Business Profiles

Napanee Golf and Country Club

   When the Napanee Golf and Country Club opened in 1897, it failed to even earn a mention in The Napanee Beaver.
   Since then, however, the little nine hole course has woven its way into the fabric of the community, undergoing only a few subtle changes while the rest of the town grew around it. That 120-year history will be celebrated on Aug. 12 as the NGCC holds an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
   “The Canadian Open is only 113 years old,” points out NGCC vice-president Michael Stockfish. “This golf course is 120, so that really puts it in perspective. Even the British Open is only 140.”
   During the open house, members of the NDCC board will speak of some of the highlights of the course, many of which were compiled into a book titled A History of Golf In Napanee From 1897 by Art and Cathy Hunter.
   They’ll detail its humble beginnings as land owned by Richard Cartwright, a prominent Napanee resident, and cabinet minister of Sir Wilfred Laurier who was also an avid golfer. Shortly after its opening, a new course was designed for play on May 3, 1907.
   In 1926 land was acquired to build the club house that, despite a few additions over the years, still serves as the course’s current club house.
During the early 1900s members of the NGCC would travel by train or boat to rival courses in Kingston and Picton for interclub tournaments. That tradition still lives on in the form of the Quinte Cub, where Rick Gerow has represented Napanee for 44 consecutive years, a record that grows every year.
   Among the original shareholders was Jack Adams, general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, from 1927 to 1962. He married Helen Trimble of Napanee, who was a member of NDCC. It was this connection that led to the Red Wings coming to Napanee to play the intermediate ‘A’ Comets for exhibition matches in 1958 and ‘59.
   In 1959 Sam Snead played the course twice and established the course record of 63, which still stands to this day. Known as ‘Slammin’ Sammy’, he had 82 PGA Tours, which still stands as the most all time, three more than Tiger Woods.
   The course has produced its share of elite golfers over the years and still does today with the likes of Josh Whalen, who was recruited by Kent State University and played four years on their golf team.
   “The thing that I find really interesting is the number of pros and elite golfers that this little nine hole golf course has attracted,” said Stockfish. “It’s part of the community and its been part of the community since the community has been here. It’s a gem.”
Stockfish is hoping the open house will draw both active members and past members alike as they look to reconnect with golfers who may have stepped away from the game due to family commitments but may now have more time on their hands. Membership at the course has been steadily rising over the last couple of years, currently sitting around 200 members with active league play drawing 70 to 80 golfers weekly.
   The open house will be a drop in format with coffee, cake and barbecue at a nominal cost. Mayor Gord Schermerhorn, a regular golfer at the club, will also be on hand to say a few words.

error: Content is protected !!