Over 100 Years of Tradition & Community

From clubhouse fires and relocating the golf course, to visiting political dignitaries, golf legends, and historic matches and tournaments, Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club has quite a storied past.

 

1910s


Starting the Club

Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club began as part of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s vision to create the most prestigious neighbourhood in Vancouver—Shaughnessy Heights. The private gentleman’s club was built by the CPR as an amenity for its new development on land it had been granted for building the transcontinental railway.

The Club was officially founded as Shaughnessy Heights Golf Club on April 26, 1911 when Richard Marpole assembled eight of Vancouver’s most successful businessmen, including: B.M. Humble, W.E. Burns, H.E. Ridley, Fordham Johnson, John Hope, J.E. McMullen, J. Poff and E.A.C. Studd.

This group formed the Club’s first members and directors.

Richard Marpole

Richard Marpole - General Executive Assistant of the CPR


Original Golf Course

The original golf course stretched between 33rd and 37th Avenues, east of Granville and across Oak Street. The Club hosted a “soft opening” of nine holes and a partially completed clubhouse on November 2, 1912.

When the back nine opened for play the following spring, Shaughnessy Heights boasted the only 18-hole golf course in Vancouver.

The Old Course

The “old course” with 13 holes west of Oak Street and 5 holes east of Oak – between 33rd and 37th.


Golf Professionals Bowden & Blinko (1912-1920)

The first club professional hired by the CPR, William Bowden was offered $75 per month in 1912 with an increase to $90 when the clubhouse opened.

William and Mrs. Bowden, who cooked and cleaned the clubhouse, earned extra cash from the sale of golf balls and equipment but if they topped $150 their salary was reduced.

Shaughnessy Heights’ second professional, Alfred Blinko arrived on July 1, 1913, and was offered terms similar to Bowden’s. His $75 per month salary included a room but he paid $25 per month for meals at the clubhouse. Blinko also earned income from golf lessons and the sale of clubs and balls, although the Club reserved the right to take back the sale of balls at any time.

Shortly after World War I broke out, Blinko signed up to serve overseas. During his absence, the Club’s Edinburgh-born caddie master, Charles Henry (“Big Mac”) MacDonald, took over the pro shop.

Alf Blinko in 1913

Alf Blinko (left) 1913 in a Tacoma gold tournament.

Alf Blinko in 1917

Alf Blinko tees off at Shaughnessy Heights in 1917.


Vardon and Ray Break Course Record

The 1913 U.S. Open made front-page news around the continent when 20-year-old Francis Ouimet became the first amateur to win the event, defeating seasoned British champions Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. Golf became an instant “glamour game.”

Following the Open, Vardon and Ray played at Shaughnessy, where both British visitors broke the course record of 70 with a 68 (Vardon) and 69 (Ray).

Harry Vardon, Ted Ray, James Braid and John Taylor

Harry Vardon (left to right), Ted Ray, James Braid and John Taylor


1st Fire

In the heat of late August 1916, the Club suffered one of its first serious setbacks when fire destroyed the wooden clubhouse, along with the Club’s correspondence, books and memorabilia.

President Marpole quickly arranged for the insurance company to pay total damages. The CPR called for competitive designs to replace the clubhouse, with a strict caveat that’s costs not exceed $20,000.

Original Shaughnessy Clubhouse

Original Shaughnessy Clubhouse; completed November 1912. Destroyed by fire in August 1916.


Replacement Clubhouse

The replacement clubhouse opened on the same site in May 1917 and was “even a more commodious and artistic structure,” according to Canadian Golfer.

Fire broke out again in 1930, but this time the clubhouse survived and was quickly repaired.

Replacement Shaughnessy Heights Clubhouse

Replacement Shaughnessy Heights Clubhouse; completed May 1917.


Shaughnessy Caddies

On a typical Saturday, as many as 100 young lads sat outside on the backless benches in front of the caddie shack, waiting to be called up by Shaughnessy’s first caddie master, Charles Henry (Big Mac) MacDonald.

For nearly 40 years (from the opening of the Club to the introduction of golf carts in the 1950s), Shaughnessy had the best-known caddies in the Lower Mainland, and they knew their game. A Shaughnessy caddie understood how every hole played, along with the rules, etiquette and proper manners.

Charles Henry MacDonald

Shaughnessy’s first caddie master, Charles Henry (Big Mac) MacDonald.

Caddies

1920s


Head Golf Professional, David Black (1920-1945)

Club directors scored a major coup for Shaughnessy when they lured David Lambie Black to the west coast. He had established an impressive record in eastern Canada, beginning at the Outremont Golf Club in Montreal then transferring to Rivermead, Ottawa.

For a quarter century, from 1920 to 1945, David Black entertained presidents, dignitaries and golf champions, while winning tournaments, teaching members and advancing the game.

He died at age 90, in 1974, and he will be remembered as one of the greatest Canadian golfers of his time.He was runner-up in the Canadian Open in 1911, missing first place by just one stroke. Two years later, he won first of four Canadian Professional Golf Championship titles: 1913, 1919, 1920 and 1921.

David Black

Shaughnessy Makes Headlines

It was a “magnificent” course with beautiful views and challenging play. Fairways and greens were “unsurpassed on the continent,” noted Canadian Golfer magazine in 1922.

Over the years, golf architect A.V. Macan developed plans to improve and extend the course, which included developing two “orphan holes” south of 37th Avenue.

PNGA Championship

PNGA Championship at the “Old Course” in 1924.


President Harding’s Last Round

U.S. President Warren G. Harding played golf at Shaughnessy Heights during his one-day visit to Vancouver on July 26, 1923. His group included CPR president and former Club president Frank. W. Peters. Head pro Davie Black and his son Ken caddied. The President complained of exhaustion on the course, and died a few days later in San Francisco.

Warren Harding

President Warren Harding, the 29th US President, at Shaughnessy Heights Golf Club in 1923.


1930s


Shaughnessy Attracts More Golf Stars

In 1934, 3,000 spectators lined the rolling green hills of Shaughnessy Heights for the rare chance to see the great Bobby Jones in action.

The extraordinary amateur had been a foremost figure in golf for years before he visited the Pacific Northwest. He had won every major golf title including the Grand Slam of Golf – at that time, the U.S. and British Open Championships, and both the U.S. and British Amateur Championships. No one has repeated this feat. Jones played with amateur star and local favourite Ken Black.

They were beaten one up by Shaughnessy pro Davie Black and Don Sutherland.

Don Sutherland, Bobby Jones, Ken and Davie Black

Golf stars lining up at Shaughnessy Heights in 1934. Don Sutherland, Bobby Jones, Ken and Davie Black


1940s


Shaughnessy Takes On Snead & Hogan

In 1945, local media predicted that Sam Snead and Ben Hogan would “tear old Shaughnessy’s par to pieces” in an October 10th 18-hole match challenge against Shaughnessy pro Fred Wood and former Shaughnessy caddie Stan Leonard.

Some 2,500 spectators crammed the fairways to catch a glimpse of the legendary players. Snead shot 35-35 to finish two under, and Hogan finished at par, 72. Wood was one under par, and Leonard finished at 73.

Sam Snead, Stan Leonard, Fred Wood and Ben Hogan

Sam Snead, Stan Leonard, Fred Wood and Ben Hogan


Head Golf Professional, Fred Wood (1945-1972)

An outstanding golfer and “deadly accurate putter,” Freddy started out as a caddie and scored some very impressive wins, including the B.C. Amateur in 1930, the B.C. Open in 1935, 1938, and 1939, and the Western Canada Open Championship in 1940. His greatest victory came in 1957 at the inaugural U.S. Senior Open where he defeated Gene Sarazen.

Freddy always made sure everyone was included—whether a new member or a single player hoping to meet other like-minded individuals to play with. He took the Club from its first location to its present home, and was host professional for the Canadian Open Championships in 1948 at Shaughnessy Heights and in 1966 at SW Marine Drive.

Fred Wood

Congdon Wins 1948 Canadian Open

In 1948, for the first time, the Canadian Open travelled west of Ontario, landing at Shaughnessy Heights Golf Club. Charles Congdon sealed his victory on the 16th hole with a 150-yard bunker shot that stopped eight feet from the cup. The following birdie gave him the lead, and Congdon went on to win by three shots.

Charles Congdon

1950s


"Little Babe" Puts on a Show

Local golfers learned a thing or two about women's golf—or at least "Little Babe's" talent—when the incomparable athlete strode into town. Nearly 3,000 spectators made their way to Shaughessy Heights on May 7, 1952, to see if Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias could stand up the the local pros in an exhibition match.

Zaharias was named Woman Athlete of the Year six times by Associated Press for her mastery in basketball, track and field, baseball, bowling, softball and tennis. She won two gold medals and a silver for track and field events inn the 1932 Olympics. She struck out Joe DiMaggio, then took up golf. She helped form the Ladies Professional Golf Asssociation, and won every major professional golf champioship at least once. She was also the first woman to play in a men's PGA tournament—the Los Angeles Open in 1938.

That afternoon at Shaughnessy, Babe put on quite a show, outdriving Capilano head professional Jock McKinnon as well as Stan Leonard and Freddy Wood. The visiting pros did end up winning the match however, and the incomparable Babe died of cancer four years later.

Capilano Club pro Jock McKinnon with Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Capilano Club pro Jock McKinnon with Babe Didrikson Zaharias at Shaughnessy, 1952.

"Little Babe" hitting out of a bunker

"Little Babe" hitting out of a bunker.


1960s


The Move

Shaughnessy Heights Golf Course operated on land leased from the CPR. The original term expired in 1928, and was extended a number of times until 1960. The membership had opportunity to buy the land in the late 1960s but determined that the $2 million price tag was too high.

From the late 1920s, the Club searched for, and considered buying or leasing, other sites including the present-day Oakridge Shopping Centre land and the property now home to the University Golf Club. For a variety of reasons these sites were deemed unsuitable. In the end, the 160-acre site on the Musqueam Reserve between the Fraser River and the Southwest Marine Drive was chosen. The Government of Canada negotiated a lease for use as a golf and country club until the year 2032.

At the time of the move the club name was changed from Shaughnessy Heights Golf Club to its present name, Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.

The New Course

Macan’s Masterpiece

Shaughnessy was the last championship-length golf course that A.V. Macan (1882-1964) designed in Canada. The Irish-born golf architect was highly regarded in the Pacific Northwest as a brilliant designer and an amateur golf champion in his earlier years.

A.V. Macan

Golf Architect, A.V. Macan


The New Course

The course was set in an east-west layout to maximize sun exposure. It played up to 7,100 yards, which was long in 1960, and had uniquely challenging “plateau-style” greens.

After 1964, changes were made by Geoffrey Cornish, and later by Norman Woods. Many other improvements followed, including work in 2005 to restore Macan’s original designs.

New Course
New Course

First Clubhouse at New SW Marine Drive Home

The contemporary clubhouse designed by Douglas C. Simpson was a dramatic departure from grand old Shaughnessy Heights. The new clubhouse and course cost approximately $1,237,000.

The grand opening took place on November 9, 1960.

The Old Course

Doug Massengale Wins 1966 Canadian Open

Shaughnessy reversed the front and back nine on the new course to improve camera coverage for the 47th Open. Among notable players were Jack Nicklaus, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Tom Weiskopf, Gene Littler, Doug Sauders, Al Balding and Billy Casper.

The winner was 29-year-old Texan Doug Massengale, with Rodriguez earning the number two spot.

Doug Massengale

LPGA Debut at Shaughnessy

Women’s golf in Vancouver got a major boost in 1969 when Shaughnessy hosted the LPGA Molson’s Canadian Open in September. The $30,000 purse was the biggest in Canadian history, and the third highest amount on the LPGA tour at the time.

The tournament was a revelation to some. “These girls hit the ball like a man,” exclaimed one Shaughnessy member.

The lanky 6’ 3” American, Carol Mann captured everyone’s attention. The 28-year-old faced a three-way tie with Kathy Whitworth and Sandra Post at the start of the final round. She managed to post a 72 for a 70-70-72 (total 212) finish.

Mann earned $4,012 in the tournament. Sandra Post tied for second place (215) with Kathy Whitworth.

Carol Mann

Carol Mann wins the LPGA Molson’s Canadian Open in September 1969.


1970s


Head Golf Professional, Len Collett (1972-1974)

With the impending retirement of Freddy Wood, Len Collett was recruited from the Marine Drive Golf Club in 1973 and became Shaughnessy’s fifth head golf professional.

Collett was personable and popular with the members, and he made a point of trying to play golf with as many members as possible. He was well respected for his excellent golf game and teaching abilities.

When Collett resigned in 1974, he went into the boating and yachting supply business. But he couldn’t stay away from golf for long. A few years later, he moved to Kelowna when Dick Munn offered him a job at Gallagher’s Canyon.

Len Collett

Head Golf Professional, Jack McLaughlin (1974-1991)

An extraordinary teacher, innovator, business entrepreneur and skilled organizer, Jack McLaughlin enthusiastically encouraged everyone, from kids to tour professionals. He is best known for initiating golf programs for juniors, aged four and up, but he capably oversaw all the Club’s golfing events. He left an enormous golf legacy in Canada, especially at Shaughnessy.

In 1985, Jack hired the first-ever woman golf professional in B.C., Ginny Golding, who was also the first assistant to teach full-time at Shaughnessy. In his all-too-brief career, Jack trained more club professionals than anyone else in Canada. In 2007, the Professional Golfers’ Association of British Columbia awarded Jack a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Shaughnessy’s “gentle giant of golf,” Jack McLaughlin died of a heart attack at age 57 on January 23, 1991 while golfing in Palm Springs. In March, 2013 Jack was nominated to be inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.

Jack McLaughlin

Tennis Comes to Shaughnessy—Again

Two tennis courts were built at Shaughnessy Heights Golf Course around 1920 but were phased out for lack of use, and to make way for rebuilding the 10th fairway. Shaughnessy members voted down the reintroduction of tennis several times over the decades, however, the naysayers eventually changed their tune. A motion to build a new tennis facility was approved in 1975.

Three years later, on September 24, 1978, Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club officially opened its new tennis facility with four indoor and three outdoor courts. Just after opening, the Club had recruited a total of 254 adult tennis players. In 2012 there were 460 tennis members.

Club Tennis

Head Tennis Professional, Tony Bardsley (1978-1991)

The tennis facility was still under construction when the Club recruited Tony Bardsley, a top ranked local tennis player, to be the Club’s first tennis pro. The timing proved to be ideal as Tony was able to offer valuable input into such design elements as the lighting system, the viewing lounge and teaching court.

Tony had competed on the nascent professional tennis tours (Grand Prix tour and World Championship Tennis) as well as the Davis Cup for Canada. In 1968 he was the number two ranked player in Canada as he finished runner-up at the Canadian Closed championship. He remained a top-four ranked Canadian singles player through to 1975. Following his long involvement at Shaughnessy, Bardsley started his own firm buying and renovating homes, and building and refurbishing tennis courts.

Tony Bardsley

1980s


3rd Fire

In the early morning hours of January 1, 1982, an inferno of flames destroyed the clubhouse along with cherished memorabilia and official records.

The tragedy resulted in new-found camaraderie as members pulled together in a trailer complex set up in the parking lot during the 18-month construction period. The Club’s insurance policy paid out $5.7 million to completely rebuild the clubhouse.

3rd Fire

Award Winning Design

On October 1, 1983, the new clubhouse was officially opened by the Honourable Robert G. Rogers; British Columbia’s 24th Lieutenant Governor (1983-1988) and a Shaughnessy member since 1961. A year later, the building’s design received an Honour Award from the Architectural Institute of British Columbia.

The New Clubhouse

1990s


Head Tennis Professional John Picken (1991-2002)

Canadian champion John Picken grew up in Burnaby and learned the game as a junior at Jericho Tennis Club in the 1960s. John played on Canada’s Davis Cup team, and won 19 national titles in singles and doubles. In 1991 he was number one in his age category, 35. Prior to his move to Shaughessy, John was co-owner of The Tennis Academy in Calgary, where he had worked for eight years.

Through his involvement with Tennis Canada and Tennis B.C., John brought in the organized tennis community, offering more events for non-members that would make the tennis scene at Shaughnessy more active.

In 2002 John elected to accept the head tennis professional position at Jericho Tennis Club.

John Picken

Head Golf Professional, Bruce Murray (1992-2003)

Bruce Murray was at Royal Montreal, the oldest private golf club in North America, when he learned of the opportunity at Shaughnessy. The west coast and Shaughnessy were appealing prospects for Murray, who had been at the Royal Montreal Club since 1977.

He came to Shaughnessy with great credentials: in 1981, he was awarded Master Professional status, the highest level of achievement for a golf professional in Canada.

Bruce Murray

The Fed Cup

Shaughnessy hosted the 1996 Fed Cup, the equivalent of the Davis Cup for women’s tennis. It was the first year the event was played as home-and-away one, similar to Davis Cup, so that players could compete in their own country. The international country-to-country tournament began in 1923 when the USA competed against Britain.

In 1996 Czechoslovakia was pitted against Canada. Cold and wet weather didn’t deter more than 300 members who came out to support the action on the outdoor courts on April 27th and 28th.

The Czech Republic defeated Canada 3-0 and advanced to the play-offs. The Cup was won by the United States who defeated Spain in the final held in Atlantic City.

The Fed Cup
The Fed Cup

Presidents & Prime Ministers

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Shaughnessy head pro Bruce Murray, Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chock Tong and U.S. President Bill Clinton played 18 holes at Shaughnessy in late November 1997 during the APEC Summit.

Murray refused to reveal the leaders’ scores, saying that they played equally well.

Jean Chretien, Bruce Murray and Bill Clinton

Jean Chretien, Bruce Murray and Bill Clinton at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in November 1997


2000s


Director of Tennis, Jerome Fournier (2002-present)

A Quebec City native, Jerome Fournier was the number one ranked junior in Canada and represented Canada in the Sunshine Cup (Junior Davis Cup). He was a two time National Junior Doubles Champion, and competed on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour until a back injury forced him to let go of his dream of becoming a professional tennis player.

A graduate from the University of Alabama, Jerome began his professional career as an assistant professional at the prestigious London Hunt Club, and later, as the Head Professional at the Greenhills Golf and Country Club, both located in London, Ontario. Jerome relocated to Vancouver, and by 2002 had accepted the position as Director of Tennis at Shaughnessy. Jerome has been instrumental in increasing the participation of tennis members at the Club as well as organizing a number of successful tennis fundraisers.

Jerome Fournier

Director of Golf, Scott Dickson (2003-2012)

Scott Dickson was head golf professional at Kiakwa Country Club in Winnipeg, and senior associate golf professional at Royal Montreal before migrating to the west coast. As Director of Golf, Scott uniquely combined old and new traditions. Old-style pros spent time with members and encouraged them to improve their game wheras contemporary pros like Scott focused more on management: showing leadership and organizing sponsorships and tournaments. Scott helped prepare for and host two Canadian Open events.

Scott was twice awarded Player of the Year and Provincial Champion by the PGA of Manitoba, and was recognized as “one of Canada’s Top 50 Instructors” by the National Post in 2005. In 2011 he was nominated as Golf Professional of the Year and Retailer of the Year by the PGA of BC.

Scott Dickson

Mark Calcavecchia Wins 2005 Canadian Open

Shaughnessy again hosted the Canadian Open with Bell Canada as the national sponsor. The Club made $2 million of improvements as part of its bid as host. The course was lengthened to 7,010 yards and par reduced from 73 to 70. Over 1,600 volunteers were recruited to assist in hosting the event.

Mark Calcavecchia led by three strokes after the third round and held on to win by one stroke over co-runners-up Craig Barlow and Jesper Parnevik.

Mark Calcavecchia

2010s


Sean O’Hair Wins 2011 Canadian Open

Shaughnessy hosted the $5.2 million RBC Canadian Open only six years later. The field world number one Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Paul Casey, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Sean O’Hair as well as 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

The Open was won by Sean O’Hair with Kris Blanks in runner-up position after a one hole playoff on the 18th.

Sean O’Hair

Director of Golf Alan Palmer (2012-present)

Born in London, Ontario, Alan grew up in Montreal, and represented The Royal Montreal Golf Club as an amateur golfer. Passionate about the game and business potential of golf, Alan earned a Bachelor of Business in the Professional Golf Management program at Georgian College, where he played on the Georgian Grizzlies men’s varsity golf team. He is also a graduate of Cornell University’s Executive Leadership program.

Since turning professional, Alan has had the opportunity to be part of the professional staff at some of the world’s greatest golf facilities, including The Country Club at Brooklin, Augusta National, St. George’s Golf & Country Club and Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club.

Alan Palmer