The same community spirit that has contributed to Fernie Golf Club’s success over the past 100 years shone at the centennial celebration on Saturday.
Hundreds of people crammed into the clubhouse for the barbecue dinner that night after an afternoon of activities, which included free golf, games and cart tours, as well as the unveiling of a historical exhibit.
The open house followed a week of golf tournaments that attracted record crowds and wouldn’t have been possible without the support of golf club staff, members and volunteers.
Gord Goodman had only two words for the turnout – “it’s incredible”.
The Fernie Golf Club president said many friendships had been rekindled during the centennial celebrations, with former staff and members travelling from across the country to mark the milestone.
“As a result of the 100th anniversary, we’ve had an opportunity to look back at the club from 1918 on and you get to see how involved the community has been in the club,” he said.
“Whether it’s building the original nine holes and sand greens then changing it to grass greens, putting in the irrigation system, turning it into 18 holes, building a new clubhouse – volunteers.
“The community got together and got around the projects for the last 100 years.
“Then I see the event today and I see how many volunteers got together to put this on and to me, it’s just the spirit of a small community, of Fernie.
“Today was an opportunity for us to try to give back to the community.”
Fernie Golf Club donated all proceeds from the centennial celebration to Elk Valley Hospice, which provides support to palliative care patients and their families.
In the spirit of giving, the winner of the 50/50 raffle also donated a portion of her cash prize to the hospice.
BC Golf Museum historian Mike Riste travelled from Vancouver for Saturday’s event, along with several sets of hickory golf clubs and a collection of women’s golfing outfits, the oldest dating pre-1900.
He presented Goodman with a Hudson Bay Company golf club that he said was likely used when the club was first opened in 1918.
Fernie’s centennial ushers in a new era for golf, according to Riste.
“Fernie starts a string over the next decade where at least one golf club in every year will celebrate a 100th,” he said.
“Some years, like 1922, 1925, 1928, there will be half a dozen clubs celebrating anniversaries, which is unique for golf in B.C. and Canada.”
Also on display at the clubhouse on Saturday were the contents of a time capsule to be buried at the club this fall, including a copy of The Free Press’ Fernie guide and a Fernie Golf Club-branded flask filled with whiskey.
Goodman said the capsule would be buried during the club championships in August and remain there for 50 years.
Going forward, the club is focused on continuing to improve the course.
“We’ve got a number of projects that we want to do to make the golf course better to play on, a little more friendly,” said Goodman.
“We are putting together a spot over beside the clubhouse where we can have wedding ceremonies so people can fully enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.”