Knowlton Golf Club

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.

2002 - Club President Sonia Raikes Smith officially opens the new nine. “It’s a beautiful course. It’s spectacular.” Cutting the ribbon are Brian Gallery, Laurent Beaudoin, Sonia Raikes Smith, Yvon Dupont and Donald Gray-Donald.

2003 - Fees raised but older members grandfathered. Normand Parker dies in a car accident. Much loved manager and 25-year employee of club. A scholarship is raised to educate his two children, Emily and Martin.

2004 - The terrace is extended and enclosed with framing and canvas. It remains a popular dining area for members in spring, summer and fall.

2006 - Steve Corbiere’s 31-year association with the Knowlton Golf Club ended as he left as a much-loved pro. Steve rebuilt all of the greens as part of the green renewal program, which began in 1990 and helped prepare the course for the new nine.

2007 - Dan Bogan starts as assistant pro and takes over as full time pro a year later. Dan is only the fifth pro in the 100+ year history of the club.

2008 - Upstairs guest rooms are renovated and updated helped by generous donations from members.

2009 - 139-year-old oak tree in front of club is toppled in a storm. It was planted in 1870 by the Duke of Connaught, Queen Victoria’s son.

2014 - The log cabin built in 1815 by Col. Paul Holland Knowlton is donated to the Museum and moved to the center of the village.

2016 - Young families continue to join the club, lowering the average age of members from 71 to 61.

2017 - Promising young golfer Edouard Grondin had a car accident on his way to the club for work and passed away a few days later. Hundreds turn out to the ceremony at the club to honor his life.
The 11th hole is named after Elizabeth “Libby” Nixon, a member for more than 80 years.

2018 - Futuristic virtual practice range opens, allowing members to practice their game in the winter.

2019 & 2021 - US President Bill Clinton plays golf with local mystery writer Louise Penny.

2020-21 - The worldwide pandemic restricts activity at the club, though with masks and other protocols some semblance of normalcy is maintained.

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

Club Philosophy

The Knowlton Golf Club is a private golf club dedicated to the spirit of golf at its most authentic. Our members choose the Knowlton Golf Club because of our sustained commitment to excellence. Our mission is to provide an environment where members gather to foster and enjoy the traditions of the game of golf in unique and informal surroundings.

Club's Statement of Values

The members of the Knowlton Golf Club have the utmost respect for their fellow members and the game of golf. Members believe that their Club should provide a quality experience in every aspect of its operation.

In accordance with these beliefs, members will:

Club rules must be interpreted in compliance with the Club’s Philosophy and Statement of Values. They apply to all categories of members, unless specified otherwise.

Presidents of the Knowlton Golf Club
from 1921 to present

2020-21 : Michel Brisebois
2019-20 : Louis Léveillé
2017-18 : Scott Munro
2015-16 : Claude Lemieux
2013-14 : W. Brian Edwards
2011-12 : Elaine Beaudoin
2009-10 : John A. MacDougall
2007-08 : Jean-Guy Gauthier
2005-06 : Keith F. Eaman
2003-04 : Michel Desfossés
2001-02 : Sonia Raikes Smith
1999-00 : J. Ritchie Bell
1997-98 : Donald Gray-Donald
1995-96 : Robert J. Briscoe
1993-94 : Warren P. Woodworth

1991-92 : P. Kenneth Roberston
1989-90 : Ian Soutar
1987-88 : Elizabeth J. Nixon
1985-86 : Col. Jean Claude Dubuc
1983-84 : E. Roy Hickman
1981-82 : Peter S. Leggat
1979-80 : Col. Gaétan Côté
1977-78 : Dr. Robert F. Harvey
1975-76 : Neil M. Shaw
1973-74 : Guy S. Fisher
1971-72 : Roderick L. Henry
1969-70 : Alan A. Sharp
1967-68 : Peter J. Mckinnon
1965-66 : Richard C. Kerrigan
1963-64 : H.J. Ross Newman

1961-62 : Eric L. Hamilton
1959-60 : John P. Taylor
1957-58 : James Brodie
1955-56 : John V. Kerrigan
1953-54 : Rod A.Timmins
1951-52 : Hartland K. Mckeown
1949-50 : Dr. Arthur S. Douglass
1947-48 : Lee A. Boyd
1942-46 : Ronald H. Robinson
1940-41 : Victor E. Kerrigan
1938-39 : Robert E. Haldenby
1934-37 : John D. Johnson
1923-33 : Alfred Collyer
1921-22 : Arthur L. Paterson