Fore! Over 100 years on the green at Ashburn Golf Club
Posted on May 26, 2023 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments
Situated just minutes from bustling downtown Halifax, members can escape from the big city at Ashburn Golf Club’s original course. Known as one of the most historic golf clubs in Canada, players have been putting on Ashburn turf for over 100 years. Now with two courses, Ashburn remains a prime spot for a friendly match.
The beginning of Ashburn Golf Club dates back to the formation of Halifax Golf and Country Club in 1896. The group originally played on a 9-hole golf green near Dalhousie University and eventually sought land to build a larger course. After contracting famous Canadian course architect Stanley Thompson, the group purchased a historic 142-acre private estate property on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Construction of Ashburn’s 18-hole golf course began in 1922 and officially opened the following year with a ceremonial tee-off by Governor General Lord Byng. While the organization is still officially incorporated as Halifax Golf and Country Club, it became known as Ashburn shortly after the course opened—exactly when, and the meaning behind the name, is a grey area according to current General Manager Gordie Smith.
As members of the private golf club increased, in 1958 discussions began about constructing a second location. After the club acquired 600 acres of land near Kinsac Lake in Fall River, Nova Scotia, Geoffrey Cornish, a former associate of Stanley Thompson, got to work designing a new 18-hole course. Allowing the club to expand its membership, the second course opened in 1970. Each Ashburn course is distinguished as Old or New Ashburn.
Facilities at Old Ashburn received a major upgrade when the old clubhouse was demolished in 1999 and a new modern building was constructed in its place. While still a place of golf, the location has also become a popular spot for weddings and other functions.
A number of notable guests and athletes have played on Ashburn’s courses over the years. Former New York Yankee Babe Ruth played on the Old Course in the 1940s, and in 1995 Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien joined U.S. President Bill Clinton for a round at Ashburn. Hockey player Gordie Howe and golfers George Knudson and Moe Norman have also played on Ashburn’s green.
Ashburn has hosted a number of regional and national golf competitions over the years, as well as the international Korn Ferry Tour (formerly the Web.com Tour) in 2015 and 2016.
Par for the course
Officially open for the 2023 season, Ashburn Golf Club is at capacity with 2,000 members who can enjoy both the New and Old Courses.
“It’s not often that you have a private club right in the middle of a bustling big city,” says General Manager Gordie Smith. When asked about plans for the future, he mentioned that there may be renovations for the New Course down the road, but for now, the focus is to “continue improving what we offer members.”
Over 100 years later and still putting strong.
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