Located on our Members' website, the Camelot Chronicles provide us with an excellent history of our club. Al Clayton and Gerry Huneault have done a great job recording the many milestones and historical events that have taken place during the past 25 years. Thay have gathered a countless number of photos and other documents that will be on display during the celebration of our 25th Anniversary. The display is located outside the Great Hall, to the left as you come up the stairs.
As a Founder of our Club, I thought it might be interesting to pass along to our membership some of the events, issues, and light hearted occurrances that took place during Camelot's very early days. Some of these are listed below:
Noted in the Chronicles is a mention of the fact that I was awed by my first visit to Pebble Beach, and the other courses in and around Carmel Bay. This visit took place in1982, the year that Tom Watson made that great chip shot from the rough on the 17th hole to make birdie and go on to beat the great Jack Nicholas and win the US Open.
I can't explain why, but the following week I felt like I spent the entire time in Church. Playing with a good friend from British Columbia, we Played Pebble three times, Spyglass, and Monterray once. These five rounds were played in great weather, in the most incredible surroundings I have ever witnessed. Being a Newfoundlander, I spent a lot of my young life living in a beautiful bay, surrounded by large cliffs and pounding seas. The Atlantic was more of a violent, windy, and fearfull ocean. By contrast, the Pacific that week, was like something painted by one of the great masters; Clear blue skys, enough wind to turn the waters of Carmel Bay into a turquoise blue and then into foaming white, as the waves broke against the rocky coastline......golf heaven.
My friend and I were paired with two college students from Texas. We had just finished breakfast at the Lodge, and met them on the putting green. Tall, handsome, tanned young men carrying single digit handicaps,they were just as excited as we were to hear our names called to the first tee.
We were told by the starter that the grounds staff were busy cutting the rough down to "normal height" following completion of the Open. He suggested that we not spend to much time looking for lost balls because the rough seems to swallow them whole. The starter proved to be right about the rough, that first round proved to be expensive, especially for the big boys who hit the ball miles. After playing the first few holes, Pebble Beach really began to show off. That high pennsula that begins with the climb up the cliff on 6, and stretches all the way to the 11th hole may be the most beautiful piece of real estate on mother earth. I experienced more goose bumps through that series of holes than I did in a Newfie winter. It was right there, with the sun shining, good company,feeling close to heaven, and hitting the ball pretty good, that I became hooked for life. In fact I recall looking across the great crevass towards the 8th green from the fairway, standing beside my good friend Jack......I tapped him on the shoulder and said," it can't possibly get any better than this."
We had a terrific week, Jack flew back to our branch office in Vancouver, and I headed home, my head going over and over the experience we shared. It was probably over the mid west someplace when, for the first time, I began thinking of building a golf course.... My Corporate Training business was doing well, and except for all the travel, I was still content with the work. I had been Executive Director of the Ottawa Valley Zone of the Canadian Professional Golfers Association for the past 8 years, and had learned a lot about the golf business. By the time I got back to Ottawa, I had decided to start looking around the Ottawa Valley for a good sight to build a great golf course. Its strange, how that Pebble Beach experience would not let me consider anything but a top notch location, with a beautiful piece of property . It was important therefore, that the site for the course be something very special........and it is.
Don Noseworthy - Founder
Following my trip to Pebble Beach in 1982, I had promised myelf that I would begin the search for a suitable piece of land for a Championship Golf Course. However I was waylaid by a very large change in my current business. Canada's military had launched a large rebuild of their existing mobile equipment. Bombardier had landed several contracts to build several vehicles. We landed contracts to produce all the traing material that would have to accompany these new products. This project along with our opening of new offices in New York and Vancouver caused me to drop everything else and concentrate on business. In 1987 I decided I had worked hard enough in the Training business and had logged enough time travelling, to consider selling the business. I really wanted to build that golf course before someone else did.
I started my search in the west end of Ottawa since we lived in Kanata at the time. Lee and I would take drives through the many small towns and hamlets which were scattered throughout the Ottawa Valley. We found our first property near Carp, 250 acres with the Carp river running through it. That evening I called the realtor, he advised me that someone had already made an offer, and were planning to build a golf course. Being a member of Cedarhill at the time, I soon discovered that one of the owners of Cedarhill and a partner were planning to build a course on the Carp road. Irish Hills,a semi private 27 hole course now occupies that property. ( By the way, Camelot's very first mens' intersectional matches took place at Irish Hills.)
The next potential site was a very nice property situated near the 417 where Greensmere Golf Club now sits. We did comprehensive water studies there and found that water could be in short supply. Greensmere ran out of water a few years ago, and were in trouble with local residents when many had no water left in their wells. There must have been a resolution to this issue, today Greensmere is operating a 36 hole facility and seems to have resolved the water problem. However back then I wanted to avoid an issue that could result in the project being held up.
I won't list all the properties we visited during that summer, but lets just say we didn't miss much between Hawkesbury and Almonte.
The Camelot Chronicles (see our website) states that I drove past a nice piece of property in Cumberland, on my way to my cottage which was north of Buckingham. I used the Ferry for many years. One fine Friday back in 1988, I noticed a for sale sign near the corner of Quigly Hill road. The following Monday I was walking the property. I visited the McMillan Farm, Paul owned 96 acres, where he did a little farming, he also raised beautiful Clydesdale horses. He took me on a tour, which included a visit to the place where our pump-house sits on the left side of number 12 hole near the highway. He pointed out that he used to draw water from the river, by driving a team of horses through the concrete culvert to get access to water he needed, when his wells went dry. I was delighted to hear that access to an unlimited supply of water was very accessable.
I knew from my experience with the Canadian Professional Golfer's Ass'n, that the minimum requirement for an upscale, golf course was 200 acres. Mr. McMillan was kind enough to introduce me to two of the Williams brothers who owned property on both sides of his farm. The east portion of land towards Quigly Hill road was 50 acres. The land to the west was a large farm that had a herd of dairy cattle, and a huge parcel filled with corn fields. After meeting with the Williams brothers, I was told that the 50 acres to the east could be bought, however the farmland to the west was not for sale. This was a huge blow. 150 acres was 50 short of my requirement, I was also warned that it would not be easy getting the zoning changed from Agricultural to Recreational.
I decided to visit The Cumberland Township office. I was on my way to visit the planning department, I looked into an office to get directions, Peter Clarke, the Mayor, just happened to be standing there, I asked my question.....he immediately asked me what I was planning to build. " An eighteen hole championship golf course," I replied. He said..."Follow me." We sat in his office and talked about the project, and my need for a change in zoning. I also mentioned that I was having a hard time getting the 50 acres we needed. He told me that he really wanted this project in Cumberland, and that he would try and expedite the entire process as fast as possible. He said it would probably take six months to get all of the permits, and the zoning changed.
Over the next 2 years, Cumberland Township Staff were a great help, they would open a file for a particular permit, and list exactly what I had to do, and who I had to contact. I wound up with a great number of files..from roads, to water, to building permits (3), safety, Zoning etc. Here are a couple of instances where this aspect of the project still remain in my memory. We had to deal with the highway along the river, we had already planned # 12 hole, and had moved tons and tons of earth along the left side of the fairway. I got a call from the Highway's Dept. They had a copy of our plan for the course, the gentleman on the phone wanted a site visit, because there was a plan to widen the highway and it looked like we would have to move the hole. A couple of days later, I took him up to the top of the spot where # 12 back tee is now. I didn't know he was a golfer.....he stood there looking down the fairway, it was a beautiful day, the river looked awesome. He turned to me and said " I don't care what we have to do for the highway.....but don't ever change this hole." What a great relief.
We had to get a permit to pump water from the Ottawa River for our irrigation system. I went to see a gentleman who was responsible for this, he asked me a few questions about the amount of water we would use, where the pipes would be located etc. I asked if we were over the limit since we had such a large requirement for water. He looked me in the eye and asked " Noseworthy, he said you must be from Newfoundland?" I told him I was. He then asked if I ever swam in the Atlantic Ocean.....I said yes....he then said did you ever take a pee in that Ocean.....I said yes. He than asked, with a great smile on his face..." Did it make a difference?" He laughed and said here's your permit. Sometimes things just turn out right.
Don Noseworthy - Founder
As Executive Director of the Canadian Professional Golfers Association, one of my chores was to find corporate sponsorship for the various tournaments held in the Ottawa Valley. I had been told by a collegue that Mr Gas had sponsored an event he had attended and figured that I should approach the owners. I subsequently met Phillipe and Andre Gagnon, and succeeded in obtaining Mr.Gas as our umbrella sponsor for the entire tour. This turned out to be the first step in what was to become a business relationship that would enable me to make my dream of building a great golf course a reality.
My partners as it turned out,also wanted to build a golf course somewhere in the east end of the city. When I told them I had found a piece of property close by........we were in my car and headed for the proposed sight immediately. I took them on a walking tour of the entire sight, I explained that we still needed the 50 acres on the west side of the property........We agreed that day that I should find a real estate agent to speak with the owner. A week later the three of us met again......the possibility of a deal for all 195 acres was possible. We talked for hours about financing, time-lines, and the development of a business plan. They agreed that since I was willing to sell my business, I would manage the project and be responsible for the development of a detailed marketing plan, construction schedule for the course,the clubhouse, and the maintenence building. The three of us agreed that all major decisions would be reached as a group. We later formed a company and named it "Threesome."
Since I lived in the west end of the city, I soon learned that my knowledge of the east end was limited. My bilingual partners were members of the Outaouais Golf Club, their head office was in Orleans, and they both lived within 10 minutes of the golf course site. This turned out to be invaluable, especially when it came to dealing with Cumberland Township, local polititions, and local business people. I even learned that St. Hubert Chicken was just as good as Swiss Chalet.
A few months later, Lee & I decided that we would build a new home not far from the golf course site. We became residents of Cumberland, those long drives from Kanata to get to the site were replaced by 5 minutes.
Having great partners really helped, without their financial expertise and business smarts, I am sure that we would have increased our expences considerably. They were always open to suggestions. They provided the support and advice I needed as we went through the various stages of construction.
Following a competition, we selected Tom McBroom as our Golf course Architect. Tom and I would spend a lot of time together during the two and a half years of the construction period. We couldn't have chosen a more affable, knowlegable and dedicated course designer. The end results speak for themselves.
We also put the design of the cluhouse out to tender. Four of Ottawa's finest architects responded. We had asked that the clubhouse take on the exterior of a modern castle. Barry Padolsky, best Captured that theme. Barry enjoyed the project so much that he even bought a membership. In recent years we have seen the clubhouse undergo some terrific upgrades, especially to our patio, locker rooms, and the use of glass for our wall fame. I should mention the photo of the three handsome men in the front foyer, however I am far to shy.
Finally, on behalf of Threesome,I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Staff and All of the members who worked so hard to enable us to hold our first party back in 1991. These are the people that made our time as Founders and builders of our great golf course, such a life enhancing experience.
With great respect, we thank-you all for being a "Part of the Legend"
Threesome........Don Noseworthy, Phillipe Gagnon, Andre Gagnon