Royal Montreal 150th (2023)
HSC News Item: June 29, 2023 – Royal Montreal 150th (2023) Reported by: Vaughn Perusse, GHSC Hickory Ambassador
It was a pleasure and privilege to celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of Royal Montreal Golf Club, the oldest club in North America.
Lorne Emery and I secured an invitation to represent Golf Historical Society of Canada at this auspicious event. The program included the opportunity to play both the Red and Blue Courses (the Blue being home to the 2007 and 2024 President’s Cup), and to attend a celebratory dinner with Golf Hall of Fame inductees and representatives from clubs across the country as well as a variety of representatives from various organizations and societies.
I have never attended an event where I had been treated with the hospitality and appreciation for participating as I had here. I applaud the efforts of Diane Drury and her committee as well as the membership of the club who graciously hosted this milestone. The golf courses were a joy to play. Both Lorne and I played the Red course on the first day with our historical outfits and our 125-year-old clubs. We were greeted with curiosity and enthusiasm as we warmed up at the range. Numerous attendees had the pleasure of trying to hit shots with our hickories. I had the pleasure of playing with Patrick Shannon, a RMGC member who was a wonderful host. Coincidently, he is headed to Scotland to play Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club where I returned from just 3 weeks ago.
Our foursome also included Brian Scherzer, President of Elm Ridge Country Club and Myrna Hastings, Women’s Captain from Point Grey in Vancouver. I was humbled by the experience. Thankfully, my clubs performed well and I survived the day. The course was a good preparation for the adventure of the Blue Course the following day. The Cocktail party and dinner provided an opportunity to meet many interesting personalities from the Canadian golf world. Fresh from volunteering for the RBC Canadian Open, I was able to share my photo on 18, just behind Nick Taylor prior to that historic putt and Adam Hadwin’s historic tackle with others who were there, I was “the Guy in the Kilt”.
We were seated at a table close to the main podium. I was seated next to Don McKelvie, the club’s historian whom I had met earlier in the day. I had asked permission to photograph him in his blazer and finery. At the time, I had no idea I would be seated next to him. As I was to learn, he is a descendent of Don McKelvie OBE who was responsible for creating a number of new potatoes on the Isle of Arran. (That’s where we were 3 weeks ago!) I will attach his thoughtful remarks about the history of RMGC which he was so generous to share.
The evening was a joyful celebration which also featured a Q and A with Canadian professional golfer Lori Kane. She was a lovely guest who shared her experiences with an appreciative audience. The program acknowledged the presence of so many Golf Canada Hall of Fame inductees as well as Golf Quebec Hall of Fame inductees. I can only say the food was amazing! I am tempted to share the menu, but alas, your mouth would water!
I had the privilege to play with Golf Quebec Hall of Fame inductee Pierre Archambault the following day on the Blue Course. WOW! He has serious game and a wonderful sense of humour! This course is amongst the most difficult I have ever played. It is significantly more difficult with hickory golf clubs. The margins of error are small and more often than naught, I found myself in inescapable bunkers. (Apparently they are still settling from a redesign in preparation for The President’s Cup, at least that is my solace!)
On this day, I enjoyed the company of Pierre Nicole from Hillsdale and our generous host Lorena Cook. The weather was agreeable and the course, most challenging. The festivities concluded with a tasty luncheon, awarding of prizes and lovely closing remarks. This event allowed us to meet so many wonderful people from the world of golf, across the country. I met Bill from Victoria, Claude, Marc and Dominique from Murray Bay, Dave from Royal Quebec about to celebrate its 150th, Brian from Hamilton, getting ready for the next Canadian Open and Hugh from the Toronto Golf Club who sank a 72-foot Nick Taylor re-creation putt on his first try with a hickory putter from St. Andrews. Most of the hickory irons I play were made by George Cumming, the head pro of The Toronto Golf Club whose contribution to Canadian golf cannot be understated. The TGC will be celebrating its sesquicentennial in 3 years! How exciting is that!?
This event was one of celebration and at the same time an opportunity to bring together so many people who support, play and honour this great game. I will forever value my privilege in participating.
Click on an image to see its larger version. Lorne and I took most of these photos.