The 1898 genesis of the Old Cobourg Golf Club that was located at the corner of Elgin and Division Streets was perhaps unique for a relatively small Ontario community. Its creation was due largely to the initiative, vision and cooperation or prominent local citizens and 6 American industrialists whose footprint may still be found in the remaining stately summer homes that are part of the Brookside Youth Centre situated on #2 Highway at the eastern edge of Cobourg.
The first clubhouse was erected east of Ontario Street in 1898 and the fairways and greens were cut by a horse drawn mower. A number of the fairways were interrupted by a railway spur line which complicated play because there was no apparent reference or penalty application for such a hazard in the official rules of golf.
In 1900 the Directors included W.J Crossen, President, Col. Irwin, Vice-President, L.E. Horning, Secretary and E.H. Osler, Treasurer. The professional was Thomas Lawlor and W.H. Furber was the caretaker.
In 1914, the clubhouse was moved to the intersection of Elgin and Division Streets, enlarged and remodelled. More land facing on Division St had been acquired. The course west of the railway tracks was sold. While ladies always played golf when it opened, they didn’t play with men. Two parallel courses – a gents’ and a ladies’ – were laid out so that both sexes could play at the same time.
In the late 1930s membership dwindled as old members left and few young people took up the game. The Club was rejuvenated in 1943 when a limited company was formed. David Dick was President, R.G. Parker was Vice-President and Jack Allen was Secretary-Treasurer. During those war years of 1939-1945, while many men and some women were serving in the military, the profile of the women members became more prominent as they continued with friendly tournaments and social activities. After World War II and with the consequent post war prosperity, there was a surge in membership. Exposure of the game through television only served to further increase the demand for the game locally.
In 1946 the Cobourg Galloping Ghosts won their first Canadian championship on the fifth hole of the Cobourg Golf Club.
By 1948, the Cobourg facility was considered to be one of the most beautiful 9-hole courses in Canada. It was described as having modern facilities and extensive “comforts” for the tired golfer or eager observer. The clubhouse was described as being situated between a stand of poplar trees to the south of the building and scenic rural beauty to the north. The 9th hole fairway and green were easily visible from the 12-foot verandah and must have been a pleasant evening vista for people as approaching golfers completed their round. Over the years the clubhouse became a social hub hosting weddings and dances as well as providing post competition dinners for visiting golf teams from Lindsay, Belleville, Port Hope and Trenton.
The officers of the Club for that fiftieth-year celebration were J.C.M. German, President, Reg Stuart, Vice-President, Jack Allen, Secretary-Treasurer. The Professional was Lionel Ross.
In the late 1960s, the local membership began the process of examining the prospects for amalgamating with the Port Hope golf course to establish a new championship quality 18-hole course and a 4-sheet curling club near the corner of Theatre Road and Dale road. On May 17, 1972, the membership of the two respective towns course voted near unanimously to proceed with the project. The main reasons that motivated this project were overcrowding and the attendant slowdown in play, no room for expansion of the 9-hole courses and concern for large increases in membership fees. The transition committee was chaired by Dick Jeffery and other members included Burnet Harnden, Harold Blow, Bob Bradford, Don Grant, Barry King, Don Markle, Harvey Brent and Boyd Hendry.
The impressive Dalewood Golf Club began operation in 1974 and today is the centrepiece of a thriving local golfing scene in Northumberland County that includes 10 other attractive and well-groomed courses within approximately a 40-minute drive of downtown Cobourg.
As a footnote to the history of the old Cobourg course, the original site is now occupied by commercial development including a car dealership and a sprawling residential development. Perhaps the only remaining physical vestiges of the club may be found in some long over grown divots and lost golf balls found in the Anglican Cemetery that bordered the course and is occupied by some of the ardent and “faithful” golfers who once graced the fairways and greens of the venerable course.
Cobourg Golf News
Cobourg Sentinel-Star May 15, 1963
John Hayden Shoots 39 in Men's League
Threatening weather didn't prevent 58 golfers from teeing off Monday night in the first Industrial Men's League matches of the season at the Cobourg Golf and Curling Club. Professionals were the low net team winner with 222 strokes. On the team were Bob Parnall, Bob Bradford, John Funnell, Harvey Brent, Dr Dave Wilson and Bob Gibson.
In matches played Merchants beat Insurance Agents, CGE 2 defeated CGE 1, 26-COD 1 topped 26-COD 2, General Foods 1 whipped General Foods 2 and Professionals beat Tom's Auto Body.
John Hayden fired a 39 over the 9-hole course to grab low gross honors. Tom Krakenburg was next with 41. Captain E Brost had the low net with 34. Runner-up was Lou Evans with 35.
Marlene Stewart Streit, Canada's most renowned female amateur golfer was in Cobourg yesterday afternoon to play club pro, Stan Morris, in an exhibition match. Mrs Streit, not as active now as a few years ago when she won tournament after tournament, recently returned from Augusta, Georgia, where she placed 6th in the Titleholder's Tourney. Mrs Streit and Stan Morris were friends when both called Fonthill their home course. Mr Morris was assistant pro there then. Marlene now resides in Toronto.
Cobourg ladies held their opening meeting and golf here Saturday. Of the 13 who played golf Jean Gibson emerged with the low net of 73. Doris Hircock was runner-up with 78. Jeanne White was the 9-hole winner with a 40 net. Thirty-six ladies took part in the bridge party won by Eva Byam. A buffet supper and meeting followed, President Eleanor Ingamellis acting as chairman.
Reviewed August 2020