Saskatchewan’s golf history; The 1950’s
1950 – Canadian Amateur and Junior Golf Championships, Saskatoon Golf and Country Club, July 15-22
The first Canadian golf championship held in Saskatchewan took place at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club July 15-22 with 105 competitors taking part. The club worked hard preparing the course, renovating the clubhouse and looking after all the details for a successful national event. The course was set at 6,681 yards par 70. The Willingdon Cup teams and provincial junior teams of two were entertained at a Board of Trade luncheon on Friday and a banquet at the Bessborough Hotel on Saturday attended by Premier T.C. Douglas and Mayor J.S. Mills.
In the final amateur match Bill Mawhinney of Vancouver met Nick Weslock of Ontario. Weslock had five stymies during the day including one on the tenth hole in the morning round when he knocked Mawhinney’s ball into the cup. Opposition to the stymie rule had been building and it was hoped that there would be a change when the rules were next revised. Mawhinney won the Amateur Championship 6 and 5. Ontario’s team won the Willingdon Cup with Saskatchewan placing fifth out of eight teams. The Junior Championship was tied at 152 after 36 holes and Doug Silverberg, AB won an 18-hole playoff to claim the title. Saskatchewan’s Junior champion Pat Cassidy took fourth place, having the advantage of playing his home course.
1950 Men: Riverside Country Club, July 10-13
Dr. Bob Reid won the Saskatchewan Amateur for the fourth time. The best sand green player in the qualifying round was Rudy Homenuik who also won the Juvenile competition and was runner-up in the Junior.
The SGA annual meeting voted to run future Willingdon Cup trials over two days instead of four, still playing 72 holes. The previous year’s balance sheet showed a profit of over $700 which was the best year ever for the organization.
The 1950 Senior Men’s Provincials were held at the Regina Golf Club ending on August 11. A unique situation in tournament play featured a final with two left-handed competitors. A.E. Neville won 2 and 1 over Arthur Baird, becoming the first left-hander to win in the 24-year history of the senior tournament. Fourteen of the forty-two competitors were from out of town, including C.R. Moore – a former Regina resident now living in Los Angeles who tied for low gross. The oldest golfer was A.W. Irwin, an 82-year-old from Moose Jaw. A new slate of officers was elected, headed by president J.R. Smith of Regina.
1950 Women: Moose Jaw Willowdale Golf Club, August 7-11
Mabel Palko claimed her third provincial title when she won 2 and 1 over her Saskatoon Golf and Country Club mate Phylis Barclay. Her other two titles were in 1939 and 1947 and she was runner-up four times. Those two were on the Saskatchewan team along with Rene Robins of Wascana qualifying for the team for the fourth straight time, and Helen MacDougall of Riverside making the first of her five straight team appearances.
1951 Men: Wascana Country Club, July 18-22
It was an eventful week for Gordon Beattie who was elected president of the Saskatchewan Golf Association at the annual meeting. He was the first-round medalist but had to withdraw from further competition after his young son was in a serious farm accident. However, he was placed on the Willingdon cup team and made the trip to Ottawa with Moe Young, Boy Ashworth and Cliff Soberg. Harry Burns claimed his third Saskatchewan Amateur title after a gap of eleven years, winning the final over Ian Ross, the young son of Regina Golf Club professional Tom Ross. Ray Marsh of Moose Jaw won the junior title.
1951 Women: Prince Albert Golf Club, July 9-13
Phylis Barclay of the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club finished first in the Monday qualifying round of provincials with Joanne Goulet of Regina’s Gyro Club in second place. These two met on Friday in the championship final with Barclay prevailing 3 and 2. Both qualified for the Saskatchewan team along with Helen MacDougall of Riverside CC and Mrs. McQuarrie of Prince Albert and travelled to the Canadian competition in Montreal.
Hoping to encourage young players the first Junior girls’ competition was held in conjunction with the women’s provincials. Gerry Evans won the title at age 16, the first of four she would win in the six years she was eligible for the under-21 event. Sandra Hay of Riverside was the runner-up.
Interest in golf was growing and 943 members in thirteen clubs were now affiliated with the Saskatchewan Section of the CLGU.
1952 Men: Waskesiu Golf Club, July 7-12
Waskesiu was the provincial tournament site July 7-12 and newspaper reports included both the golf and fishing prowess of the competitors. Even though Dr. Bob Reid of Prince Albert had been out of golf for a year he practiced when had time and entered the tournament. Using his father’s clubs, as he liked those irons better than his own, he won the Saskatchewan Amateur for the fifth time. Ross Reibling scored a hole-in-one during the Willingdon Cup team trials but still ended up in fifth place, making him a team alternate.
At the SGA annual meeting, the treasurer reported a sound financial situation with a surplus. A committee was formed to organize a new junior program with money available from the RCGA junior development fund. The province was divided into four zones with the best players in each participating in clinics held by local pros.
Professional Competition: Pat Fletcher, SGCC pro, won the Canadian PGA championship with 210, three strokes under par over 54 holes on Winnipeg’s Niakwa course.
1952 Women: Riverside Country Club July 14-18
Riverside was turned into the “Golfers’ Gulch Hotel” for a Klondike-themed evening of costumes, skits, music and singing waiters for the final evening of the tournament. After such a fun evening the golfers playing in the finals had to get up and compete the next day. The championship match was decided on the nineteenth hole when Joanne Goulet of Regina’s Gyro Course won over Helen MacDougall who was playing her home course.
A report at the annual meeting of the CLGA Saskatchewan Section listed thirteen affiliated clubs and five members who had handicaps of six or under.
The second annual Junior Girls’ title was won by Gerry Evans with 185 over 36 holes. Her sister Lynne Evans tied with Joanne Goulet for second place at 193 but lost the 18-hole playoff the next day.
1953 Men: Regina Golf Club and Wascana Country Club, July 1-5
Regina Golf Club hosted the provincial tournament although players had to contend with a large puddle of water on the tenth fairway which had overflowed from a nearby creek. When it became impossible to play the back nine without getting wet to the ankles the tournament was moved to Wascana Country Club. A hailstorm interrupted some matches there requiring them to be finished the following day. When it was all over the youngest Saskatchewan Amateur winner since 1927 was crowned champion. Wilf Homenuik, 15 years of age, beat his 17-year-old brother Ted 4 and 2 in the 36-hole final. Wilf also won the Juvenile title and was runner-up to Ted for the Junior title. Both attended nationals in Montreal, Wilf as a member of Saskatchewan’s Willingdon Cup team and Ted as the junior champion.
At the SGA annual meeting, six honourary life memberships were awarded: Dunc Sinclair of Prince Albert, Russ Smith and N.C. Byers of Regina, Archie Trotter and J.D. Miller of Saskatoon, and Clem Alexander of Moose Jaw.
The SGA reported ten affiliated clubs with 1,541 members, an increase of 200 members since 1950.
1953 Women: Wascana Country Club, July 13-17
All competitors in team play were allowed to improve their lies with an extra stroke added for each round. When Joanne Goulet shot a par 77, she had to record a score of 78. It was a big upset when Joan Caswell, Saskatoon Riverside, eliminated Goulet in the quarter-finals. The champion was Rene Robbins with a 5 and 3 victory on her home course over Helen MacDougall of Riverside CC.
At the national Junior tournament in London, Ontario the CLGU organized a Western vs. Eastern competition with teams made up of a representative from each province. Gerry Evans took part as the Saskatchewan representative.
1954 Men: Saskatoon Golf and Country Club, July 7-10
Two members of Saskatoon GCC played for the championship title, with Morris Thompson winning over Ted Annear on the 35th hole. Two of the Homenuik brothers from Yorkton were in contention for the junior title, with Wilf edging out Ted by two strokes.
The SGA announced at its annual meeting that eight new clubs had affiliated this year. One committee was appointed to revise the constitution and another to select the Willingdon Cup team. Trophies were now going to be provided for the junior boys 15-and-under and 13-and-under events. The junior development program was financed by National Golf Day.
1954 Women: Waskesiu Golf Club, July 12-16
Waskesiu Golf Club hosted its first CLGU-Saskatchewan tournament in 1954. Four Saskatoon women claimed spots in the Championship semi-finals, with Gerry Evans of SGCC winning the title to add to the provincial junior title she won the week before. Gerry played on the Saskatchewan women’s team along with Joanne Goulet, Helen MacDougall and Rene Robbins, while Sandra Hay represented Saskatchewan on the Western junior team at Nationals.
1954 Canadian Open, Point Grey Golf Club, Vancouver, July 14-17
Pat Fletcher, Saskatoon Golf and Country Club’s 38-year-old professional, got off to a good start on the first day of the Canadian Open by shooting a 65. Bob Rosberg took the lead with a Point Grey tournament course record of 63. On the second day of competition Fletcher shot 70 and Rosberg 72, so the two were tied for the lead at 135. Day three’s leader was Gordie Brydson whose 68 put him at 207, ahead of Fletcher at 209 and Rosburg at 210. On the final day of competition Pat Fletcher was playing with an 8-iron borrowed from Stan Leonard of Vancouver. This 8-iron acted as a 9-iron for Pat whose clubs were calibrated a half-degree differently from most others. He birdied the 12th hole and his challengers were not playing well. When he sank a thirty-foot putt on the 17th for a birdie he felt he had the victory. He finished with a 72-hole total of 280. Golf enthusiasts in Saskatchewan were thrilled to hear of Pat Fletcher’s accomplishment but they could never have imagined that 64 years later they would still be waiting for another Canadian to win the Open.
1955 Men: Prince Albert Golf Club, July 20-24
Saskatchewan’s fiftieth anniversary as a province was celebrated when Prince Albert hosted the “Golden Jubilee Golf Championship.” For this occasion, the Amateur was held jointly with the Open and Professional championships which had been held separately over the last few years. Stan Leonard of Vancouver won the Open with 132 strokes and followed that up by winning the Professional title and pocketing $700 for his total of 269 strokes. An extra event was added to the program, a pro-am best-ball, which was won with a score of 63 by Harry Martel, an Edmonton pro partnering with Claude Shackell of Wascana.
For the first time in the history of the Saskatchewan Amateur the Champion was from out of province. Doug Silverberg of Red Deer, AB set a course record of 64 while playing the last eighteen holes of the championship and winning over Charles Bodzioch on his home course.
Qualifying for the Willingdon Cup team was an endurance test of six games over four different courses. In each game, the low scorer received eight points, graduating down to one point for eighth place. At the end, those with the most points were Kelly Carin, Wilf Homenuik, Dr. Bob Reid and Gordon Beattie and they represented Saskatchewan at nationals in Calgary.
1955 Women: Moose Jaw Willowdale, July 11-15
Heavy rains caused Spring Creek to flood the low parts of the Moose Jaw course making the last nine holes of Wednesday’s round unplayable, so competitors had to do two rounds of the front nine to get in their 18-holes. Joanne Goulet of Regina won the junior title over Gerry Evans of Saskatoon, but the women’s final featuring the same two young players had the reverse result with Gerry Evans winning 3 and 2. They were required to play on the women’s team at nationals so Sandra Hay and Lynne Evans represented Saskatchewan at the first junior team competition organized by the CLGU. This took place after two years of having a junior competition in which one player from each province played on the four-person East or West team (won both years by the East).
1956 Men: Moose Jaw Willowdale Golf Club, July 19-22
Young Bob (Rob) Kennedy was very much at home on the Moose Jaw course. He had been golfing in Calgary that summer and pocketed the Alberta Junior championship before coming home and winning the Saskatchewan Junior. It was believed he was the first two-province champion however he competed at nationals for his home province, Saskatchewan. In the Amateur final against Dr. Doug McAlpine of Wascana, Kennedy hit his sixty-foot approach shot into the hole for a birdie on the 26th hole. When he walked up to the hole and retrieved his ball from the cup without removing the pin, he was penalized and lost the hole. The rule at that time was that the pin had to be removed and the ball had to touch the bottom of the cup. This unnerved the youngster for the next few holes before he bounced back and evened the match on the 35th hole. McAlpine won the title on the final hole.
Phil Lederhouse won the first Western Canada Blind Golfers’ Tournament in Prince Albert.
1956 Women: Saskatoon Golf and Country Club, July 16-20
Gerry Evans won her third successive Saskatchewan women’s golf title in 1956 along with her fourth junior women’s title. Joanne Goulet was runner-up in the women’s event but was now too old for the junior event. The newspaper referred to her as a colourful Regina player who won her Wednesday match on the thirteenth green then finished the round in bare feet! Lynne Evans and Pat Kiggins from Yorkton were the Junior team.
1957 Men: Riverside Country Club, July 11-14
118 players, including 22 juniors, competed for the provincial championships. Del Wilson of Wascana defeated Herb Pinder on his home course for the amateur title.
At the SGA annual meeting Robert (Robbie) Robinson was presented with an engraved gold wrist watch to honour his service as Secretary-Treasurer of the organization from 1941 to 1957. A decision was made that only members of clubs affiliated with the SGA would be eligible to play in the amateur championships. In future, juniors would be required to show birth certificates as proof of age. Junior records for 1954 and 1955 were revised regarding Wilf and Ted Homenuik. A committee was formed to work out financial agreements between the SGA and clubs hosting the amateur and open tournaments.
1957 Women: Regina Golf Club, July 8-12
Sixteen-year-old Patricia Kiggins from Yorkton was the story of the 1957 women’s championship. She won the junior competition by 17 strokes over Mona Finlayson of Prince Albert. Then, she qualified as one of the top three in the women’s team trials. She continued to play well all week even though she had not played on grass greens this year prior to the competition. In the women’s final Joanne Goulet made short work of Pat’s winning streak, finishing her off on the thirteenth green. Pat and Mona were the Saskatchewan junior representatives to nationals in Montreal, while Joanne Goulet and Mesdames Oliphant, Glass and Balmos made up the women’s team.
1958 Men: Wascana Country Club, July 10-13
A dilemma occurred after the qualifying round in the men’s amateur when eight golfers shot 79, the cut-off mark for the 32 spots available in the championship flight. A playoff was held to determine the final four spots but Merv Folk of Saskatoon GCC was playing in the second round of the junior competition that afternoon and couldn’t participate. After three playoff holes, three golfers were eliminated and the championship flight was set. It included both Merv’s father, Alex Folk, and his younger brother, Ron. The final round was played in high winds, steady rain and some hail. Ultimately, Dr. Doug McAlpine won the title on the 37th hole over his young Wascana clubmate, Bob Stovin.
A prize was awarded after the qualifying round to the golfer with the best score who played at a sand-greens course. During the 1950s this was frequently won by one of the Homenuik brothers from Yorkton but also included others from around the province.
1958 Saskatchewan Open Championship, Riverside Country Club, July 26-27
The Saskatchewan Open title went to amateur Doug Silverberg of Calgary with a three-round score of 215. Vern Mohs, one of 15 pros, was one shot back and took home the $500 cash prize. Seventy-eight amateurs competed, including Dr. Bob Reid of Prince Albert who received permission to use a bicycle to travel around the course. This event was chaired by Jack Heywood with Ed S. Ross serving as Secretary-Treasurer. (Reference: pamphlet of the event is in Saskatoon Public Library Local History Room, PM2008-89)
1958 Women: Saskatoon Golf and Country Club and Wascana Country Club, July 7-15
With the National Women’s Championships scheduled for Saskatoon in August, the CLGU Saskatchewan section executive decided that the team trials and individual provincial championship would be a four-round competition. After two rounds at Saskatoon GCC and two rounds at Wascana CC, Joanne Goulet was declared champion with 327 and Barbara Turnbull, making her debut on the provincial scene, was runner-up with 343. Filling out the team was Phylis Barclay, 344, and Flo Short, 349. The junior competition was held in Saskatoon with Bonnie Phillips declared the winner at 168 and Patricia Kiggins of Yorkton at 174.
1958 Canadian Women’s Championship, Saskatoon Golf & Country Club, August 1-9
This was the first time that a Canadian women’s championship was held in Saskatchewan. Mrs. Phyllis Trotter, president of the Canadian Ladies’ Golf Union, and her tournament committee planned many social events to go along with the golf competition during the ten days at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club. Marlene Stewart Streit at age 24 won her fifth Canadian championship defeating Mary Gay of Calgary 8 and 6. Gail Harvey won the junior championship and Ontario won both women’s and junior team competitions.
1959 Men: Saskatoon Golf and Country Club, July 9-12
The Canadian Junior Championship was newly organized and Saskatchewan sent a team of four to Montreal consisting of junior champion Ed Ross, runner-up Jim Scissons, Pete Lukoni and Merv Folk.
Keith Rever of Wascana received a watch as his amateur championship prize after defeating Jack McLellan of Saskatoon Golf and Country Club 7 and 6.
The Saskatchewan Seniors’ Golf Association held their tournament at Riverside Country Club July 13-14. Al Marcroft, SGCC, won the championship 1 up over Hon. J.H. Sturdy of Wascana, while Jack Wakeford won the low net trophy for those over age 65 just two weeks short of his 85th birthday.
At the SGA annual meeting a new constitution established a directorate made up of representatives from the two Saskatoon clubs, two Regina clubs, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, North Battleford, Swift Current, Estevan and Nipawin, all representing the other clubs in their districts. A discussion was held on whether juniors could play in trials for both the Junior and Willingdon Cups, and a committee of two was appointed to select the junior team. The SGA decided to purchase small cups as mementos for Willingdon Cup team members. The treasurer reported that the association was in a sound financial situation.
1959 Women: Prince Albert Golf Club, July 1-17
Gerry (Evans) Yoos and her longtime provincial rival Joanne Goulet met in a closely fought final which Joanne lost after hitting her second shot on the eighteenth hole out-of-bounds. The match finished with Gerry winning her fourth provincial crown 2 up. Gerry, Joanne and Barb Turnbull were joined on the Saskatchewan team by Junior champion Pat Kiggins who qualified for the women’s team. Sisters Coralie and Bonnie Phillips from Saskatoon GCC made up the junior team.
This publication is produced by Saskatchewan golf historian Lori Harvie.