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By all accounts, the McKellar Park Golf Club was a thriving operation. But with
its prime location, the price of land and high taxes, and somehow the Township
of Nepean assuming operation of the course, the course was heading for
financial disaster. In December of 1949, the City of Ottawa increased its’ size
five-fold after expropriation of areas west and south of the city. The expropriated
lands included the McKellar Park Golf Club. A decision was made in 1952 by
the city council of the day, headed by Mayor Charlotte Whitton, that the City of
Ottawa should not be operating a municipal golf club. 1952 was the final year of
operation for the McKellar Park Golf Club. The City of Ottawa sold off the golf
course property for housing development in 1953.
A McKellar Caddy
“Many of the older boys earned extra money as caddies.” - from page 133 of
Early Days in Westboro Beach by Robert Grainger. One of those boys earning
extra money as a caddy was Ken Robertson, now a resident of Cornwall,
Ontario and still an active player at and a former President of the Cornwall Golf
& Country Club. Ken, who was born and raised in Ottawa and attended both
Broadview Public and Nepean High Schools, started caddying at the age of 14
in 1939. He remembers the caddy fee for a loop of 18 holes as 50 cents or “the
big kerplunk – a 50 cent piece.”
Last Club Champion
In the Monday, August 18th, 1952 edition of The Evening Citizen, Ottawa,
His first caddy job was memorable. “I was standing at the tee with my players’
Canada, an article can be found titled “Five Golf Club Titles Decided Over
golf clubs and one of the older caddies came over and asked my man – Do you
Weekend.” Under the sub-title “At The McKellar” is the following story. “Bob
need a caddy to carry your caddy?” Perseverance was the key and as Ken
McClure, 19-year-old player from the McKellar, won the club championship
describes it, the job of a caddy was not easy. “You had to give your player the
and the John Raper Trophy by defeating Vic McConnell, 8 and 6, yesterday in
proper club and then walk down the fairway with the rest of his golf clubs and
the 36-hole final. McClure is playing his first year at the McKellar, and it is his
fore-caddy.” This procedure was followed for each shot throughout the round of
first major golf title. He was one up at the end of 18 holes and finished the match
golf and you were to only give advice, “when asked.”
on the 30th hole.” As the McKellar Park Golf Club closed in 1953, Bob
McClure was the last club champion at McKellar Park Golf Club. Fifty five
Most golfers bought their caddies a coke and a hot dog at the hot dog stand
years later the John Raper Trophy, a definitive legacy of McKellar Park Golf
located by the tenth tee. Ken remembers his fellow caddies, Bob “Puss” Miller;
Club, is still in his possession.
Don Cordukes; Mac Irving; Jerry (Scottie) Armstrong; Bert Gregoire; Freddy
Hunt; Alf & Reg Morgan; Howie Jones; Pete & Ed Akeson and how they
NOTE: The other club championships decided on that particular weekend were: Rivermead Corrigan
would get to the club for 6 a.m. as it was “first come- first served.” Ken also
Cup – Stan Walker over W.H. (Bill) Mayo (5&4); Ottawa Hunt P.D. Ross Trophy – Jess Noble over
remembers selling golf balls for 5 cents – the price of a coke - and hiding when
Arnie Powell (3&2); Gatineau – Keith Boucher over Joe Houlahan (9&8); Chaudiere Borden Cup –
the club professional was making his rounds. Green fees at that time were $1
Fred Hunt over Andy Nezan (2&1).
for the day.
Not long by modern standards, the McKellar Park Golf Club provided an ideal ground for golfers of all skill levels. Many among the members and caddies were
accomplished players. A copy of the club’s scorecard is pictured above. Note the five digit phone number, the adherence to “St. Andrew’s Rules” and the fact that no
children were permitted to play. A stern par of 70, with just one par five, makes it rather unusual in make-up. Note the stern par three holes on the front side.
FALL 2008 FGM 51
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