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What commenced as a simple research project to determine the history of the Mission G&CC that formed in 1925 developed into an on going project. The Fraser Valley Record (FVR) October 11, 1967, contained an article titled “Three golf courses have had short-lived successes”
The author claimed; “The first of these was a private course of unknown length laid out on the estate of Walter Bulwer, who owned nearly 500 acres of bench land at Hatzic between 1885 and 1900. Since golf in those days was still a rich man’s game, it is likely that Mission’s first golf “links” quickly disappeared under wild blackberry vines and alder bushes soon after the Bulwers decided to follow the birds to Vancouver Island.”
A simple genealogy search of the Bulwer family revealed Walter John Redfoord Bulwer, son Henry Alan Bulwer, wife Mary Bulwer, and daughter Helena Dorothy Maud Bulwer entered Canada at Halifax in 1888. The two families first appeared in the BC Directories in 1894 as fruit farmers in Hatzic near Mission, BC. For the next decade Walter and son Henry appeared as fruit farmers. In 1900 Walter is recorded as the Postmaster for Mission. From 1903 – 1908 Walter and Henry plus their family members resided at 1728 Georgia St, Vancouver, BC. Walter remained in Vancouver until his death on August 7, 1911. In 1908 Henry moved his family to Victoria to assume a position with M des Brisay Co. He died in Victoria on September 7, 1948. To substantiate the golf claim the family roots in England and Ireland must be investigated. Was any relative of the Bulwer family tree a member of any golf club in the United Kingdom prior to the 1888? Did Walter or Henry play golf in Vancouver or Victoria? If this claim is correct we have another example of a pre 1900 golf course existing in BC. Presently we know golf courses existed in Atlin, Esquimalt, Jericho, Kelowna, Moodyville, New Westminster, Stanley Park, and Victoria. This could be a classic example of a Scotsman building a course as soon as he arrived at his new home.
Our investigation of the Mission G&CC began with an announcement in the Vancouver Daily Province, April 11, 1925. “Adam Slicer, formerly the assistant professional at the Calgary G&CC and latterly attached to the staff at Shaughnessy Heights, has been appointed professional at Mission G&CC.”
A series of articles in the FVR showed the new course in Mission was located “on the prairie west of the CPR station and has a splendid entry for cars by Railway Street which is in fine condition.” The organizers feared the area could suffer from flooding from the Fraser River. “The property has been guaranteed not to flood by the owners who will build a dyke to protect the course.”
“The organizing committee consisting of Messrs King, Houghen, McQuarrie, Alanson, and Duncan are taking all steps to insure a convenient and economical course. For the benefit of those who think that golf is an expensive game it might be mentioned that a set of the necessary clubs can be obtained for $11.50. A golf course is an asset to any town, and it is up to everyone to get in and boost it.”
By May the club had 6 holes open for play and invited the Chilliwack golfers to join them for a match. Unfortunately the mighty Fraser appeared stronger than the dykes erected to protect the course.
On June 13, 1925 the course laid submerged under six feet of water. “Not to be undaunted by this set-back officials of the club proceeded to look for new ground. Through the energetic efforts of the President R.P. King a lease has been secured on the property known as the Morton estate.” This tract of land occupied Lot 165 (see map). The club constructed the course on the high ground adjacent to the CPR line. Adam Slicer described the new site “as an ideal one, and when the regulation 18 hole course is completed next year, Mission City will have a golf course equal to the best in the province.” This ambitious plan never materialized.
The club flourished with about 50 members until the Great Depression hit the Valley. Like many clubs formed during the 1920’s the golfing season existed in the spring from March 1 until June 1 and reopened in the fall from September 1 until December 1. The chief factor for the split golf season laid in the fact the golf club had no mechanical equipment to cut the fairways and greens. During the summer the grass grew too quickly for the cattle and the members using hand mowers.
At the annual golf club meeting on March 1, 1928 the membership decided to change their name to the Fraser Valley Golf Club. They hoped to entice new members from a larger geographical area. The club also decided to relocate to the Robinson property. The newspaper provided no reason for the move. In March 1929 the President reported reported; “The golf club had decided to renew the lease on the Robinson property for another year. And a committee was selected to keep the greens in good condition.” It is unclear why the Mission Golf Club abandoned the Morton Estate for the Anderson property.
In 1930 no clippings appear in the Fraser Valley Record concerning the activities of the Mission G&CC. In 1931 it appears the old guard attempted to revive the old club Fraser Valley Golf Club. With no course in Mission the club used the Maple Ridge Golf Course in Hammond for their links. This attempt lasted for two years. Probably due to the distance between Maple Ridge and Mission the final event for the Fraser Valley Golf Club ended golf for the area on November 17th, 1932. – BC Golf House