Timeline 1902 - 2022

 The history timeline of the Club was researched and written by golf writer, Brent Long. 


On July 16, 1902, The Lambton Golf and Country Club Limited was incorporated with Albert W. Austin as its first President. He found a 150-acre tract of land called the Humber Flats along the bank of the Humber River. A CPR railway line ran through the southern limit of the property providing a direct link by train to and from Union Station. The President of Dominion and Consumers Gas Company, Austin remained Lambton’s President until 1908. He stayed involved in all aspects of the Club until his death on July 5, 1934, at the age of 78. 


In a move that set it apart from other clubs, Lambton’s organizers considered and included women from the start, making it the first Canadian club to offer equal clubhouse privileges to women. A special feature of the Club was its nine-hole, 3,000-yard course that women were entitled to play every day. Guests were charged a 25-cent green fee and ladies played the game wearing the traditional long skirts and shirtwaists. 


English golf course architect, Willie Dunn Jr. is credited with the initial layout for Lambton’s 27 holes. The construction and finishing touches were left to George S. Lyon, the Club’s first captain. American golf course architect Tom Bendelow was invited to tour the course and make several suggestions that were acted upon.  When it opened on June 13, 1903, Lambton’s 18-hole course was the longest in North America at 6,260 yards and could be extended to 6,350 yards. It played 41-42, par 83. 


In 1904 at the age of 46, and with only six years of golf experience, George S. Lyon travelled to the Glen Echo Golf Club in St. Louis Missouri, with Lambton’s Club President, Albert Austin and his son Bert, and all three entered the golf competition at the Olympic Games. After five consecutive days of unrelenting golf, an 18-hole qualifier and then two 18-hole matches a day for four days, George was on the verge of making history. He defeated 20-year-old Chandler Egan 3&2 over the 36-hole match play final played in a downpour to win gold for Canada. Golf didn’t return to the Olympics until 2016. 


In 1907, Lambton hosted the Canadian Open for the first of four times. Lambton’s Head Golf Professional, Percy Barrett, who was schooled in England by none other than famed pro Harry William Vardon, made headlines on July 5 & 6. He won the two-day, four-round tournament, by two shots over George Cumming. Barrett picked up $80 for the victory from a total purse of $245 on a course that played 6,604, par-71 at the time. Barrett played in all Canadian Opens from 1904 to 1914 finishing no worse than ninth and then after World War I from 1919 to 1926 – a total of 19 times! 


When the Canadian Open returned to Lambton in 1925, PGA Champion Leo Diegel held off Walter Hagen to win his second consecutive Canadian title. For the first time in the history of the championship it was extended over three days, 18 holes on the first two days and 36 holes on the final day. Diegel started with a 69 to lead the field and finished with rounds of 75-73-78 for a two-shot victory over Michael Brady, who finished T7 at the 1924 Canadian Open. Diegel, who pocketed $400 at Lambton, went on to win 30 times on the PGA Tour including Canadian Opens in 1928 and 1929. 

1920 - 1930

Between 1920 and 1930 the Club made changes to the majority of the holes on the 18-hole layout including building new greens, and adding tee boxes to lengthen it based on recommendations from renowned golf course architect Donald Ross. The transplanted Scotsman from Dornoch transformed the American sports landscape in the first half of the century. At his death in 1948, he left behind a legacy of 413 courses, including such gems as Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina, Seminole in Florida, and Oakland Hills outside Detroit. In Canada, he’s known for his work at Rosedale GC, Essex G&CC, St. Charles G&CC, Elmhurst G&CC and others. 

1930 - 31

Canada’s most famous golf course architect, Stanley Thompson, played a role in Lambton’s evolution in 1930 and 1931 making changes to holes number 2, 5, 6, 9, 10 and 14. Thompson and his four brothers all caddied at The Toronto Golf Club and became above average golfers. After serving in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in WWI Stanley returned home and decided to become a golf course architect with the help of his brother, Nicol, the pro at Hamilton G&CC and George Cumming, the celebrated pro at Toronto Golf. By 1922 he was in business for himself and became known as the “Toronto Terror” building and remodelling about 160 courses. 


The Club hosted the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship in 1932.  It was won by Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Gordon B. Taylor who went on to contribute to golf administration as the president of RCGA and Canadian Seniors’ Golf Association.


Sam Snead won his third Canadian Open in four years at Lambton in 1941. Coming off playoff victories in both 1938 and 1940, Snead earned $1,000 for first with a two-stroke win over Scarboro G&CC Head Golf Professional Robert Gray Jr. followed by Gene Sarazen one stroke back. Snead carded rounds of 71-68-66-69, while Gray made headlines with scores of 70-65-70-71 to pick up $600. Lambton’s pro, Willie Lamb finished T13 going 73-72-71-72 to win $20! 


After Hurricane Hazel devastated the course on October 15, 1954, the Club retained Robbie Robinson to restore the course. At its peak, the flood waters of the Humber and the Black Creek reached a depth of 25 feet and were within six feet of the level of the 10th tee, the present halfway house location. Tons of silt and boulders covered the course, and several holes were significantly impacted. In 1958, the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto assumed responsibility, started construction of the Black Creek Diversion Channel throughout the course and eliminated the original winding creek bed. Robinson would be Lambton’s consulting architect until he died in the late 1980s. 


In October of 1959, the Club celebrated a milestone with a dinner to recognize Willie Lamb’s 25 years as head professional. A large gathering of members saluted his achievements in the many competitions he entered, as well as his dedication to any and all who sought his advice on how to play the game of golf. The native of Scotland won five CPGA Championships between 1928 and 1935. He played in the Canadian Open 26 times between 1925 and 1960. He retired as head professional in 1964. The Club enticed him to come out of retirement to advise on a major program to improve and enlarge several greens. Holes number 4, 7, 10, 14 and 17 were all enlarged, while a new green for the first hole opened in 1967. He died in 1969 and was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 1985. 


On November 22, 1960, the membership voted overwhelmingly to include a curling rink as part of a new clubhouse. After many delays the first rock was thrown in November of 1962. For three decades, curlers enjoyed many bonspiels and wonderful times curling at Lambton. The Lambton Lassie was one of the highlight events on the curling schedule in the GTA each year. Interest in the sport diminished as time went by and the Shareholders voted to cease curling operations in 1994. 


Lambton’s stately Victorian-styled clubhouse was built in just six and a half months and opened in 1903. However, it was a challenge to keep up throughout two World Wars and the Depression of the 1930s. It was finally demolished in the fall of 1961. The second clubhouse opened in the fall of 1962 with six sheets of ice for curling and looked nothing like its predecessor. The Club demolished it in 2001. The third and current clubhouse opened on April 28, 2001, a year ahead of the Club’s Centennial, and remains an active hub of activity. With its completion, both men and women had full access to all areas of the main floor without restriction. 


While tennis at Lambton dates back to 1906 with the construction of a single clay court, the sport really took off in the latter half of the Club’s history. In 1995 the tennis complex was redesigned with new lighting and four Har-Tru courts. Two years later the “Bubble” was installed for the first time, permitting tennis to be played all year round. Today, it is a vibrant section at the Club both in the summer and winter months.  


In 2002 the Club celebrated its 100th anniversary over the course of a week in July with a Centennial Pro Am for members, a family day with fun events throughout the Club and a day for invited guests and dignitaries. The highlight of the week was a spectacular Centennial Gala evening with dinner, dancing and a 14-piece band. In a nostalgic tribute to the founders, a single piper appeared in the shadows of the 18th fairway and two gentlemen in period costume, representing Albert Austin and George S. Lyon, played the hole and were joined by two ladies representing Mary Austin and perhaps Rhona Adair. 


Alena Sharp won the first of her three Canadian PGA Women’s Championships in 2004 at Lambton – the others coming in 2011 and 2012. 


In 2010 American golf course architect Rees Jones completed a significant renovation at Lambton. The original corridors were retained for the most part, and a new hole was created at the north end of the course to facilitate a reservoir that serves as the irrigation source for the course. While the overall yardage of the Club's main course was increased by nearly 500 yards from the back tees, the design team shortened the course from the forward tees, providing women, seniors and juniors with a more playable and enjoyable venue. The revised Lambton course now has five sets of tees stretching from 5,291 to 7,137 yards, par 72. 


Ryan Tsang of Cedar Brae G&CC earned a victory at the 2014 Toronto Star Amateur at Lambton. The 21-year-old University of Toronto varsity golfer won by a whopping seven strokes shooting rounds of 71-66-73-68 to easily win the event. 


In 2015, Lambton co-hosted the 111th playing of Golf Canada’s Canadian Men’s Amateur Golf Championship along with Weston G&CC. Lambton hosted the opening two rounds where four record 66s were shot by Gavin Hall, Matthew Teesdale and Addison Coll from the United States and Ben Eccles from Australia on the 7,008, par-71 layout. Billy Kennerly from Alpharetta, Georgia, shot a final-round 2-under 70, to finish six strokes clear of his nearest competitor. 


With the return of golf to the Olympic Games in 2016 Lambton celebrated the 111th anniversary of George S. Lyon’s gold medal victory at the Glen Echo Golf Club in St. Louis Missouri in 1904. Olympian Alena Sharp, who won the 2004 Canadian PGA Women’s Championship at Lambton, dropped by the Club in May for a Golf Canada outing to showcase the clothing line and chat about her dreams of playing golf in the Olympics. The return of golf to the Games generated a lot of media attention world-wide for Lambton as Lyon’s storied victory was re-lived and re-told in many publications. 


There was a dramatic finish to the Ontario Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Lambton on June 23, 2016. After 54-holes, a champion was yet to be crowned. First and second round leader, Ryan Kings, and Matthew Sim tied at two-over and needed a playoff to determine a winner. On the first playoff hole, it was Sim who brought the crowd surrounding the 18th green, to their feet by sinking a nearly 20-foot birdie putt to capture the title after Kings had made his par. Sim finished the tournament at two-over (75-72-71-218), Kings went (69-72-77-218). 


Additional improvements to the golf course by the Rees Jones team started in the fall of 2020 with the expansion of several tee decks and changes to some of the fairway grass lines. A bunker renovation project started in the fall of 2021 and continued into 2022 to address playability, maintenance and the overall aesthetics.  Several new fairway and greenside bunkers were added, a couple of bunkers were split in two and a significant number of others were reshaped to soften bunker slopes as the older bunkers were updated with the modern “Billy Bunker” lining.


Lambton celebrates its 120th anniversary.