A local jester provided his opinion on the development of the Prince Rupert Golf course over an eight year span. The first version appeared in the Prince Rupert Daily News in 1966.
The Prince Rupert Golf Course:
In nineteen hundred and sixty one,
To build a golf course, we thought was fun,
In nineteen hundred and sixty two,
We cleared an acre of rock or two,
In nineteen hundred and sixty three,
The course took shape for us to see,
In nineteen hundred and sixty four,
The parks board tossed it out the door,
In nineteen hundred and sixty five,
We barely knew the course was alive,
In nineteen hundred and sixty six,
The course was in a h… of a fix,
In nineteen hundred and sixty seven,
Centennial was an act from heaven,
In nineteen hundred and sixty eight,
They’ll say our course is first rate.
Golf In Prince Rupert – long journey from 1960 – 1969
A question regarding early golf in Prince Rupert still remains: “Did golf actually come to Prince Rupert in the 1930’s?” Research shows players from Prince Rupert regularly participated in the Northern British Columbia Amateur Championship held annually at the Smithers Golf Club in August each year. No evidence of a golf course in Prince Rupert has been found. The obvious question, however, still remains: “Where did the players practice so they could enter a championship?”
In 1960, Dr R.G. Large headed a group of enthusiastic golfers who wanted desperately to have their own golf course in Prince Rupert. Their dedication to the game occurred each weekend when a caravan of golfers travelled the ninety-miles from Prince Rupert to Terrace to play the royal and ancient game.
One year later, Dr. Large convinced the golf group to formally organize an association. He became President. Next, the president convinced the municipality to lease the land formally used as a garbage dump for their course. With assistance from the Parks Board, the volunteers began constructing a nine-hole golf course. Work progressed well. By October, 1962 several holes were constructed; but the group suffered financial woes. Their enthusiasm dwindled.
After three years of intermittent work, Carl Gustafson, the city works foreman., said: “We have plans for a nine-hole course, we have men, we have equipment, we have fill, we have good weather, but we do not have money, or the go ahead to proceed.” Meanwhile, in 1966, the golf enthusiasts had a burst of energy led by a new contingent of golf addicts. The City Council voted $10,000 to the project. Then, as a gesture to the community, Columbia Cellulose Co. offered $15,000 and free labour towards the endeavour.
The final grant came from the Centennial Committee. Prince Rupert held a referendum: “As a citizen of Prince Rupert would you like an arena, a library, or a golf course for your Centennial Project?” The golf course won. The $42,000 federal government centennial grant completed the necessary funding to complete the course.
“It took two years of hacking and filling to transform a garbage dump into a golf course for Prince Rupert.” The golf course was appropriately christened the Prince Rupert Centennial Golf Course in 1969. A committee, headed by Bert Jefferies, did most of the planning when the centennial grant was provided. The centennial project realized the dreams of many generations of dedicated, frustrated golfers who travelled to Terrace to play golf.
Head professional Moe Hayes described the new layout: “as a short, uniquely interesting course to play. The narrowness of the fairways makes it more difficult to play than you’d think. The setting is one of the most beautiful to be found in northern B.C. with a small stream winding its way under bridges and along side fairways.
The Prince Rupert Centennial Golf Course scorecard:
No1. par 4, 341 yards; No 2 par 3 126 yards; No 3 par 4, 270 yards; No 4 par 3 196 yards; No 5 par 4, 385 yards; No 6 par 4, 270 yards; No 7 par 4, 300 yards; No 8 par 3, 192 yards; No 9 par 4, 345 yards.
Lisa Young Walter honed her skills on the Prince Rupert course. She and her brother frequently caddied for their parents on the weekends. Regularly the pair played 36 -45 holes daily. Using the Centennial course as a training ground Lisa compiled an impressive career locally, provincially, and international. One of the many highlites of her career was probably the fact she was the first BC woman to win on the LPGA Tour.