History greets you at every turn. Use the guide to see our Heritage Moments.
The Waskesiui Golf Course was designed by the renowned Stanley Thompson and built by relief camp workers in the 1930s.
The beautiful log and stone clubhouse, designed in “Tudor Rustic” style by the national parks architectural division, also dates to this time.
More history the golf course can be seen at www.waskesiugolf.com.
The annual golf tournament is named after the iconic tree which stands in the middle of the first fairway.
A lobstick tree was used by aboriginal peoples as a marker or sign post. They cut it into a distinct shape by trimming branches off.
The Lobstick tournament includes events for women, men, seniors, and juniors. Trophies in the clubhouse show the names of many excellent golfers who have won over the years.
Entertaining stories have come from this tournament including this one about a young woman golfer, Margaret (Esson) Elliott, told by her husband William Elliott in Waskesiu Memories Volume II edited by Dorell Taylor.
“…Margaret won the Ladies’ Tournament six times in 1938, 1940, 1944, 1945, 1946 and 1947. When she won it in 1938 she had just turned seventeen years old. Her golf history is quite remarkable for she won the senior provincial ladies’ championship for the first time in 1936 only six weeks after she turned fifteen years old. This is a Canadian record, for no woman has ever been a senior provincial champion anywhere in Canada at such a young age.”
“My parents, Jim and Louise Cripps, lived at Waskesiu for nearly thirty-seven years. Dad was the greenskeeper on the golf course. The course was a source of pride for him. During Lobstick tournaments Dad would be up about 3:30 a.m. making sure the fairways were cut and watered and the greens were like carpets. The watering was done during the night so there were crews of men moving the sprinklers. Another area of his expertise was the flowerbeds around the government buildings. He and his men planted many hundreds of pansies, petunias, marigolds and lobelia.”
Told by June (Cripps) Epp in Waskesiu Memories, Volume II, edited by Dorell Taylor
The signature lobstick tree, planted in 1935 on the first fairway of the Waskesiu Golf Course died of old age.
It was replaced in a community ceremony attended by hundreds of people in September of 2013.
Engraved slices of the original tree were sold as souvenirs. The replacement tree is being allowed to establish itself before the branches are trimmed to create the iconic lobstick shape.
Herb Pinder chats with Mona Finlayson about working as a caddy at the newly opened Golf Course in this short audio clip. Herb and Mona are long time seasonal residents, neighbours in their Lakeview cottages, and avid golfers.
In this short audio clip, Mona Finlayson talks about golfing as a young teenager in her first Ladies Lobstick Golf Tournament. Mona enjoys golfing and the view from her lakefront cottage.
Dr. Paul Gareau recounts his caddying experiences in Volume I of Waskesiu Memories. Animals presented unique challenges for the caddies.
“Starting about 1941 I learned about golf and spent a good deal of my time competing with friends for caddy jobs and golfing. Most golfers in those days used caddies and we all became very adept at remembering yardages, marking where errant golf balls strayed off course, finding them, and protecting golf balls from being stolen by foxes. The latter threat meant that one caddied 100 to 150 yards ahead of the golfer in order to run to the golf ball after it came to rest, and beat the animals to the race. We were not always successful. More than once I have seen a fox even try to get a ball out of a hole if one happened to actually drop in where it was supposed to end up.
"When confident enough, after gaining much experience caddying, I would consider myself expert enough to boldly have the club ready to hand to my golfer, trying to guess what he or she should use, since I knew the yardage so well. Many of us would get to the pro shop early and line up so as to be sure of getting a job and, if early enough, one might finish one round and a get a second job the same day. Walking 36 holes of golf, caddying and then playing nine holes was not uncommon and, during the summer, one could play until 10:00 or 10:30 P.M. During the war, golf balls were made of lesser materials than prior to the outbreak, and golfers aspired to good prewar balls.
"One of our family members was a black Labrador dog who became very good at finding balls and it was an evening pastime for me to take him out on the course, walk through the bush on either side of the fairways, pretending to throw a golf ball and have him return with one. I could on occasion collect several balls and make a little extra money in that way.
"Wild animals were commonly seen on the golf course and on the roads. We didn’t seem to worry about seeing bears and certainly saw a lot of fox, deer and elk. The latter made a mess of the greens, running across and tearing up the grass and I suppose that it still sometimes takes place in the fall during the rutting season.”
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