After the war people had more time for recreation and golf grew in popularity. The Saskatoon Phoenix reported in 1921 that the popularity of the royal and ancient game was increasing every year. There were now 188 golf courses in Canada, with 25 in Saskatchewan. The Swift Current area exemplified the extraordinary formation of new clubs – last year there were only clubs in Swift Current and Maple Creek but this year nine-hole courses were available in eleven other towns in the area. (Saskatoon Phoenix, 1921, Aug. 17, p. 9)
In 1926 Saskatchewan Golf Association President Bob Charlton surveyed the province, reporting that there were 100 golf clubs in Saskatchewan. Twenty-two of these were affiliated with the SGA and 78 were not. Calculating that there were an estimated 3,000 golfers in the three major cities of Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, and that smaller clubs had from 20 to 100 at each, he declared that there were about “8000 wielders of driver and mashie in Saskatchewan.” (Morning Leader, 1926, Apr 27, list of all 100 clubs).
1920: Regina Golf Club, August 3-6
Alex Weir of Weyburn was a popular winner of the Saskatchewan Men’s Amateur as he had been the runner-up or a semi-finalist for five previous years. More women than ever before were entered in the ladies’ championship. Mrs. Parry of Regina won the title over Effie MacDonald. The mixed foursomes’ event was popular with 23 couples entering and it needed a tie-breaker the next day to determine the winner. A new competition was added for veterans which attracted 19 entries. This eventually evolved into the Senior Men’s Championship.
George Ayton, Regina Golf Club professional, won the Open Championship then left immediately to take part in the American golf championship starting on August 7 in Toledo. Later in August he competed at the Canadian Open in Ottawa.
1921: Saskatoon Golf Club, August 16-19
During the qualifying round for the Saskatchewan championship Alex Weir set a new amateur record for the Saskatoon Golf Club when he scored 73. However, he didn’t hold that title long as he was surpassed two days later by Harry Bruce parring the course at 72. Immediately following his Saskatchewan Amateur win, Bruce headed to Winnipeg for the Canadian Amateur competition.
In the women’s event, four golfers played off to fill the final spot in the sixteens of the championship event. Mrs. Boyd of Saskatoon won the title. Thirty-two teams entered the mixed foursomes’ competition.
1922: Moose Jaw Golf Club, August 21-25
Moose Jaw Golf Club members and their professional Sandy Middleton worked hard over several years to have an eighteen-hole course in good shape to host a provincial tournament. All but two greens were grass, fairways were in good condition, and the course was well bunkered. A few days before the tournament a work bee of over 100 filled hollows and gopher holes on the course. They were rewarded with favourable comments from the 148 entrants. The course played at par 70 over 6,020 yards.
During the competition, Effie MacDonald of Saskatoon set a women’s course record of 93. Moose Jaw members were thrilled when their clubmate, Marion Hunt, won the women’s championship after a runner-up finish a few years earlier.
The first Saskatchewan Junior Men’s championship was held for boys 16 and under. Ten entered the competition, with the final match played between Reg Young and W. Kinnear Jr, both of Saskatoon. Unfortunately, on the nineteenth hole, Kinnear picked up his ball, assuming that a short putt had been conceded. It had not been and the match went to Young whose name went on the trophy donated by E.G. Cook of Moose Jaw.
1923: Wascana Country Club, August 6-11
The Wascana course played at par 70 over 6,001 yards. On the first day of competition 146 men teed off in pairs at five-minute intervals from 8:30 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.
The Professionals’ event attracted twenty competitors: eight came from Winnipeg, two from Edmonton, one from Brandon, and nine from Saskatchewan. Large galleries followed the players as they vied for over $500 in prizes. Joe Land, the green-keeper at St. Charles C.C. in Winnipeg, scored 148 to win the two-round event, beating George Daniel from Winnipeg by one stroke.
It’s never fun to golf in bad conditions, and the newspaper reported: “Under appalling weather conditions the ladies set out in the morning for the second round of their championship, facing a downpour of rain driven along by a tempestuous wind.” (Morning Leader, Aug 11, p.16) Mrs. Hunt of Moose Jaw defended her title.
The SGA announced that Eilers’ Ltd. had presented a cup for competition among the veteran players. S. Crookson, Regina GC, won the 1923 event over J.K. Hunter of Wascana.
Delegates from Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan formed the Western Canada Golf Association (WCGA), adopted a constitution, and agreed to hold its first tournament in Saskatchewan next year.
1924: Western Canada Golf Association – 1st tournament, Saskatoon, August 9-16
The Western Canada Golf Association held its first tournament in Saskatoon. The President of the organization was R.C.S. Bruce of Winnipeg and directors represented the three prairie provinces. A 15-member tournament committee oversaw eight separate championships plus a driving competition held on the final day. Players paid a five-dollar entry fee to compete in all events for which they were eligible. Competitions were held at Riverside Country Club, playing at 5920 yards and Saskatoon Golf Club, playing at 6034 yards, both at par 70. The committee set the caddy fee at 75 cents a round and needed 200 caddies for the start of the competition.
A Morning Leader reporter was sent to Saskatoon to cover the tournament and wrote that Regina players were unaccustomed to the pot-holes and traps or the sloping and rolling greens. It was so different from what players in the Capitol City were used to and presented a more severe test than to those who were used to them. Riverside “makes up in devilment what it may lack in length.” (Morning Leader, Aug. 12)
President Miley and the executive of the Saskatchewan Golf Association were re-elected for the following year. There were no separate Saskatchewan championships held this year and no women’s events at all. A Saskatchewan junior champion was declared after the first round of play, resulting in Reg Young of Saskatoon claiming first place with 85 and Tommy Russell of Moose Jaw in second place with 87. The Saskatchewan Closed Amateur gold and silver medals were awarded after two rounds to A.A. Weir, Saskatoon, at 156 and J.P. Runciman, Regina, at 160.
The Western Canada Amateur Golf Championship was open to all amateurs, and the winner received the Wood’s Trophy and a gold medal. Two qualifying rounds resulted in a field of 64, then match play determined the finalists. Jack Cuthbert of Winnipeg won over Sam Thorburn, SGCC, on the 35th hole at Riverside Country Club.
The Open Championship, available to both professionals and amateurs, was won by George Daniel, Winnipeg, over J.D. Millar. Seventeen pros competed for the four-round Professional Championship and $500 prize money. During the first day of play, professional Ernest Penfold from Winnipeg set a course record at the Saskatoon Club with a score of 68. He ended up in a second-place tie with Joe Land, as George Daniel took this title.
The Junior Championship for boys under age 17 started with an eighteen-hole qualifier to determine the sixteen to play the championship matches. Reg Young of Saskatoon won the cup and gold medal, defeating Ronald Bannister of Winnipeg 5 and 4.
Provincial associations chose an eight-man team to vie for a 36-hole team title which was won by Saskatchewan. Clubs entered four-man teams in the Club Team competition won by St. Andrews, Calgary, over Riverside Country Club.
A handicap competition was divided into two sections: C.A. Fleming of Alsask won the gold medal for the 16 and over handicap category, and T.D. Forbes won for those with handicaps of 15 and under. (ref: Western Canada Golf Association Programme, 1924).
The first annual WCGA meeting chose Lorne Johnson of Wascana to be the next President. Calgary was selected for the 1925 tournament, then it moved around the prairies until it was held for the final time in 1932.
1925: Moose Jaw Golf Club, August 10-16
Moose Jaw hosted the 1925 Championships on links that were in splendid condition, with three new greens added since holding the event three years earlier.
Seventeen-year-old Tommy Russell of Moose Jaw won the Junior competition then prevailed in his amateur matches to reach the final against C.P. Church of Regina. Tommy, described by the newspaper as “almost slim enough to fit through the barrel of a rifle”, came in after the morning eighteen holes four down to his much more experienced opponent. However, he surged through the afternoon round winning eight holes outright. Two to three hundred spectators watched the final holes as Tommy won 2 up on the 17th to become the new Saskatchewan Amateur Champion. Although he had not planned on it, local admirers influenced him to go to Calgary for the second Western Canadian Championship. So, a few hours after his success, he was rushed to the station and packed onto the Trans-Canada train in order to arrive early Monday in time to compete. The first Western Canadian Golf Championship had created a lot of interest and the Moose Jaw pro, Sandy Middleton, junior players Ronnie McIntyre of Moose Jaw and Phil Morse of Saskatoon, Phil’s father, and five Regina golfers were among those who made the trip to the Calgary Golf and Country Club.
William Kidd took holidays from his banking job in Shaunavon to play in the provincial championships. Although he gave up golf for several years after leaving the Old Country, he now practiced on the nine-hole links at Shaunavon. “Along with other south country players, he located in a tent near the links here and has been on the course from daylight to dark every day.” It was remarkable that he eclipsed all other amateurs and professionals to win the Open Championship with a 156. He was elected vice-president of the Saskatchewan Golf Association that week as well and planned to go on to the Westerns in Calgary. (Morning Leader, Aug 12, p.22 of Aug. 11)
As always, prizes were presented by Sir Frederick Haultain following the finals. The amateur winner received a gold watch, and the runner-up a diamond and pearl pin; the ladies’ champion received a gold bracelet watch and the runner-up silver candlesticks; the junior winner got a silver wrist watch and the runner-up a golf bag. The professional championship prize of $20 was won by W. Goodwin, the new pro at the Citizen’s Club in Moose Jaw who had been too busy improving the course to practice much.
AMERICAN GOLFERS VISIT SASKATCHEWAN:
The original schedule of the provincial championship was tweaked so golfers would have time to take in a special event. Two hundred American golfers in two trains were on a 17-day tour of the Pacific Northwest and on their way back to Chicago they stopped in Moose Jaw to play. After an evening of “Bacchanalian revels” the group arrived in Regina early in the morning, insisting on motoring right out to the local golf clubs. The Americans had a royal time in the capital as a carnival spirit prevailed.
An exhibition game featuring four celebrity golfers was played in each city on their tour. 450 Regina spectators paid one-dollar admission to the Barracks course to see two well-known pros oppose two outstanding amateurs. “Long Jim” Barnes was fresh from his win at the British Open. He emigrated to America in his teens and became one of the most popular professionals in the game and author of a voluminous textbook for professionals.
Jock Hutchison, born at St. Andrews, won the British Open in 1921 and came to America to be the pro at the Pittsburg golf course. He was known as “probably the best wit among professional golfers, attracting bevies of followers wherever he plays to listen to his Scotch burr and his amusing comments on the game and especially his own play.”
Chick Evans was the U.S. Amateur winner in 1916 and 1920 and runner-up twice, holder of 88 records, a stylist to perfection and familiar with every shot in the game. He had written a book of his experiences and thousands of articles for newspapers and periodicals on the technique and glories of the game of golf.
Capt. Ernest C. Carter, born at Blackrock, County Dublin, had won the Irish Amateur Closed Tournament in 1919 and 1921, other Irish championships and the Welsh amateur. He had made numerous holes in one.
In the Regina contest Jock Hutchison negotiated the course in 3 under par 67. His partner, “Long Jim” Barnes played the round in 69. “The gallery was entertained to a beautiful display of golf, and they showed their appreciation in a vigorous manner. The driving was followed with keen interest, and the approaches with bated breath … Barnes is not built to wear knickers and prefers to sport Prince of Wales trousers on the golf course, but this detail in no way interferes with his game.” The lanky Englishman took 36 strokes on each side for 72. Evans missed four putts in a row by the fraction of an inch, but he is a cheerful loser, and he took his hard luck with a smile, finishing with 69. Carter, holder of the Irish championship, astonished those who had been inclined to underestimate him. His driving was particularly fine. Hutchison gave as pretty and finished a display of good golf as has ever been seen in Regina. Most of the players remained on the links until train time, when the party was given a warm send-off to Winnipeg. (Morning Leader, Aug. 12-14, 1925)
1926: Regina Golf Club and Wascana Country Club, August 2-7
Both courses were dry from the prolonged drought and high winds prevailed on the first two days of the tournament. A storm on Wednesday night flattened the office tent, mutilating all records and greatly inconveniencing the tournament committee. Things were quickly put back to normal and the tournament finished with fine weather.
The SGA cash book lists each competitor and the entry fee: men paid $4 or $2, women paid $2, pros $2 and juniors $1. (SGA Cash Book, pp 76-82.)
Russ Smith had to win a nine-hole playoff to get into the championship flight, then went on to win the tournament 3 and 2 over Tommy Russell of Moose Jaw.
Twenty-five of the thirty-two competitors in the women’s event were from Regina. Gladys Rideout of Wascana won 2 up over Mattie Boyles of the Regina Golf Club. The women had always held their championship in conjunction with the men’s tournament but this was the last year that happened. A Saskatchewan Section of the Canadian Ladies Golf Union was formed and plans were made to hold separate events in the future.
Eleven juniors competed, with George Bigelow of Wascana winning 4 and 3 over M.L. Tasker of Regina Golf Club.
The newly-formed Western Canada Professional Golfers’ Association attracted sixteen entries for the inaugural event: eight professionals from Winnipeg, one from Edmonton and seven from Saskatchewan. Joe Land of Winnipeg won the title and $100 in prize money with his four-round score of 299, while Hugh Fletcher, also of Winnipeg, took the $75 second prize. Land also won the Saskatchewan Open while another Winnipeg pro, George Daniel, took second.
The SGA took in $367 in affiliation fees from clubs around the province. Each year an honorarium was paid to the Tournament Secretary and the Honorary Secretary.
1927 Men: Moose Jaw Golf Club, July 25-29
Moose Jaw held the Saskatchewan tournaments concurrently with the Western Canada Golf Championship. The Saskatchewan Amateur was played as 36 holes of medal play over the first two days. Young Tommy Russell scored 153 on his home course to edge out an old St. Andrews player, T.D. Forbes of Riverhurst.
“Little Freddie” Fletcher, the 25-year-old pro at Moose Jaw, amazed the field by winning the Open with a lame leg that didn’t affect his game in the least. (Apparently his left leg was badly wounded overseas and sometimes he used a bicycle to travel the fairways between holes.) (Bradley, p. 63) A few days later he received the Kinnear Cup, a gold medal and $200 for winning the four-round Western Canada Professional Championship with a score of 293.
A small number of juniors competed. William Hudson of Calgary won the WCGA title over John Bigelow of Regina, but no Saskatchewan Junior titlist was declared.
Tommy Ross of Regina drove a tee shot right smack behind a telegraph pole, which prompted him to apply to the CNR to have the pole removed from the course. He was quoted as saying ‘another stroke gontoell.’ Another player complained strongly after his pitch shot to the green hit an oil can that had been left there.
A Veterans’ event had been part of SGA tournaments since 1920, but this year a Saskatchewan Senior Men’s event for those over 55 was held for the first time. A Senior Golf Association was formed, electing James Balfour of Regina the president, and General Tuxford of Moose Jaw the vice-president. Interestingly, these were the two finalists in the competition, with Tuxford coming out on top.
1927 Women: Wascana Country Club, August 8-12
The Saskatchewan Branch of the Canadian Ladies’ Golf Union was organized on Sept 16, 1926 with the national president, Mrs. L. Murray, in Regina for the occasion. Nine clubs affiliated with the Branch that first year. Mrs. Gladys Rideout of Wascana was elected the first president and the first women’s tournament was held there in 1927. Forty-eight women played in the qualifying round then were placed in three flights. A close final match ended on the twentieth hole when Mrs. J. Blair’s thirty-yard chip found the hole to win the championship over Mrs. Rideout. A team from Regina Golf Club was the first winner of the handsome new silver trophy presented by the Regina Trading Company. Thirty-four pairs entered the mixed foursomes event, won by Mr. & Mrs. W. Knight Wilson. The busy social schedule included a banquet and meeting, two dances, a luncheon and the prize presentation on Friday afternoon.
1928 Men: Saskatoon Golf Club, August 6-11
110 amateur competitors entered the provincial championship. O.S. Wakeford of Saskatoon was thrilled when his mashie shot on the seventh hole took two hops and lodged in the cup for a hole-in-one. The newspaper described this shot as a “dodo”. (Star-Phoenix, Aug. 10, p.9)
Eighteen professionals competed in the Open Championship, won by Tom Ross of Regina, and the Professional Championship, won by Jimmie Rimmer of Jasper Park with 288.
Prizes were presented by golf enthusiast Sir Frederick Haultain for the fifteenth successive year.
Following the final match in the Saskatchewan Amateur, won by Phil Morse 8 and 7 over J.D. Millar, both Saskatoon players were invited to play an exhibition match against two of Britain’s best-known professional golfers. Archie Compston and Aubrey Boomer were touring Canada and the United States. Close to 200 spectators took in this contest, won by the Brits 3 and 2.
The Western Canada Golf Association held its tournaments in Edmonton – at Mayfair Golf Club for the men and Edmonton Golf and Country Club for the women.
1928 Women: Riverside Country Club, August 6-10
The provincial women’s championships were held concurrently at Riverside Country Club. After 64 women registered, a fourth event was quickly added to the competition. Tee times were scheduled every five minutes. Ideal weather and an excellent course made for a pleasant week, topped by Hilda Yule winning over her clubmate Lillian Myers by a score of 5 and 4 to take the Dunlop Tire and Rubber Company trophy.
At the annual meeting a position of Honorary President with voting power was created. This was filled by Gladys Rideout who had guided the organization through its first two years. Mrs. R.R. Morgan of Saskatoon was voted incoming president. Appreciation was voiced for the spring visits of national CLGU president Mrs. Murray and Ada Mackenzie who stopped in Regina and Moose Jaw on their national tour.
The team trophy, won this year by host club Riverside, was to be determined in future by the four lowest scores for each club in the opening day qualifying round instead of choosing four competitors ahead of time.
1929 Men: Wascana Country Club, August 5-9
The Wascana course played 6,009 yards, 34-36 for a par 70. One hundred golfers teed off at four-minute intervals in the Amateur competition. Regina fans following the final match were discouraged after the morning game as Phil Morse of Saskatoon had a four-stroke lead over Fred Dorr. However, the Morning Leader reporter stated that the four-stroke lead was none too many against the well-known Regina percussionist.
“the Capitolian maestro of the drums and tinkling cymbals staking a wonderful comeback on the 12th hole which raised great hopes in the breasts of the Regina contingent of the gallery. The spectators thoroughly enjoyed the pyrotechnic display of fireworks for four consecutive holes, only to see him sputter out like a damp squib on the 16th green. It was another striking example of the failure of an able-bodied golfer with an expensive eight-dollar putter to sink a condemned golf ball into an infernal hole, only 18 gosh-darned inches from start to finish of the putt. It is one of the unsolvable mysteries in the game of golf why so many putts of less than two feet from the hole refuse to drop into that catastrophic cavity!” (Morning Leader, Aug. 10, 1929, p. 13 by John W. Harrison)
Twenty-year-old Phil Morse successfully defended his Saskatchewan title 2 and 1. The Junior Championship went to Otto Anderson who won over another Saskatoon player, Arnold Lozo.
Saskatchewan sent its first interprovincial team to Jasper, AB for the third Willingdon Cup championship, but came in last of the six provincial teams. Phil Morse, William Kidd, A.R. McIntyre and N.C. Byers made up the team.
The Western Canada Golf Association held its tournament in Jasper concurrently with the Canadian events. The Saskatchewan Golf Association voted at its annual meeting to sever relations with the WCGA.
1929 Women: Moose Jaw Golf Club, August 12-15
Mrs. R.R. Morgan of Saskatoon was elected president of the CLGU Saskatchewan Branch for this year, but by the time the tournament opened in August, Mrs. F.R. Nason of Moose Jaw was listed as ‘acting president.’ There were now twelve affiliated clubs, and Swift Current and Humboldt had been parred by the women.
Mrs. Rideout took the provincial championship, winning 6 and 5 over Mrs. Gill of Moose Jaw. A driving competition and a putting contest were held along with the championship.
This publication was produced by provincial golf historian Lori Harvie.