1910 – 1912: The Vancouver Golf Club is Founded
In the first decade of the new 20th Century Vancouver was booming. The only golf course in the area was the nine-hole Jericho Golf and Country Club (disbanded in 1942) near Spanish Banks on English Bay, and it was overcrowded. A group of expat British golfers decided that something needed to be done.
On November 11th, 1910, the five men – Philip Brooks (lumberman), Ewen Robertson (barrister), Fred Furnival (broker), James Duncan (broker) and John Brown (retired) – met in the offices of McEvoy, Whiteside and Robertson in the Carter-Cotton Building at 56 Hastings Street in Vancouver, and put their signatures to “The Articles of Association of the British Columbia Golf Club Limited”. The Club was registered under the Companies Act of 1910 on November 19th, 1910.
The BC Golf Club founders wisely opted to buy land that they would own outright rather than lease, in contrast to many other BC clubs (Jericho G&CC was founded on land leased from the Federal Government, and Shaughnessy Heights G&CC on land leased from Marathon Realty / Canadian Pacific). The property that they decided upon was a former 200 acre sheep farm in Coquitlam on the west side of Blue Mountain, then owned by William Austin, half of which was already cleared.
It took only two months to ready the first nine holes for play, and the BC Golf Club officially opened on June 24th, 1911. In a nine-hole exhibition match featuring Alex Duthie and Jimmy Yellowlees (the eventual first and several time Club Champion), Duthie amazingly scored back to back holes-in-one at the third and fourth holes.
The building of the second nine holes through virgin forest was a much longer and more arduous task, but well worth the effort. It took place under the watchful eyes of Jericho Pro Alex Duthie, a Carnoustie transplant, and H.T. (Mike) Gardner, an engineer originally from Skelmorlie in the West of Scotland, who brought with him the VGC’s first greenskeeper, S.H. Cowan from Ayrshire.
At the June 17th, 1912 Directors’ Meeting in Vancouver, Yellowlees moved that “the name of the playing club occupying the premises at the B.C. Golf Club Ltd. be known as ‘The Vancouver Golf and Country Club'”. In 1942, the Club was renamed the Vancouver Golf Club.