Golf club celebrates 50 years

The Mission Golf and Country Club (MGCC) has been an institution for the past half-century in this municipality, and celebrations are being planned.

Jim Shaw’s father, Dr. Ed Shaw, was one of the founding members of the Nelson Street site, and he’s hoping as many fellow local golf aficionados will be able to attend the members-only April 9 gala.

“Golf is built to be a lifelong sport,” said Shaw, who literally grew up on the club greens and is the club president. “The nice thing about golf is that you can be competitive your whole life.”

In the late 1950s, Ed Shaw, who served as a dentist in Mission for decades, would regularly head out of town to play golf with his Rotarians buddies like Bob Fletcher and Toke Meeker, said Shaw.

Sitting around one day, a group set their minds to building a local club.

Private funding was arranged to purchase 50 acres of land from Mr. Nelson, he said. And the money came from non-golfers as well.

“There were quite a few citizens of Mission who didn’t play but wanted to see the golf course here,” said Shaw.

The organizing committee took out a loan to cover the remaining start-up costs, hired an architect, and by 1961, Missionites were playing golf in the same spot as today.

A donation of raw logs from the Mission Tree Farm was sent to Albert McMahon, who donated his mill’s equipment to shape the lumber. The finished logs were used to build the clubhouse, which also sported cedar shakes donated by Jack Davidson Sr., said Shaw.

There were some costs, but most of the labour and materials were contributed by the community, and in 1962, the clubhouse officially opened.

It has regularly been a struggle to make ends meet through the decades, and Shaw said at those times numerous residents would put up hard-earned cash to purchase lifetime memberships.

“We have always appreciated those taking extra money out to support the course,” he noted.

The popular nine-hole club was never built to be a championship course, but even with dramatic improvements in clubs and balls, “it still stands up as a challenging course for amateurs. It’s hard to score well here.”

Shaw is asking for any residents who have golf course stories or photographs to share leading up to the April 9 event to drop them off at MGCC, attention Mark Anderson, or to e-mail them to missiongolf@shaw.ca. All submissions must be in by April 5, and if you drop off photos, please include a return address.