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History of Annapolis Royal Golf Club.

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History of Annapolis Royal Golf Club.

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History of Annapolis

Royal Golf Club.

GOLF

 part 2

In 1928 residents of Bridgetown and area were invited to join the club and these new members proved to be valuable assets.  Among executive members during those early years was a Judge K.L. Crowell, who left Hillsdale in 1940 to construct the aptly named Eden golf course at West Paradise. As Hillsdale became established, cups were donated (among them Harris Cup) – 1928, Prescesky Cup – 1939, both still in play), rules made and changed as necessity dictated, life members appointed and a tea committee formed.  Composed of associate members, the tea committee played a vital role in the social and financial life of the club.  Rain or shine, three Saturdays a month from the inception of the club to the mid 1950s the ladies of this committee served afternoon tea to golfers and guests at a minimal fee.  On the fourth Saturday they served their famous bean and scallop suppers. Through the tireless efforts of the tea ladies a rainy day fund was gradually built up and in 1941 a special bank account was opened under the name of the Hillsdale golf club and tea fund. Financially, Hillsdale struggled along on a shoe string. Membership dues ($25.00 for residents, $10.00 for additional family members and $2.00 for a tea member) rarely netted sufficient funds to meet the annual commitment to Mr Perkins. Membership drives met with little success and it grew increasingly difficult to obtain concessions from the course owners. Memberships decreased alarmingly during the war years and in 1941 the handwriting was on the wall.  In that year, discouraged by the lack of support, the executive resigned in a body.  Distressed by this turn of events, Mr Perkins reduced the club rental fee and a new executive limped along until 1945. At the annual meeting in April 1945, only the executive gave an appearance.  The president stated that since there was a credit balance of only 50cents and no enthusiasm shown, it was advisable to suspend the club’s activities and notify Mr Perkins of this action. There were no further club minutes until 1949 when an annual meeting was held at the Annapolis District community centre (purchased by the town from Cornwallis Naval Base immediately after W.W. II)  and a full slate of officers and committee heads appointed.  Newcomer to the area provided the necessary incentive and by 1951 a revitalized Hillsdale was in full swing.  Improvements were made to the fairways, Clyde Goucher employed as caretaker and Mrs Francis employed at the newly improved clubhouse. During this period the association with Cornwallis began to figure prominently and special concessions were made to service personnel. In keeping with the new wave of enthusiasm, more attention was paid to handicaps and tournaments were set up with other clubs.  One of the most significant changes took place in 1957 when Hillsdale joined the Royal Nova Scotia Golf Association, making 100 per cent membership of clubs in Nova Scotia. In the early sixties, a ladies’ division was formed as a separate club entity.  Wednesday morning Ladies’ days became a permanent institution, trophies were set up and Ladies’ match play instigated. With the help of a large membership from C.F.B. Cornwallis, the ladies division went on to become enthusiastic Hillsdale supporters and dedicated club workers. In 1969 the Ladies’ division came of age and joined the Canadian Ladies Golf Association, thus entitling members to enter provincial field days and participate in C.L.G.A. pin days.  In 1973 the Hillsdale Ladies’ division held their first invitational field Day and now plan to make this an annual event. In the early sixties, club members became weary of the continual financial wrangles with the course owner and began to consider purchasing the course. By 1965 membership had increased to 202 (over 80 in 1951) and the executive felt that the club was in a strong enough position to enter negotiations.  A meeting was held to discuss the possibility of purchasing the club jointly with Cornwallis.   However, this proposal fell through and in 1966 the course was sold by Mr Perkins to Henry Reardon, a Halifax physician, and his wife Barbara. By virtue of this purchase a new era dawned for Hillsdale. Operating under the name of Hillsdale Golf and Country Club Limited, Dr Reardon assumed full financial responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the course and the provision of canteen and pro- shop facilities.  Released from the bug bear of meeting annual rental commitments,   club members were able to devote more time and energy to general club activities. Dr Reardon engaged, Gordon Shaw as Hillsdale’s first Pro, hired the late Art Mackenzie as canteen manager, and began immediate improvements to the course.  Under the supervision of Shaw, an expert at course design and construction, new tees were built, vast improvements made to greens and two new holes (the present 3 & 4) constructed.  The new holes added badly needed yardage to the course and relieved the night mare congestion of the former 2, 3 and 4 fairways. Gordon Shaw also concentrated on junior development.  Under his tutelage several fine young golfers emerged, among them Dr Reardons son Mike, the present Hillsdale champion. “Gordy” left Hillsdale after two years to construct and manage the Clare golf and Country Club, and was replaced in 1973 by Ernie Butler. Well known in Maritime golfing circles, Ernie began further renovations to the course.  As a result, this year Hillsdale will celebrate its fiftieth birthday with the opening of two additional fairways. Extending beyond the driveway and well to the back of the clubhouse, the new 305 yard par 4 number 10 and Par 5 number 11 will provide a greater challenge to all golfers. As Hillsdale approaches the mid century mark, a little stock taking seems in order. The certain persons who called at the Town Hall’ in 1924 would perhaps be disturbed by changes in the social patterns over the years.  The leisurely afternoon teas on the club house veranda have been replaced by the impromptu Saturday evening BBQ and the “founding fathers” have been supplanted by the ladies Division as the backbone of the club.  Golfing styles, rules and etiquette have certainly been altered. The founding fathers can rest content, secure in the knowledge that through the significant contribution of latter day golfers “The golf links have continued and become a permanent institution.”