One hundred years of golf. That's pretty incredible, and it is what the Portage Golf Club was recognizing this past week.
The Centennial theme will continue throughout the season but this past Saturday night, over 150 Portage Golf Club members and guests came together to celebrate the history of our club. Many past presidents, board members and volunteers were on hand to re-live some of the memories of the course that opened in 1922.
In the early years, the operating budget for the entire course was less than $1000 a year. A season-long membership for men was $25 and for women, $12.50. In the depression of the thirties, they had to drop it to 20 and 10. With numbers like those, it is no surprise almost everything you see on the course is thanks to thousands of volunteer hours over the decade.
Current PGC President Dean Cairns, past president Preston Meier, Ladies Club member Erin McCartney & 100th Anniversary Committee Chair Marcia Friesen all spoke on various aspects of the history of our club
One of the highlights of the evening was the handing out of an Honourary Lifetime Membership to Don Jackson. Jackson has been a member of the club for over 60 years and was also the General Manager of the club through its expansion to 18 holes in the '90s. Jackson has also served 3 times on the board of directors.
"When they were talking about who was getting the award, they didn't say who it was. And as it went along, I thought, this may be me. I had no idea. It is quite a honour. The course has been a huge part of my life. The friendships I've made, the volunteers that have made it happen, it's quite amazing. Every full-grown tree you see on the course was planted by a volunteer way back when"
Current course superintendent Farroll Asham presented the award and talked about Don's importance to the club. Asham recalled his first visit to the course and biking to the Island as a young teenager. Jackson promptly sent him home for wearing a muscle shirt and not having the proper attire on. Asham has now been golfing at the course for over 30 years and said Jackson was a big part in helping him learn the game as a junior member.
Jackson should be a good mentor. He has won the Portage Men's Open a record 15 times and has his name on the Men's Club Championship trophy 29 times spanning a period of 7 different decades. Additionally, Don is a 3 time Manitoba Senior Champion (2007, 2008, 2009) and has won a multitude of other events through the years.
The club had hoped to unveil a centennial stone this week but those plans have been postponed because of the weather. Men's night is also canceled today as the course is closed to clean up following yesterday's storm. There is also a 100th anniversary Vegas Scramble tournament planned on June 11th.