As the Club celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, some might wonder just exactly how the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club got started or how it even got the name 'Idylwylde'. Learn about the Club's begining and formative years by scrolling through the timeline below full of historic milestones and significant checkpoints which lead to the Club we recognize today.
The Howey Family poses for a photo during an 'April picnic at Idylwyld' - 1894.
The Howey family were the original owners of the land where the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club is today.
The origin of the name 'Idylwylde' has not been definitely established despite extensive research, but a reasonable presumption seems to be that its lovely lakeside setting inspired the poetic description 'Idyll in the Wild' possibly by Mrs. Howey, from which the formalized "Idylwylde" was derived.
Howey Family during April picnic at Idylwyld
During a meeting held in the Nickel Range Hotel on June 20th, 1922 it was decided to form a golf club in Sudbury. It is not known who summoned the meeting, nor how many of those present had ever played golf but it seemed high time for Sudbury to share the relaxation and enjoyment of the royal and ancient game of golf.
photo from Sudbury Public Library
After some debate over the location of the club,
Geroge Cumming of Toronto Golf Club and one of Canada's earliest golf course architects was consulted to evaluate the prospective properties and provide a report on his recommendation.
It was unanimously decided that the Howey property was the most desirable site and that the
277 acres would be acquired for the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club.
The property committee authorized George Cumming to be the architect of the first nine holes, with clearing and plowing of the land under his direction.
On Saturday, August 6th an orchestra was on hand at the Clubhouse, and refreshments were served on the spacious verandah to officially inaugurate the course. Although only four holes had been completed, the remainder of the 9 hole course was ready for seeding.
On the north side of the property, Dr. Howey had erected a small summer cottage containing a living room, bedroom and kitchen surrounded on three sides by a verandah. For seven years this structure would serve as the Idylwylde's 'Club House'.
Half of a small ice house standing at the rear was converted into a 'locker room'. At times members would cool their drinks by clearing the sawdust off the stored blocks of ice and chip off chunks into their glasses.
Painting of original Clubhouse structure
Golfers utilized the Sudbury Boat and Canoe Co. ferry service to cross Ramsey Lake to the Idylwylde. A service that was extensively used by cottagers on the lake.
Golfers would arrive by water taxi grasping canvas bags containing only four or five hickory-shafted clubs.
In the early days when the Idylwylde was just a few roughly cleared fairways and bumpy greens, it was the ladies who took it upon themselves to hand-sew numbered flags to indicate the greens.
The outstanding event in 1930 was the completion of the Club House. The gala premiere opening of the handsome new club house took the form of a dinner and dance for which the Ted Reeve orchestra was engaged.
Photo of finished clubhouse -1930
During the 1936 season, the directors authorized the first Nothern Ontario Tournament with approximately 50 of Ontario's leading professional golfers in attendance.
First Northern Ontario Open Tournament July 4-5, 1936
A new wing was added to the clubhouse to serve as the Ladies' locker room and lounge as well as a clubhouse inter-communications system.
Clubhouse after addition in 1949
It was decided during a directors meeting to engage golf course architect, Howard Watson to come to Sudbury to go over the course and make his recommendations in line with the shareholder's instructions to 'Revamp the current golf course layout'.
After several visits to Sudbury, Watson submitted a report paired with a map that outlined 18 holes, a practice area and a new clubhouse location on Trout Lake which could be developed into a sports center including a curling rink. However, the addition of the second nine wouldn't come into fruition until 1966.
Howard Watson, Idylwylde second 9 architect
Photos of the clubhouse burning night of July 8, 1962. Taken and supplies by the Sudbury Star
On the night of July 8th, diaster struck a devastating blow at the Idylwylde. The 34 year-old clubhouse was completely destroyed by fire, believed to have been caused by an overheated motor.
The flames burned unseen inside partitions and finally burst through the roof, beyond the control of firemen who had fought to locate and subdue them.
In addition to its $100,000 building, regarded as the finest facility of its kind in Northern Ontario, the Club lost irreplaceable mementos of its 40-year history, including trophies, pictures and other records.
On January 16th, 1963, the Directors authorized the construction of a new clubhouse on the site selected adjacent to Trout Lake (now Lake Nepahwin) and on February 26th, it was reported that the site had been cleared and excavation had begun for the new clubhouse.
The new clubhouse was completed later that summer with an official opening set for July 31st.
The Sudbury Star hailed the opening of the Idylwylde's new clubhouse as -
"A striking attractive building. The spacious verandahs give an excellent view of the golf course on one side and Trout Lake on the other."
A flowering crab tree was ceremonially planted on July 8th in front of the clubhouse by the Mayor of Sudbury and Idylwylde's president to coincide with the symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the Idylwylde's
new 9 holes.
Aerial photo of the newly completed second 9 holes, now the front 9.
Henceforth and officially the new nine became the first nine or front nine, and the old original nine was now the back nine or second nine.
A contract between the Sudbury Granite Club and the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club lead to the construction of five sheets of curling ice plus appurtenances in an addition attached directly to the existing Idylwylde building.
Curling commenced in January 1968, making the Idylwylde a year-round Club.
Clubhouse showing completed curling addition as it appeared October 1968. Photo by René T. Dionne
Photo by Drone Services Canada
and the rest is history
That's how the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club devloped into the year-round Club that we recognize today. Since its inception, golfers and community members alike have taken pride in joining the Idylwylde to be members of a club that provides an unparalleled golf experience, exquisite dining, social events, and that supports the Sudbury community. Over the years the Idylwylde has been home to champion golfers and curlers, tested some of the best of both sports and introduced the game to the next generation.
Get the whole story
The Club has commissioned local sports historian, Randy Pascal to document the Idylwylde's formative years, first fifty years, and the years leading up to the Club's centennial.
Copies of the book will be sold during the Idylwylde's centennial celebration scheduled to take place on August 26th. To be notified when copies are available or to pre-order a copy, click the button below.