A century of swing at the Killarney Lakeside Golf Club


Teeing off in town began a century ago, after a local man became so enthused with the game that he set out to create a course right here in Killarney.

Victor David had reportedly played a terrific game of golf in Winnipeg, and on his return home, he found some land to rent near Killarney Lake that would fit the bill for his dream.

Together with Fred Kent, Alex Middleton, George Kellett, A.M. High, P.D. Evans, and Art Williams – plus a few others – they managed to finance the clearing of this lakeshore property for what would eventually become the Killarney Lakeside Golf Course.

The group of enthusiasts even secured a golf pro, Ernest Penfold of Winnipeg, to lay out the course design for them. 

And of course the ladies helped with fundraising for the project by serving up delicious meals.

Soon golfers began to stream into Killarney to play golf, coming from other towns to enjoy the exciting new course. And those who didn’t play golf enjoyed a game of bridge. 

But the outbreak of a second world war in 1939 eventually slowed the vibrant golf course activity. So the members came up with a low-cost idea to keep the growing brush and weeds down on the course.

“Membership dropped during WWII,” according to the Reflections history book. “Sheep were put in to keep the north side playable.”

With peacetime finally arriving in 1945, more volunteers joined in to continue with improving the Killarney Lakeside Golf Course. And in 1964, a by-law was enacted to increase capitalization from 100 to 1,000 shares in the golf course, at a par value of $25 each. 

Improvements to the golf greens soon followed, plus the installation of a terrific clubhouse facility for the members and guests to enjoy.

The new clubhouse proved to be a popular place for receptions and functions, and in 1981 extensive renovations were done to the clubhouse, plus a clubroom license was obtained.

And golfing became increasingly popular for women at the local club.

Fundraising for the club continued, and the revenue generated helped to upgrade the clubhouse.

To add to the golf course’s attractive charm, a built-in barbeque was added to the clubhouse’s new large deck in 1987, according to More Reflections.

Killarney’s mayor of the day, Roy Pugh, snipped the ribbon to open the fresh new deck, with assistance from Ivan Lawson, Reeve for the R.M. of Turtle Mountain. 

And then the golf course began to expand.

Farmland was purchased from Roy and Jack Clark, and in 1991, construction for the front nine began. When it completed, the first ball was hit by Jim McCulloch – who opened up the new nine with a resounding crack.

“This was an occasion and achievement many had been waiting for,” said More Reflections. “It made for more and larger tournaments, and brought in welcome revenue.”

Over the years more carts sheds were built to accommodate approximately 85-plus stalls for members, and in 1995 the driving range opened. In addition, the clubhouse – with its lovely views over the lake – underwent several more renovations.

Today the Killarney Lakeside Golf Course is also known as ‘The Hidden Jewel of the South,’ and golfers travel far and wide to enjoy the verdant greens, and a wonderful day in the sunshine playing a game they love. 

And teeing off has now been going on there for a hundred years, thanks to the enthusiasm and vigour of the men and women who helped make it happen. 

Happy Centenary, Killarney Lakeside Golf Club!

TODAY AND YESTERDAY – Killarney Lakeside Golf Club (above) has seen a lot of changes since the current clubhouse was built in June of 1975 (below). Keep scrolling to see photos of the original clubhouse from 1921.



GREENS CREW’S FINE TOUCH – The Killarney Lakeside Golf Course greens crew put a nice finishing touch in front of the clubhouse, cutting in the club’s acronym.


Killarney Lakeside Golf Club – 100 years proud


The Beginning

Can you see it? A group of local Killarney businessmen gathering around a potbellied stove in the local hardware store. Outside, the snow is melting and a warm spring breeze is stirring the trees. Inside, the air smells of wood smoke and coffee. 

With pipe in hand and a thumb through suspenders, one of the group says, “Killarney needs a golf course.”

That was 100 years go. An idea, a vision, call it what you will. The seed was planted. A plan was hatched and implemented, and look at what we have today – an 18-hole golf course, a jewel, along the shores of Killarney Lake.

The Reflections history book (story by Pearl David) noted that Victor David led the initial drive to introduce golf to the Killarney community.

David took the lead, renting land near Killarney Lake. Local town promoters: Fred Kent, Alex Middleton, George Kellett, A.M. High, P.D. Evans, Art Williams and others helping with the financing. Clearing bush, leveling land and the building of sand ‘greens’ became the order of the day. A pro from Winnipeg, Ernest Penfold, was hired to oversee the course layout. The year was 1920.

By 1921 a small clubhouse had been erected, and the ladies sold 25 cent lunches, purchasing furniture and equipment with the proceeds. The course and the clubhouse proved to be a popular draw. 

Out-of-towners arrived, enjoying the lake breezes, shady oak trees and the brand new 9-hole golf course. It was noted at the time, that those who did not golf were also drawn to the course. They played bridge, enjoyed a snack and visited with friends in the clubhouse.

Incorporated in 1927, the first president of the fledgling Killarney Lakeside Golf Club was Victor David. Fred Kent handled the duties of secretary-treasurer, and the first caretaker was a Harry Mawer. During the WWII war years sheep were the fairway mowers, as membership dropped and course revenue followed. 

According to the Reflections history book: “With peace, came volunteers, including Eddie Coleman, Jack Quinn, Mark Teskey and Hubert Richards. Jack was secretary-treasurer from about 1954 until 1971, when Marje McCalpin succeeded him. Art Sutton was the second caretaker. Mervin Mitchell became a director in 1964, and also served on the Manitoba Golf Association executive.”

Grass greens and irrigation were installed in 1965. New grass greens and availability of water would have been a must to keep the local course top-of-mind as the game of golf increased in popularity. The cost to the course was in the neighbourhood of $20,000.00 – a large outlay of cash at the time.

As time moved on, so too did the improvements and upgrades.

From the Reflections history book: “In 1973 the Jubilee school buildings from Boissevain were purchased, moved in and converted to a spacious clubhouse at a cost of $70,000.00 and officially opened in June 1975 . . . Peter Deneer and his wife Jean were custodians for some years. In 1981 extensive renovations were done to the clubhouse and a club room licence was obtained.”

Loretta Mooney was hired to manage and organize the clubhouse (1982-1999), a clubhouse that over the years has been renovated several times. The kitchen has been upgraded to current standards, and the pro shop features the latest in golf gear and apparel. 1987 saw a new large deck/patio added. It featured a built-in propane barbecue, a popular addition for outdoor grilling enthusiasts. The driving range opened in 1995 and the course irrigation system was automated in 2002.

Various course managers handled the outside, on the course, duties until 1999 when the first Golf Professional (Scott Westman) was hired to oversee all aspects of the expanding operation. Westman took over the clubhouse/pro shop duties and immediately recruited Joel Baggley as Head Superintendent. 

In 2002 automatic irrigation was added to the ‘old nine’ holes, creating a greener, ‘friendlier’ course for locals and visitors to enjoy.

THE OLD CLUBHOUSE – Golfers tee off at Killarney Golf Course in front of the original clubhouse, built in 1921.


18 Holes

In 1992 Lavern Highfield was the president of the Killarney Lakeside Golf Club. That was the year that the club expanded to 18 holes.

Highfield told The Guide, “In 40-some years of golfing at Killarney Lakeside Golf Club I have seen many changes. It was always a dream of most golfers to have an 18-hole golf course. In 1991 that became possible. The Club purchased the land needed to expand, from the Clark brothers, and the dream was about to start. The Club hired a golf club architect to supply drawings. When the drawings were accepted it was time to hire someone to oversee the project. Bob Hysop was hired for the job. 

“Then, at this time, 26 lakefront lots were put up for sale to cover some of the cost. Heavy equipment was brought in and the project began to take shape. Once the equipment left, grass was planted on the fairways, greens and tee boxes. Trees from the golf course’s own nursery were then planted. Club members then took over the job of overseeing the tree planting, watering and fertilizing.

“Being president at the time was both exciting and challenging. The expenses were many and money was hard to come by. We had to get all our cheques for bills and staff approved by the Credit Union before cashing. Mike Zebinski was the secretary-treasurer at the time and handled it all quite well. Several companies also helped us: Greenvalley (the local John Deere dealer) and Walter Hilhorst at the local Esso bulk plant.

“In 1994 the executive board decided to open the course as 18 holes. The course was not quite ready to be open but finances forced us to open. In the summer of 1994 Killarney Lakeside Golf Club had the grand opening.” 

Highfield also noted that along with challenges with the ‘new nine,’ the original ‘old nine’ had issues that needed to be addressed and resolved. Some of the original greens were struggling to survive. An agronomist was brought in to study the problem and put forward solutions. The agronomist pointed out that the roots from the large evergreens close to the greens were killing them, leeching away all the moisture and blocking the sun. On hole number 4 (par 3) the trees had grown completely across the fairway blocking fairway access to the green.  “The agronomist told the Board that she had never seen anything like this in all the courses she had ever been on,” said Highfield.

Several trees on the ‘old nine’ were removed at that time. The decision to remove trees was not an easy one for members or the Board. But the professional advice was heeded, the greens recovered and the hidden jewel of the south continued to draw golfers from miles around.

Over the last many years the golf club has added several cart sheds to accommodate member carts. The sheds are rented to members on a yearly basis. A waiting list for occupancy is a sign of just how popular the sheds have been. 

Last year a large open quonset-style building was added for carts that the golf club owns and rents to visiting golfers on a daily basis. Adjacent to the new cart storage facility an outdoor fire pit/visiting area was also added.

Senior Golf Club

The Killarney Men’s Senior Golf Club has a history dating back 60 years. In the 1960’s Killarney joined Neepawa and Brandon to form a seniors’ conference. A short time later Neepawa opted out and Boissevain stepped in. The Southwestern Seniors Golf Association was formed in 1973. Member clubs included: Killarney, Boissevain, Deloraine and Cartwright.

Keen Age Golfers or Seniors 

While wintering in Phaar, Texas in 1994, local golf enthusiast Jack Brooks was impressed with the Texas senior golf format. “It was a great system. Good golf, well organized and great fellowship,” Brooks told The Guide. He was so impressed that he wanted to pitch it to the local senior club.

Brooks presented his idea at the senior club’s annual meeting and was told to “give it a try.” Friday morning was designated as the 9-hole Keen Age day. By the end of the first season it just took off with an average of 12 teams gearing up for the outing. 

Keen Age Golf has taken hold on the local links. Golfers now have Monday, Wednesday and Friday marked on their calendar. With all the participation, hand scoring, and the organizing of teams, ‘getting it together’ proved to be quite a task. Brian Wong solved that problem when he retired to Killarney. In 2008 Wong wrote a program and added all the Keen Agers and their handicaps to that program. Hand calculation and scoring became a thing of the past.

Year after year senior golfers have relied heavily on numerous dedicated volunteers. From computer entry and tabulation to marking attendance and collection of the morning entry fee. 

The Guide has opted not to try and name all the volunteers involved over the ensuing years (there are just too many).

Killarney Ladies’ Golf Club

From the small beginning of a few ladies making lunches for men golfers, the ladies club grew. No records are available before 1967, but lady golfers did recall a Ladies’ Day dating back to the late ’40s. The cleaning and equipping of the clubhouse, taken on in the early days, continued to be their chore until the new clubhouse came into being in 1976. Money was raised by concerts and later by an annual raffle. Much of the money was still spent on kitchen equipment … in 1970 the club affiliate with the CLGA and a handicap system was started.  From Reflections history book.

Eileen Bate, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Victor David, founders of the Killarney Lakeside Golf Club, was the ladies club president in 1981.


Today, 2021, the Killarney Lakeside Golf Club has earned the name, Hidden Jewel of the South. The manicured fairways, contoured greens and towering oak trees are a feast for the eyes. A fine meal can be had in the clubhouse or you can enjoy a cool drink and watch the sun sink over the shores of the lake. The founding men and ladies of the Killarney Lakeside Golf Club would be rightfully proud of what they started and accomplished. Over the years countless others have taken the torch and led the way. The community has benefited from all their selfless time and hard work.

Congratulations to the Killarney Lakeside Golf Club – 100 YEARS PROUD!

GOLFERS THEN AND NOW – Killarney Golf Course grounds committee members (above, from left) Ed Coleman, Jim Bowyer, Hubert Richards and Mark Teskey in 1939. The attire has changed, and power golf carts have been added, but the love for the game remains the same with 2021 senior golfers (below, from left) Wayne Argue, Jake Unrau, Terry Bedford and Kerry Freund.