John Boyd, a builder of roads, branched out into golf course construction in 1928. He obtained a 40 year government lease on 120 acres of University Endowment Lands and opened the public course named the Westward Ho! Golf Course. That course soon became known to the public as the University Golf Course. It was estimated to cost only $70-80,000 to build.
Boyd’s General Construction Company, which built many Interior highways and upgraded the Fraser Canyon Highway, developed the first nine holes under the supervision of Shaughnessy Professional Davey Black. The engineer was Mr. McPherson who designed the course and laid out the fairways (Hole #1 was a ladies par 6). Harry Winder, Black’s brother-in-law who had apprenticed at Shaughnessy, was University’s pro for the life of the lease, he was appointed the Professional on May 15, 1930.
In 1937 it was the home of the Public Links Championship when Harry Winder lost the course record of 65 to Horton Smith who shot a record 64. The Championship drew 4,500 spectators and was played by American golf stars Horton Smith, Jimmy Thomson, Harry Cooper and Lawson Little. This was the first golf ‘clinic’ ever conducted in BC by touring pros.
The West Point Golf Club called the University course home and initial West Point membership dues were $10.00 annually, Members paid 50 cents for 18 holes, 85 cents for a second round and 25 cents twilight. The club was limited to 135 men and 60 women.
In 1960 Boyd handed over the lease to his oldest daughter, Lillian Bladwin, who held it until it expired in 1970. Lillian was the top woman player in the 1938 City Championship.
The province operated University from 1970-1985. From 1972 - 1977, the government spent 2 million redesigning and upgrading all or parts of 13 holes under the supervision of John Reimer, a Surrey golf course architect. In 1971, the government appointed Mr. Ron Willey as the Professional and the golf course was run more or less from Victoria.
In 1985 a group of Vancouver businessmen headed by Robin Lecky and late Shaughnessy Professional Jack McLaughlin was awarded a 25 year lease. Members of this group included sports commentator and promoter Greg Douglas and his partner Ron Gardner, UBC director of athletics Bob Hindmarch, Former Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club manager Bill Gillespie, engineer and developer Ivan Kraemer and chartered accountant Bill Humphries. The lease has since been controlled by David Ho.
They changed the name to University Golf & Country Club. They built a lavish clubhouse and driving range in 1985, relocating headquarters behind the old second green and modernized the rearranged course. The original clubhouse by the University Boulevard gates at Tenth and Blanca remains in place, completely renovated and restored as the BC Golf Museum.
In 1969 on it’s busiest days the university golf course was played by over 300 golfers. An estimated of the annual tourn over is about 30,000 golfers. Today that number is 65,000 golfers annually.
In May 1987 a new 10,000 square foot sand trap was developed.
In 1989 new Head Professional was appointed – Gilles Dufort from Capilano
In 1984 a green fee cost $9.00
In 1986 a green fee cost $15.00 (after renovations)
In 1987 a green fee cost $22.00
1n 2004 a green fee costs $70.00
Today, the University Golf Club boasts over 80 years of serving the community. It has been voted the #1 Public Golf Course by various sources over numerous years including the Vancouver Courier and the Vancouver Sun.