- Canadian Amateur
The Canadian Golf Association – later to become the Royal Canadian Golf Association before amalgamating with the Canadian Ladies’ Golf Association in 2005 then later rebranding as Golf Canada – was established with ten founding member clubs present during the Ontario versus Quebec interprovincial matches at Ottawa Golf Club in 1895.
The first edition of The Amateur took place at the same time and this initial match play contest was conducted with only eight entries, resulting in a victory for T.M. Harley of Kingston Golf Club as he overcame A. Simpson of Ottawa Golf Club in the final by a score of 7&5.
Named after Lord Aberdeen, the man who donated and first awarded the trophy, the Aberdeen Cup was the first silver prize put up for competition and when George Lyon won the championship for the third consecutive year in 1907, he got to keep the trophy. It was replaced the following year with the Earl Grey Cup, donated by Canada’s Governor General at the time, Lord Earl Grey.
The top of this trophy is made from sterling silver, and it’s fashioned into an octagonal bowl which has two lions’ heads for handles, with the names of former winners engraved on its sides. The marble base has four rings of maple which also carry the names of past champions on little silver plaques.
A match play event from the outset, the Canadian Amateur changed to stroke play for the 1969 championship and remained in that format until 1995, when it reverted to match play in honour of the national golf association’s centennial year. Disappointingly for traditionalists, the tournament reverted to stroke play for a second time in 2008 as it has remained that way ever since.
A further modification took place in 2010 when the Amateur was played over two different 18-hole layouts, with the final two rounds played over the course at the main host club. That situation of co-hosting has continued up to the present day.
Hosting of the Canadian Amateur was the preserve of either Ontario or Quebec until 1921, when it went to Winnipeg Golf Club in Manitoba. The event was taken to Alberta (Jasper Park) for the first time in 1929, then to British Columbia four years later, when it was played at Shaughnessy Heights. The tournament finally reached New Brunswick (at Riverside) in 1949, followed by Saskatchewan (Saskatoon Golf Club) a year later.
Since then, it has rotated around the country's top courses, with the current format allowing each of the six major golf regions to take its turn on an approximate six-year cycle. Newfoundland and Labrador is now the only golfing province that has yet to host. Toronto and Royal Ottawa have each been used nine times for the competition, followed by Royal Montreal with seven (all at the club’s original location between 1897 and 1931) and Hamilton with six.
You’ll not find any of the following Canadian Amateur venues listed below as they all no longer exist: Royal Montreal (1897-1931), Shaughnessy Heights (1933) and Winnipeg (1921). A further seven courses have staged the Canadian Amateur and we may list some or all of these clubs in the future.
Incidentally, the aforementioned George Lyon won the Canadian Amateur an incredible eight times between 1898 and 1914 and was runner-up on another two occasions during that period. The 12&11 victory in his first final is still the biggest winning margin in the tournament’s match play eras. George was quite a player for a man who only took the game up aged 38, winning the Gold Medal at the Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904 and finishing runner-up in the 1906 US Amateur championship in New Jersey.
Canadian Amateur Top 100 Leaderboard
B-NL Challenge Trophy