Regina.
Bourassa’s eight-year LPGA Tour career was cut short by injuries but she began a second career immediately by becoming the du Maurier Classic’s executive director.
Post says it was Bourassa who helped make that event one of the most popular on the LPGA Tour with the players.
“They updated the accommodations, and the hospitality wanting the players to have a great experience,” said Post. “At that time they were really cutting edge.”
Bourassa was active in helping promote golf in Quebec at all levels and served on the Quebec Golf Hall of Fame Committee from 2011 to 2019.
Bourassa was inducted into the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Quebec Golf Hall of Fame in 1996 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
The Golf Journalists Association of Canada honoured her in 2014 with their highest honour, the Dick Grimm Award, for a lifetime of service to the game.
“This is a sad day for Canadian golf,” said Meggan Gardner, head of Heritage Services for Golf Canada. “Jocelyne Bourassa was Canada’s first golfer to win an LPGA event in their home country but she took her national pride to the next level by helping to develop a competitive tournament series for women.
“Outside of her playing record, which is very impressive, she was a great mentor to golfers of all levels. Her legacy will continue to shine for many years to come.”
Bourassa, who was 74, had been battling dementia for several years.
Donations can be made in memory of Jocelyn to First Tee – Québec at this link.
Canadian Golf Hall of Fame Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Virtual Gala
The first full week of June brings warm weather, excitement for summer, and in normal times, the RBC Canadian Open. This year is extra special, as the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame celebrates 50 years of existence.
Despite the RBC Canadian Open’s cancellation due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it didn’t stop the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame from hosting its 50th anniversary with a virtual gala.
On Tuesday, June 8, co-hosts Bob Weeks and Gail Graham brought Canadian golf fans together with a one-hour ceremony, celebrating the sport’s rich history in this country.
“Although we aren’t allowed to commemorate this achievement in person, it doesn’t diminish the importance of this celebration,” said Golf Canada President Liz Hoffman.
The night began with Gail Graham interviewing Sandra Post, the 1988 Canadian Golf Hall of Fame inductee. The two reflected on Post’s career, where she became the first woman from Canada to compete on the LPGA Tour. Post won eight times on the LPGA Tour including the LPGA Championship in 1968.
“I was very privileged to represent the LPGA and Canada around the world,” Post said.
One of those memories was Adam Hadwin’s 59 at the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge. The Abbotsford, B.C. native recorded 13 birdies on the card that day, which at the time was the ninth sub-60 round in PGA Tour history.
Brooke Henderson occupied two top-10 moments; winning the CP Women’s Open in 2018 at Wascana Country Club in 2018 (#3) and becoming the winningest Canadian (man or woman) with nine titles following her victory at the 2019 Meijer LPGA Classic. Now, with 10 victories, Henderson reminisced on the importance of winning the CP Women’s Open in her career.
“CP Women’s Open has always been a big part of my life. Finally winning the tournament in 2018 was honestly a dream come true,” Henderson said.
Winning top honours was Mike Weir’s Masters victory in 2003. Weir converted a par putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff, which he won on the 10th hole. As the Sarnia, Ontario native continues to succeed on the Champions Tour, he still marvels at his major achievement 18 years ago.
“It somewhat feels surreal that happened so many years ago,” Weir said during the ceremony.
Weir became the first Canadian man to win a major golf championship. At that time, many of the current Canadian golfers on the PGA Tour were teenagers at the time, including Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes. Weir understands how this win inspired so many Canadians to believe they can succeed on the PGA Tour.
“I can’t say enough what he showed Canadians what can be done in golf,” said David Hearn when discussing the impact of Weir’s Masters victory.
“I very much enjoy encouraging these young guys on,” Weir said. “Any bit of advice that may be helpful, I relish that.”
GJAC Virtual Summit presented by RBC – Canadian Golf Hall of Fame & Museum
The Golf Journalists Association of Canada (GJAC) Virtual Summit presented by RBC on the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame & Museum took place May 12, 2021, which is part of an ongoing GJAC series intended to help membership stay connected, as well as to generate discussion and opportunities around important issues in the game.
GJAC Virtual Summits presented by RBC are one hour in length and are recorded for public viewing. You can watch this one below. The format consists of a moderated question and answer period, followed by a brief opportunity for questions from attendees.
Panelists for the event included:
Cathy Sherk – Honourable CGHF Member
Ted Fletcher – Son of Late Honourable CGHF Member Pat Fletcher
Meggan Gardner – Director, Heritage, Golf Canada
Garry McKay, GJAC Moderator
The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will be holding a virtual gala on June 8 as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. The FREE event will be co-hosted by Bob Weeks and Gail Graham.
Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum to celebrate 50th anniversary in 2021
The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum is inviting Canadians and golf enthusiasts to help celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021 by weighing in on the 50 most influential moments in Canadian golf.
The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame enlisted the support of golf leaders, media, and historians to help create a list of the 50 most influential moments in Canadian golf history. The moments will be showcased online and Canadians are invited to share in the history and vote on their favourite moments.
The 10 most moments receiving the most votes will be showcased on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 during the RBC Hall of Fame 50thAnniversary Gala presented by Nike Golf. The virtual gala celebration will take place on what would have been RBC Hall of Fame Day during the RBC Canadian Open which was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Following the virtual gala, the top moments will also be celebrated through social channels through the end of the 2021 season.
“Canada’s storied golf history is marked by the signature accomplishments of so many talented legends of our sport and the Top-50 Most Influential Moments voting celebration invites Canadians to share in the moments they feel are most meaningful,” said Golf Canada Director of Heritage Services Meggan Gardner. “While we won’t be able to celebrate in person, the virtual RBC Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Gala presented by Nike Golf lets us pivot to invite more golf enthusiasts to be a part of the celebration.”
The virtual gala will feature a video showcase of the top-10 greatest moments in Canadian golf as well as interviews with golfers or individuals connected to the moments. The gala will be co-hosted by a pair of honoured members – TSN golf personality Bob Weeks and former LPGA Tour player Gail Graham.
As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, an online auction is currently underway to raise legacy funding for the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum through the Heritage Fund of the Golf Canada Foundation.
Founded in 1971, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame began honour the legends of our sport, beginning with the inaugural induction class that included Ada Mackenzie, George Lyon, Charles Murray, Marlene Streit, George Cumming, and Sandy Somerville. To date, 83 honoured members and their accomplishments as players and builders of the game are showcased in the Hall of Fame and Museum along with history, innovations, and standout moments through the storied history of golf in Canada.
JOIN IN CELEBRATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CANADIAN GOLF HALL OF FAME
Doug Sanders, colourful RBC Canadian Open winner, dies
Doug Sanders (Golf Canada Archives)
Doug Sanders brought a flamboyance to golf fashion ahead of his time, a colourful character known as much for the 20 times he won on the PGA TOUR as the majors that got away.
Sanders died Sunday morning in Houston, the PGA Tour confirmed through a text from Sanders’ ex-wife, Scotty. He was 86.
Sanders was still an amateur when he won his first PGA Tour event in 1956 at the RBC Canadian Open in a playoff against Dow Finsterwald, and his best year was in 1961 when he won five times and finished third on the PGA Tour money list.
But he is best known for four runner-up finishes in the majors, the most memorable at St. Andrews in the 1970 British Open. He only needed par on the final hole of the Old Course to beat Jack Nicklaus, and Sanders was 3 feet away. He jabbed at the putt and missed it, and Nicklaus beat him the next day in a playoff.
“If I was a master of the English language, I don’t think I could find the adjectives to describe how I felt when I missed that short one,” Sanders said after the playoff, where Nicklaus beat him by one shot. “But that’s golf, and that’s the fascination of the game.”
Sanders also finished one shot behind Nicklaus in the 1966 British Open at Muirfield. He had a one-shot lead going into the final round of the 1961 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills and finished one behind Gene Littler, and he finished one shot behind Bob Rosburg in the 1959 PGA Championship at Minneapolis Golf Club.
The loss to Nicklaus took its place with other near-misses in golf, such as Scott Hoch at the 1989 Masters. Sanders once cited Walter Hagen saying no one ever remembers who finishes second.
“But they still ask me if I ever think about that putt I missed to win the 1970 Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I tell them sometimes it doesn’t cross my mind for a full five minutes.”
But there was never any mistaking Sanders, known as the “Peacock of the Fairways” for his Easter-egg collection of colours he wore on the golf course, even after he was done competing.
“The two most frequent questions on tour were, `What did Arnold Palmer shoot?’ and `What’s Doug Sanders wearing?”’ Sanders told Golf Digest in 2007.
Tommy Bolt once said of Sanders, “The man looks like a jukebox with feet.”
Also overlooked were his 20 victories on the PGA Tour, the last of which was the 1972 Kemper Open by one shot over Lee Trevino. He won at some of the bigger spots on tour, such as Colonial, the Western Open and Doral. When he won the RBC Canadian Open in 1956, it was 29 more years before another amateur – Scott Verplank – won on the PGA Tour.
Sanders played in one Ryder Cup, in 1967 in Houston, with Ben Hogan captain of what is regarded one of the best U.S. teams from that era of the matches.
He was born in Cedartown, Georgia, and played college golf at Florida.
Sanders stayed active after no longer competing, sponsoring the Doug Sanders Celebrity Classic for six years and a junior golf championship in Houston.