Kimberley GC celebrates 100 years in 2024.

Kimberley Golf Club Celebrates 100 Years in 2024


Newspapers:Vancouver Sun & Province, Nelson Daily News, Creston Review, Cranbrook News, Calgary Herald, Victoria Daily Colonist

Mountain Treasures 1979 Kimberley Senior Citizen History Book Committee

Backspin 1993 Arv Olson

Guide to BC Golf Courses 1989 Alan Dawe

Vancouver Public Library BC City Directories

UBC Historical Newspaper search

The Golf Architects 1994 Geoffrey Cornish

As mentioned in previous articles, more golf clubs formed in the 1920’s than any other period in the history of golf in BC prior to 1990. It is our belief that prior to 1940 every town in BC constructed a golf course. There were two main reasons for this development. First towns recognized that golf could provide an economic advantage to the village if they had a golf course. The slogan advanced by the BC Chamber of Commerce was simple; “Construct a golf course in your town to entice the traveller to spend one more night in your town to play the best golf course in the province or on the coast.” Second companies foresaw the advantage to their employees if a golf course existed in the camp or town. Golf is the only game where children and adults from five to ninety; men and women can play the game. The golf clubhouse became the gathering spot or community centre for the village. All citizens came to the course for social activities even if they did not play the game. In 1922 the Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company Sullivan Mine (CM&S) introduced golf to Trail and Kimberley as an important recreation activity in a remote section of the province. Powell River is another similar example.

The initial idea to have a golf course in Kimberley began with a social evening at Ed Montgomery’s home. He convinced Percy Brown, a visiting civil engineer with the West Kootenay Light & Power Company, in Cranbrook to join him. Perhaps Brown was a member of the older Cranbrook GC. Because golf courses require an adequate supply of water, the two chose a site on the banks of the St Mary’s Creek.  The course, 100 years later, is still on its original site.  Brown and Ted Nagle immediately laid out six holes on property donated by CM&S.  Axemen and equipment donated by the company cleared the land. Members of the fledgling club cleared the stones and roots to prepare the fairways for seeding. By 1924 the future golfers had six playable holes. Through the painstaking efforts of Ted Nagle, he managed to drain and clear the swamp area to expand the course to a full nine holes in 1927. These holes had the legendary name the swamp holes over the history of the course.

Because the early miners in the area felt confident their discoveries were noteworthy, they named the area “Kimberley” after the flourishing mining town Kimberley in South Africa. In March 1926, the historically correct Canadian Golfer Magazine, offered an alternate credit regarding who designed the course.

“Kimberley, BC Goes In For Golf”

“Kimberley, the new BC mining town, which it is generally predicted is destined to be one of the greatest centres of mineral production in the province, has not taken long to get into the game of golf. A place of only a few hundred a year or so ago, Kimberley is now of several thousand (3500) and its citizens determined to be up-to-date, had Bob Smith, the former Calgary professional and presently associated with the Fernie GC, lay out a nine-hole course that came into play this season, and prospects are for a flourishing club.”

The builders of the course did not follow the standard method for sand green construction. The Kimberley greens did not have the black oil appearance like its neighbouring golf courses.  The Kimberley greens emitted a blue colour. All the pathways, roadways, and common areas in Kimberley had this blue appearance. The blue arose from the refining process from the mine. The greens used the fine sand leftover from the diamond washing process.  This fine sand contained millions of small garnets or “Cape rubies”. These grains of sand produced the blue tinge appearance.

Research has produced little information about the pre1940 golf course. The Nelson News reported three dodos or aces (#3, #5, and #6) at Kimberley. In the 1938 Crow’s Nest Golf tournament, Danny Stack set a course record 33 two under par course record. He also drove 340 yards on one particular hole. In 1936 the Directors began the process to build grass greens by constructing the first experimental one. News reports in 1940 indicated “all nine grass greens are in playing condition”.

Kimberley circa 1950’s

At each annual general meeting the President anticipated the course would be improved during the coming season. In 1954 the Nelson News provided the first hole by hole par for the course with no yardages. Dr Frank Fergie, a long-time regional champion golfer from Cranbrook, set a course record 4 under par 31.

Hole                    #1  #2  #3  #4  #5  #6  #7  #8  #9

Par                        4    4     5    4    3    4    4     4    3      35

Fergie’s score       3    4     5    3    2    4    3     4    3          31

Norman Woods Golf Architect

In 1962 the club gained a permanent lease from CM&S. The club also formed a Society to oversee the club operation. With the opening of a new clubhouse in 1962 the Board turned its attention to expanding the original nine holes to 18. In 1976 Kimberley received a Local Initiatives Project (LIP) grant from the Trudeau government. The grant for $21,000 allowed the club to hire 12 workers to improve the golf course. This could imply the club began the process for expansion.  Sometime around 1980, the board hired prominent BC golf architect Norman Woods. Woods received his initial training as an architect working for the legendary Stanley Thompson. When Thompson died in 1954, Woods began his own company in BC. He is probably best known for his Kokanee Springs (1968) golf course. Possibly because of this previous work in the Kootenays, the Board selected Woods to design the new nine. According to the Kimberley GC website the full eighteen opened in 1983. In 1989, Alan Dawe described the two nines at Kimberley as “very distinctly different with numerous imaginative sand traps on the second nine”. This is a good description of a Norman Woods design technique. Dawe also mentioned Holes one, two, and three were the swamp holes from the original nine-hole golf course.

Kimberley scorecard late 1980’s after 18 hole expansion

In the early 1990’s the Board hired Bill Newis, a Saskatchewan golf architect, to renovate the course. In 1992 Newis also renovated Fernie and Golden. Further research is required to determine what alterations Newis made. A comparison of a 1980’s scorecard and a 2000’s scorecard implies the routing may have changed for the course.

Kimberley scorecard 2000’s after 1992 renovation Compare holes and par with                                                                        1980’s scorecard

The Founders.

Major A. Bruce Kimberley Patron

Many people assisted in the development of the golf club and course in the early years. These names include the CM&S employees, many served the company as management staff: Joe Giegerich, Tommy Thompson, Frank Fortier, Ed Shannon, Jack Sanderson, Bill Lindsay, Herbert (Bert) Banks, and Art B Jackson.  The majority of the employees at CM&S supported the club by purchasing memberships to make the operation viable. In the first decade the club recognized the contribution of CM&S by naming Major A Bruce Ritchie, the assistant superintendent at Trail, as their Patron, E. Monty Montgomery, the superintendent for the Sullivan Mine in Kimberley, as the Honorable President, and Norman W. Burdett, the CM&S accountant, as the club’s President. In fact, Burdett held the President’s post from 1924 – 1938 when he retired from the company and relocated to Vancouver. Other patrons before 1940 included Dr. John F Hasssard and Tom W Bingay, a CM&S executive at Trail. For his dedication to the development of the course, particularly the grass greens, the club awarded Ed Guille an honorary life club membership in 1944.

Norman W. Burdett President 1924 – 1938

The Clubhouse

An old company shack served as the club’s first clubhouse. In 1926 the club purchased a company home at the top of the mine. Using skids on the snow George Amos, Ed Houle, and mine foreman Harry Logan supervised the move to the golf course. Renovations were made to the clubhouse until the membership decided they required a new modern building. In April 1961 the membership approved the construction. On July 15th, 1962 the clubhouse opened and expanded in 1976.

Club Trophies

Like most club’s that opened in the 1920’s and 1930’s the members donated the early trophies. Results from various club tournaments and interclub matches the Kimberley membership prior to 1940 remained stable at about 75 members most worked for Cominco. In fact, one trophy the Phillips Engineering Cup

Cup was a team competition between the employees of Trail and Kimberley.

Men’s Tophies

A Bruce Ritchie Cup Men’s Handicap

Bingay Cup Men’s Open Match Play

Archie Seaton Cup Men’s Senior

Women’s Trophies 

AJ Hartt Cup Ladies Open

Maxfli Cup (donated by Dunlop Rubber Company) Ladies Handicap

Lead-Zinc Trophy

Zinc Trophy

To raise funds to support the club activities Kimberley began hosting the Wood Valance tournament usually in June. This two-day event, with team and individual prizes, attracted the top players from the West and East Kootenay clubs.  This event joined the Crow’s Nest, the Nelson Open, the Rossland- Trail Open, and the Slocan Open as annual tournaments for the top players. In 1952 the club began the Pucksters Golf Tournament to support the Kimberley Dynamiters. The tournament players came from the Western International Hockey League players, officials and referees.  The Wood Valance and the Pucksters are still operating annually today.

The early prominent players at Kimberley included Jack O’Neill, one of the few non CM&S employees. Jack owned the Kimberley Pharmacy. Ralph Redding was best known in the Kimberley hockey circles. Ralph and son Brent nine Wood Vallance championships between them.

Where is the John Boyd Cup?

John Boyd, the chairman of the General Construction Company, donated a trophy called the Boyd Cup in 1936. He wanted to promote a team competition amongst the Kootenay golf clubs. At this time John Boyd, a member of the Vancouver GC, operated, under lease, the public University Golf course in Vancouver. General Construction developed most of the major highways in BC for the provincial government. During the winter months to provide work for his employees Boyd constructed the University Golf course for the provincial government.

The Boyd Cup began as a team championship for eight-man teams from the golf clubs of the West and East Kootenays. The club team with the lowest gross for the eight scores held the Cup for one year. Today eight clubs within the Kootenay region send two eight-man teams. One competes for the Boyd trophy which is determined by four two-man best ball gross scores. The second team competes for the Haddad Trophy which is determined by four two-man team net best ball scores.

The Museum is attempting to locate these trophies. The last announcement on the Internet is 2018. The Nelson News reported; “Balfour Golf course ends 81-year drought at Boyd Cup.”  The trophies  are likely in the trophy case of the winning team   between 2018 – 2023. Research indicates a list of winners from 1934 – 2023 does not exist. We would like to preserve the list of winners for each trophy in the event the trophy is lost.

NOTE: Unfortunately, we did not have access to any Kimberley newspapers in order to produce this article. We would like to expand this essay particularly with regard to the golf course. In particular we would like to determine if any of the original holes are still in existence, what was the routing for the original course, did the hole numbers change after the 1992 renovation?


1924 – 1939 Jimmy Woods, Ted Nagle, Grant Henderson, Doug Campbell, J.J Mackay, F. Marleau, and Bert Banks Sr.

1940 – 1942 Al Godlonton

1943 – 1948 Ed Guille

1949 – 1950 Art Donaldson

1951 – 1952 “Doc” Livingstone

1953 – 1955 Rod Clarke

1956 – 1961 Harry Pearson

1962 – 1964 Ralph Shypitka

1965 – 1979 Bill Heaton


1949 – 1950 Art Donaldson

1951 – 1952 Al Nelson

1953 – 1954 Dennis Beaupre

1955 – 1959 John Pavitt

1960               Vic Smith

1961               Don Ross

1980’s            Bill Quilley


We are always seeking information and memorabilia on these old golf courses. In particular we search for scorecards, trophies, photos, and family scrapbooks.

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