The foundations for the plans that led to the construction of Squamish Valley Golf Club were started in 1965 when two groups got together to build a golf course for the “Good of Squamish”. One group was led by Lloyd Ingraham, the Club’s first President and the other, local developer Ray Bryant. The groups were comprised of Bill Baldwin, John Drenka, Pat Good, Bill Gedge, John Hughes, Dr. Luke Plunkett, Steve Rizun and Eric Starthers and the two aforementioned gentlemen. Good contributed $100 and the other 9 contributed $10 each and Squamish Valley Golf Club was officially formed…. on paper.
Where to build the golf course was the next challenge. Various sites were considered but the present site in the Garibaldi Highlands area was eventually agreed upon. The next step was raising the money needed to design and build the course. It was a task that was initially thought to be a difficult one but Bryant and Plunkett proved themselves to be both resourceful and convincing salesmen and sufficient money to begin design and works were raised in just a few months.
Initially, the Club launched an official membership campaign targeting one hundred shares selling at $240 with 90% of investment refundable. Unfortunately, that share structure was deemed not to be legal and shortly thereafter the Club converted to a not for profit society.
Squamish Valley Golf Club opened its fairways to members and the public on July 1st, 1967. Built on land that formerly had a river running through it, and funded only by a modest budget, it was a golf design project that relied on an enormous amount of volunteer hours, support and enthusiasm from the local community. The local business community was also instrumental in getting the Club built and invaluable support via heavy duty equipment and labour was provided by companies such as CRB, Fleetwood, Squamish Mills, Weldwood and Woodfibre.
Designed by Gordie MacKay, the Golf Club’s first head pro and also the designer of the Chilliwack and Hope Golf Courses, the course was first opened as a Par 36, 9 Hole facility with a 3,250 yardage. However, the 9 Hole course was only temporary, as two years later the course opened its second nine (with plans to bring the yardage to 6,600 yards, the third longest golf course in the province at the time). The original course was designed to make the most effective use of the natural obstacles (our trees) and bunkers/sand traps were not originally included. The course had a complete underground irrigation system for its fairways, a very impressive feature that only a few other courses in BC had at the time.
Due to the course having been built on old riverbed stones, rocks started surfacing through fairways in the initial years. In order to deal with this, golfers volunteered to carry small 1-liter buckets on their carts and picked up stones as they came across them. The rocks were then deposited at the next tee with a new fairway of picking laying ahead of them. Legend has it that Dan Rourke, one of the hardest workers the Club has ever seen, at one time wore out three rakes working on Squamish’s fairways!
Since its opening over 50 years ago, the course has seen various redesigns and renovations. In 1993, designs by Robert Muir Graves were implemented and in 1996 renovations were carried out by Gary Browning of Browning Horrocks Golf Design. The most recent renovations were made to our 13th, 15th and 16th holes.
Squamish Valley Golf Club has hosted numerous Provincial Championships as well as hosted the 2005 National Women’s Amateur Championship. Each year the club is proud to host various Charity and Fundraising events, as well as donate thousands of dollars worth of rounds of golf to local and provincial charities and causes.
The members at Squamish Valley Golf Club are very proud of their Club and rightly so. The location, the scenery, the conditions, and the friendly service are without question worthy of their accolades.
If you have yet to play Squamish Valley Golf Club, do yourself a favour and book a tee time soon!