life and times
hiram who
birth of the auto
border cities
sports heritage

Essex Golf Book Spans 100 Years
“One Hundred Years, A History of Essex Golf & Country Club: 1902-2002”

by Jeff Mingay with Richard H. Carr
Foreword by Lorne Rubenstein

published by The Walkerville Publishing Company

On the porch at Essex Golf and Country Club: 1929

Golf courses and country clubs were a rarity at the beginning of the 20th century. Walkerville was home to one of the first golf and country clubs in Canada, thanks to Hiram Walker’s benevolence, (see Issue #25). The primitive Walkerville Country Club eventually led to the development of Essex Golf and Country Club, which celebrates its centennial in a new book, “One Hundred Years, A History of Essex Golf & Country Club: 1902-2002”, published in November.

When Dick Carr and Jeff Mingay appeared at our office searching for rare photos of The Walkerville Country Club for the book, our interest was piqued. We soon were involved in the book’s layout, design and publication, and some two years later, our collective efforts have been rewarded with the fascinating tale of Essex- long considered one of the finest country clubs in North America.

Mingay’s involvement in the book dates back to 1996. Since that time, he has played the role of Essex’ official historical detective, seeking out documents and information about this venerable course, designed by Donald Ross- acknowledged by many as the greatest golf course architect of the 20th century.

Mingay’s travels led him to the Pinehurst Resort in South Carolina, Ross’ home base. He uncovered the original blueprints for the course and greens at the Tufts Archives- these play a prominent role in the book’s hole-by-hole section.

Dick Carr, a former Walkerville resident and past club president, has long been the club’s unofficial archivist. His deep and abiding knowledge of the club’s history has now been recorded for posterity.

During its 100 year history, Essex Golf & Country Club developed and maintained a formidable reputation as one of Canada’s premier golfing havens. Subject to two moves and as many name changes, Essex cultivated a rich history filled with remarkable people committed to providing a first-class club and a world-class golf course for its membership.

As one of only three Canadian golf clubs to have hosted a PGA Tour (1976 Canadian Open), an LPGA Tour (1998 du Maurier Classic) and a Senior PGA Tour (2002 AT&T Canada Senior Open) event, Essex and its 1929 Donald Ross-designed golf course has received high praise from a number of the world’s greatest golfers, including two-time Masters Tournament winner Ben Crenshaw.

“To me, (Essex) perfectly typifies what Donald Ross said about a golf course. It should be a pleasure not a penance,” said Crenshaw, who competed in the 1976 Canadian Open and the 2002 AT&T Canada Senior Open at Essex. “This is an absolutely beautiful depiction of how to do an interesting golf course on flattish terrain. It’s one beautiful hole after another.”

Mingay also unearthed information about Roseland Park Country Club- now Roseland Golf Course- which forms a chapter in the book. Roseland Golf Course was built by Harry Neal, a successful local entrepreneur and avid sportsman brought Ross to Windsor in 1926.

“The 18-hole course was the centrepiece for Roseland Park, a stately residential neighbourhood he was developing on the city’s south side. Neal’s plan was for those who purchased homes in Roseland Park to automatically become members of Roseland Park Country Club, completed in 1928.”

“Then suddenly in October 1929, development in Roseland Park stalled with the onset of the Great Depression. The sale of homes and lots surrounding the course, from which Neal and his brothers expected to recoup their investment in the golf course, ceased.”

One Hundred Years, A History of Essex Golf & Country Club: 1902-2002 includes comprehensive sections on the development, history and evolution of the club’s classic Ross-designed course, perennially ranked among the top-25 layouts in Canada, and the major professional tournaments that have been contested over it throughout the years. The 192-page hardcover book is filled with historic and contemporary photographs that compliment the detailed text.

From the club’s humble beginning as Oak Ridge Golf Club, to its eventual relocation to Matchette Road in 1929, right through to the 2002 AT&T Canada Senior Open, One Hundred Years, A History of Essex Golf & Country Club: 1902-2002 chronicles the many events that established Essex’ outstanding reputation and profiles the most significant contributors to the club’s development, giving readers an extraordinary look at how one of Canada’s most prestigious golf and country clubs came to be.

“This work adds to Essex’ lore,” writes The Globe & Mail’s Lorne Rubenstein in his foreword to the book. “It is a significant contribution.”

Call (519) 255-9898 for ordering information.



©1999-2015— Walkerville Publishing — All Rights Reserved