Golf Playing Through: Golf, the Canadian Story

Golf Comes to Canada: 1850 to 1900  
Canadian Clubs and Contests The Gutta-percha Ball Evolving Equipment Carrying Bags

Canadian Clubs and Contests

The first golf club established in North America was the Royal Montreal Golf Club, founded in 1873. Close on its heels were the Royal Quebec Golf Club in 1875, the Toronto Golf Club in 1881, and the Royal Ottawa in 1891.

Golf Match between the Quebec and Montreal Clubs - 994.9.24 - CD97-385-065
Figure 11: A coloured sketch of golfers participating in "The Golf Match between the Quebec and Montreal Clubs, on Fletcher's Field, Montreal," which appeared in the Canadian Illustrated News in October 1880, provides a glimpse of early Canadian golf (detail).
CMC 994.9.24

As the development of Canada crept westward, so did golf. The first course in the west was constructed at Stoney Mountain at Winnipeg in 1889 and the Winnipeg Golf Club was formed in 1894. Calgary followed in 1895 and Regina in 1899. In British Columbia golf clubs were established at Vancouver in 1892 and at Victoria in 1892.

By the 1890s, the popularity of golf was exploding in Canada. Better social and health conditions, the proliferation of the use of the bicycle, and more freedom for women, may all be reasons for the growth of the sport. Although women have been involved in golf since the earliest times, there was a dramatic increase in the participation of women as the golf boom spread across Canada. The first Ladies Section in Canada was formed at the Royal Montreal Golf Club as early as 1892.

With the proliferation of golf clubs and courses came the first Canadian golf tournaments. The initial Canadian Amateur tournament was held in 1895 and the first Canadian National Ladies' Championship in 1901. George S. Lyon, Olympic Champion in 1904, won eight of the Canadian Amateur Championships between 1898 and 1914.