Gail Graham, who was announced as a 2018 Canadian Golf Hall of Fame inductees last Thursday, isn’t the only Canadian who will tell you in no uncertain terms how much she enjoys playing the Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Ore., a golf course with a history on the LPGA Tour that dates back to 1972.
Eight-time winner Sandra Post expresses a similar opinion and Brooke Henderson won her first tour event there in 2015 and successfully defended the Cambia Portland Classic the following year, singing the praises of the golf course each time.
“I often wondered why it suited my eye so well,” said Graham.
As it turns out, there was a reason for that.
The Kelowna Golf and Country Club, where Graham is an honourary member and her brother Rob Anderson works as head professional, was designed by the late Arthur Vernon Macan, who also designed Columbia Edgewater and will go into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame this year, along with Graham.
“It sure ties things together and explains my love of that type of parkland golf course that is treed and very picturesque to the eye,” said Graham, adding that she noticed subtle similarities between the two golf courses.
Tour players aren’t the only Canadians who admire the work of Macan, who also designed Royal Colwood in Victoria, Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club, Marine Drive Golf Club and University Golf Club, as well as Richmond Country Club in Richmond, B.C., among others.
Noting that Graham was born the same year that Macan died, his grandson Matthew, speaking from England on behalf of the family, was overjoyed to her speaking about his grandfather’s work a century later.
“This is very much a reflection of the quality of Mac and his vision and his tenacity that his designs seem to endure through history,” said Matthew.
“I would guess that golf courses and the technology in gof has dramatically changed in that period of time, but 100 years since he designed Royal Colwood with a pencil and a piece of paper, it seems to me quite extraordinary,” he added.
“I hope that other people can continue to appreciate and enjoy his courses in another 100 year’s time,” he said.
The induction into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame is a double celebration for Macan’s descendants. Born in Dublin in 1882, he emigrated to Canada in 1908 with his young family.
He fought in World War I with the Canadian Army and was wounded by a shell casing fragment at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France. Blood poisoning in his foot led to amputation of his lower left leg, but that didn’t stop him from continuing his golf course work when he got home.
For Macan’s entire story, as well as Graham’s, click here.
“For our family, it’s a double celebration,” said Matthew, who’s family attended ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge last year.
Of course, in the years following his grandfather’s arrival in B.C., it wasn’t possible to get on a plane and cross an ocean and a continent to see a family member, nor was it possible to communicate via video conference, text or e-mail.
“I never met him,” said Matthew. “I have read books about him and have read countless articles about him and he seemed an extraordinary character, somebody who would not compromise on his designs.
“As far as the family was concerned, we had no contact with Mac. He made his life in Canada and distanced himself,” he added
“That, in some respects, has brought a certain sadness to us because e obviously was a wonderful person and had a lot of friends,” said Matthew, adding that the family’s knowledge of his grandfather is a relatively new development.
It was a chance meeting after his father, Anthony Vernon Macan, had passed away that began to enlighten the family.
“The whole history of my grandfather appeared over the horizon in the early ‘90s when my mother bumped into a lady entirely fortuitously at a party and the conversation went something like, `Macan, that’s an interesting name. How do you spell it?’” said Matthew.
“It went around in a circle and this lady said, `I knew somebody called A.V. Macan, In fact, we had adopted him as grandfather,’ and my mothers said, `Well, that’s impossible because the only A.V. Macan is either my husband, who’s dead, or his father,’ and it suddenly dawned on both of them that this person was her father-in-law, who she had not heard from in probably 60 years, 70 years,” he said.
“It’s a sadness for me that my father never knew about this, but nevertheless, it’s a wonderful story,” said Matthew.
It is a wonderful story for golfers who have played his designs and certainly one the family will become even more familiar with as the July 24th ceremony at Glen Abbey draws closer.