Golf Historical Society of Canada

Early Canadian Play Clubs & Courses

Above: Royal Quebec vs. Royal Montreal interclub match in 1876 (image from Royal Montreal website)

Some Historical Background 

(by Doug Marshall)

The first golf clubs in Canada would have come into the country from Scotland in the gutty period after 1850. This is because nobody played golf until after 1860 outside of Quebec. 

Jim Barclay reports early newspaper reports of golf clubs being used in Montreal in 1826, and we know in 1854 a 16 year old seaman hit some golf balls on the Plains of Abraham while on shore leave. His name was Wm. Dolman. He soon thereafter gave up his sea life to return to his home in Musselburgh in East Lothian. (He was to become a top amateur in Scotland, considered the best of his time.) But there were no organized golf courses in Canada in this period and we find little evidence of golf being played beyond casual gatherings of friends in Montreal and Quebec City. Of course we can presume that similar gatherings took place in Upper Canada but no real documentation is available. 

The first documented golf courses were in Quebec—Montreal Golf Club in 1873, followed a year later by Quebec Golf Club in 1874. After that only three more courses are documented by 1881. They were Niagara Golf Club, Toronto Golf Club and Brantford Golf Club, all in Upper Canada, making only a total of five golf courses in Canada. None of them had a golf professional.

The SOHG has an interesting historical golf article “Quebec – The Early Years” here.

Golf Historical Society of Canada
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Cambridge, ON N1R 5S7

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