History

Prior to the formation of the Knowlton Golf Club in 1920, the property on which the course lies was held by a number of Early Canadian Loyalists. William Porter became the first person to own the property when it was gifted to him by Colonel Asa Porter and his associates. In subsequent years the property was left to Paul Holland Knowlton.  Mr. Knowlton ultimately became a Colonel and decided to move to the present-day village, where he built himself a residence which has come to be known as Darley Place.   Having moved into town, the Colonel bequeathed the property of the Golf Club to his daughter Sarah and her husband, Hiram Sewell Foster.  They lived on the land and built a large brick house where the clubhouse now stands.  

In 1862, the property was sold to the first member of the Brome community to reach Federal Parliament, the Honorable Christopher Dunkin.  Upon purchasing the land, Mr. Dunkin enlarged the house, renamed it 'Lakeside' and often used the dwelling to entertain visiting dignitaries. In 1870, Prince Arthur planted a beautiful oak tree on the front lawn. It is from this tree that the Oak Terrace draws its name.

When the Honorable Sir Dunkin passed away in 1909, he left the property to his nephew, Dunkin Bancroft.   Despite being very fond of the land, Mr. Bancroft sold the property to John Baillie, who subsequently made infrastructure improvements and renamed the property 'Waah Brae'.  Much to his dismay, the main house tragically burnt down on January 3rd, 1918.  The building was considered among the finest homes in the Eastern Townships and had emerged as one of the principal landmarks of Knowlton.

At the time of the fire, the Knowlton Board of Trade had begun searching for a suitable property for a golf course. Esteemed board members, Mr. A. L. Patterson and Senator G.G. Foster sought the assistance of Mr. Albert Murray to identify the most suitable properties in the area.  Upon visiting the Baillie property, Mr. Albert reported that it was perfect and possessed many desirable features for a golf course. In 1921 the property was purchased and a bond agreement was consummated. Mr. Baillie generously accepted a large number of bonds himself as form of payment.  Common stock was subsequently issued to new members and an operating agreement was established. The agreement stipulates that only members are eligible to become officers of the Club and that the administration of the club remains solely their responsibility.  The agreement also limits the number shares held by any individual in order to ensure that the direction of the Club remains in the hands of the majority of its members.

The club opened to members in may of 1921 when a temporary seven-hole course was made available.  A more formal opening, marked by the first ball being driven by Mr. Baillie, was held later that summer.   The Clubhouse, consisting of little more than locker rooms, an office, kitchen and bar, were erected on the foundations of the old Dunkin house.  By the second season, nine holes had been made available and club tournaments were keenly contested by members.

“The success of the first two seasons leaves no doubt in the minds of the committee as to the future of the club.  The extent of the improvements to be made and the development of the property depends upon the financial support and enthusiasm of club members."

“In conclusion the shareholders should realize that there are many opportunities for the improvement of the club in the future, such as the erection of a suitable clubhouse which will provide more comfortable quarters for members than is at present possible with the available accommodation and that there is sufficient property for eighteen hole course when the membership is large enough to warrant such an investment."

In subsequent decades, the Knowlton Golf Club enjoyed considerable success. The size of its membership grew considerably and the course became among the most luxurious places to play golf in the Eastern Townships. Nevertheless, the course remained limited to nine holes.  In the early 1960's, under the direction of President Ross Newman, the club negotiated the purchase of an adjacent property from the Verno family. This additional acreage would eventually become the site of the back nine. It was only in 1995, however, that President Robert Briscoe and several other esteemed members commissioned the development of the second half of the course. In typical club fashion, a group of members including Laurent Beaudoin, Brian Gallery, Yvan Dupont and Donald Gray-Donald took it upon themselves to support the expansion of the course.

N.B. There are twelve families whose membership can be traced to the inception of the club.
 

 

References: "ALONG THE OLD ROADS", from Lore and Legend of Brome County, BCHS 1965
(1) (2) ''The Knowlton Golf Club'',by order of the Executive Committee, Feb 1923