Our story

The Slocan Lake Golf Course was established in the 1930’s by a group of men who were interested in learning how to golf, including Johnny Tier, Jim Greer, Neil Tattrie, Jim Draper, Dr. Allen Francis, Joe McPhee, and Frank Broughton. Women would join in a few years later.

old timey golfer

With no water system, the fairways were green for two months a season, maintained with an International Pup tractor pulling a 3-gang mower behind it to keep them in shape. Sand greens were swept by dragging a cocoa mat around them. A greens boy was paid $1 on tournament days. The sand greens had a reputation for being the best in the Kootenays due to the carefully-screened sand extracted from a pit below the golf course collected every couple of years at volunteer work bees. The sand was mixed with bulk fuel, a recipe perfected by the original members. The first recorded Open Tournament was held in 1941 with a trophy donated by Wood Vallance Hardware of Nelson.

The golf course was the only one in the area and quickly became popular. Its popularity soared in the 70’s when an irrigation system was introduced, with great effort, arm twisting, many grant applications through B.C. Lotteries. Then-treasurer, Gary Musil and other executives secured final funding through the sale of SLGC shares with interest. The Golf Club would later buy these shares back as it became more profitable. The lottery funding was one-third grant-based on the total final cost of the project, with all the volunteer labour and equipment calculated into the total cost.

The golf club members along with community effort ensured the Slocan Lake Golf Course’s success. Loggers and miners built log dams to divert the water from Dennis Creek so fine sand settled out before running into the pipe. Miners’ labour and equipment were donated to widen a pipe bed shelf to lay the pipe on as it came around the mountain before it went underground in a ditch for miles down to the golf course. A local farmer donated his time and backhoe to dig the pipe trench to lay our water pipe in as it came down through his field. The same farmer spent many hours hand-laying and connecting the pipe, and then hand-shovelling the dirt back over, before covering the pipe and levelling the trench through to the golf course. A pump shed was built, and then working with an irrigation system installer, the fully automatic sprinkler system was installed.

There was no stopping the club after so much effort. It was soon apparent members wanted to compete on grass greens, which required more volunteer work. Tourists and the public played the beautiful green golf course all summer long, green fees revenue increased, and members decided it was time build a new clubhouse. Other changes continued, including expanding greens, planting trees and falling others.

The Slocan Lake Open Golf Tournament grew to attract over 120 golfers (including professionals) from Trail, Nelson, Castlegar, Kaslo, Slocan, the Slocan Valley and Nakusp, with prizes donated by local businesses and by suppliers who sold equipment and supplies to the Silvana mine and mill.