Summerheights Golf Links Marks 50 Years of Great Golf
CORNWALL, ON – When it comes to adding up the score, mark it 50 on the front nine for Rory MacLennan. While that may not be a great golf score, it's golden for the owner of Summerheights Golf Links, who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the much loved city golf course.
Summerheights is a 36-hole layout in the City's north-end, and it remains family-owned and operated with Rory and his wife Kathy firmly at the helm. Over the past 50 years, the course has hosted countless tournaments, welcomed celebrities and most of all, allowed Cornwallites an opportunity to learn and love the game of golf.
Rory was just four years old when his father Dwayne and Uncle Ken opened what was then a nine-hole course in 1962. The MacLennan family had farmed the area for many years. After inheriting a larger property from their uncle and farming it for several years, Dwayne and Ken decided to turn their love of golf into a business. Construction of the golf course begain in 1961, and the first tee-off took place the next summer.
In 1976, the course expanded to 18 holes, and in 1979 the first permanent clubhouse was built.
In 1987, another 9 holes opened, giving golfers 27 holes to choose from.
In 1997, the course expanded again, offering two complete 18-hole layouts.
"I often joked with my dad that it took him 36 years to build 36 holes," said Rory.
Today, the late Dwayne MacLennan's legacy remains firmly intact at Summerheights. The South course has been renamed the MacLennan South course in his honor, together with the Matheson West course, named after his wife Jean (Matheson). The next generation is also stepping up as Rory and Kathy's daughter Katie is immersing herself in the business, along with her husband Nathan Andrews.
The course itself is looking better than ever, but there's always work to be done.
The course installed an additional 2,500 feet of drainage pipe last fall, and plans are undeerway to replace the bridges and culverts that traverse the creek that runs through the property. The goal is to have water leave the course more quickly, improving playing conditions afer heavy rains.
The course itself offers challenges for beginner and experienced golfers alike. Water, sand and trees all stand ready to snatch errant golf balls, although most greens are large and inviting. While golf has been jokingly referred to as "a good walk spoiled", that adage does not really seem to apply to the beautiful scenic setting of Summerheights.
Summerheights has about 400 members, and with 36 holes, its fairly easy to get a tee-off time. The course is also a popular home for golf tournaments, and over the past 50 years, the course has helped local organizations raise millions for area charities.
The celebration will be ongoing in 2012. On July 23, the official birthday, green fees will revert to what they were back in 1962 — $1. A commemorative tournament is also planned for September 22, marking to the day the 50th anniversary of the first tourney ever played at the links.
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