100 YEARS OF HISTORY AT PINE RIDGE GOLF CLUB
In 1909, Edward Legge came to Toronto from Glasgow, Scotland history as a young lawyer. He joined the Toronto Golf Club and six months later, walked away with the Canadian Amateur Championship, having led the qualifiers by no less than seven strokes. Shortly after winning the Amateur, he went to work in Winnipeg. He did not play another national championship, but in 1911, he won the Manitoba Amateur Golf Championship, defeating runner-up Douglas Laird of St. Charles (who would later become a member of Pine Ridge in 1913) on Laird’s own course. That same year, wanting a new place to golf, Legge appointed a committee to look for a suitable piece of property upon which to build a course. The rolling hills and ridges of pine in the Springfield area attracted them. The 156-acre property selected was purchased from Capt. C.V. Lindsay for $23,535.00 and the new golf course, called Pine Ridge Golf Club was established. With the outbreak of war, Legge joined the army as a private. He survived the war but never did return to Canada.
The first recorded meeting of the Board of Directors was held on August 2nd, 1912. The board consisted of Dr. H. Smith (President), H.F. Osler (Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary), and H.J. Symington (Greens). Although Edward Legge was instrumental in establishing Pine Ridge Golf Club, he had no desire to ever sit on the Board. Thomas Bendelow, golf course Architect and manager of the golf department of Spalding Bros., Chicago was engaged to lay out the course, he did so on August 10th, 1912. Bendelow was a pioneer of the public course movement in America. Over the years of his experience, he had laid out over 600 courses throughout Canada and the United States. By the end of 1913, the club boasted a membership of 124 shareholders. The course officially opened for play in late August 1914.
In 1919, the Board recognizing that the layout lacked in some areas especially that there were no sand bunkers on the course, sent D. N. Finnie, the greens chairman at the time, to Pinehurst, N.C., to interview golf architect Donald Ross. He persuaded Ross to come to Pine Ridge to remodel the Bendelow layout. During his visit to Winnipeg, the St. Charles and Elmhurst Country Clubs also engaged Ross to do some work on their courses. Ross’ remodeling of Pine Ridge’s 18-hole layout resulted in the construction of 11 new tees, the installation of 108 sand bunkers (of which only 43 of the original remain today). New greens were constructed on holes 6, 11, 14 and 16 and the greens on 7 and 8 were renovated. The rerouting of holes 3, 6, 11, 12 and 15 also took place. The 7th and 14th holes were developed as new holes. The 14th hole is and excellent example of a Ross par 3 and was considered by him as one of his best designs.
In 1986, renowned Canadian golf architect Les Furber prepared a Master Plan for possible renovations and upgrading of the golf course. To alleviate drainage problems on the course, holes 5, 6, 8, and 12 were completed according to the master plan in 1987. Local golf architect David Grant prepared the “Master Restoration Plan” in 2008 to restore the course back to the original Donald Ross design. In the fall of that year the 7th green complex was restored starting the first phase of the Restoration plan.
In 2012, the Pine Ridge Golf Club celebrated its 100th Anniversary. Pine Ridge is the third oldest continuously operating golf course in Manitoba; the other two are The Virden Wellview Golf Course (1892) and the St. Charles Country Club (1905).Many prestigious events and national tournaments have been held over the years, starting with an exhibition match between Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in 1920, and later in 1956 between Julius Boros and George Knudson. National Events such as the 1933 Canadian Ladies, 1965 Canadian Amateur, 1986 Canadian Men’s Seniors, 1991 Canadian Junior Ladies and the 1999 Canadian Club Professionals. Starting with the 1932 Manitoba Open, Pine Ridge hosted another 13 Manitoba Open events until 1996 when the event was taken over by the Canadian Tour. Since then 13 Canadian Tour events were hosted by 2012. Over 270 of the professionals who played in these events went on to play on the PGA Tour.
The golf course is a par 72 layout and plays at 6636 yards from the championship tees and 5400 yards from the forward tees. What the course may lack in length it more than makes up with its small undulating (some my say diabolical) greens. The competitive course record of 62 was established by Wes Martin and Mark Slawter during the 4th round of the MTS Classic in 2001 and again by Michael Walton and Dustin Risdon during the 2nd and 4th rounds of the 2008 Players Cup both Canadian Tour events. The signature 9th hole is a 231 yard, 40 foot elevated shot to an inverted saucer green. This hole is “Nationally regarded as one of the 18 toughest holes in Canada”.