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Party like it's 1924 with Larrimac
By Hunter Cresswell
There's a plaque on the wall of the Larrimac Golf Club bar that commemorates the greenskeepers going back to the club's founding. Some may be surprised to learn the first of these were covered with wool and had cloven hooves.
"There's six names here, from 1923 to 1926 the official greenskeeper was Owen Lacharity's sheep," Larrimac clubhouse manager Phil Gray said, reading from the plaque.
According to Patrick M. O. Evans's article 'Early Kirk's Ferry, Quebec', published in the first volume of 'Up the Gatineau!', the original course was built on Lacharity's farmland by Larry McCooey. A. de L. Panet's article 'Larrimac Golf Club - A Gatineau Gem', which appeared in volume nine, reports that McCooey owned a cottage on Lacharity's land and laid out a few holes for himself. In 1924, he and Phil Sherrin formalized the club, which had an annual fee of $20 for the original 20 members. The name of the club came from Larry McCooey's first and last names.
On June 8, Larrimac will be buzzing with activity when it celebrates its 95th anniversary with an open house.
"We're kind of thinking of it as our 95th birthday party and everyone's invited. We're actually going to have a cake," Gray said, before joking that 95 candles may be too many for the cake.
The club's most recent installation are disc golf baskets along the course. The first three golf holes and six disc golf holes will be open so people can play for free during the open house public tee times.
"We have discs we can provide them and also golf club rentals," said Gray. "That way, they can get to know the course."
The driving net will be available for free public use, too, with volunteer members offering swing tips. Also in the works is a putting competition for kids on the practice green, with prizes being awarded throughout the day.
Golfers looking to quench their thirst can hit the open bar, then browse various club programs such as the Monday night league and the junior program. A barbecue will heat things up at around noon.
"As for tennis, there will be a round robin that anyone can sign up for," Gray said, adding that people who want to play should be there by 10 a.m. Racquets and balls will be on hand for those who want to show off their tennis skills against the practice wall. Visitors may also get a chance to take a tour of the trails and future site of a community garden.
Due to recent financial difficulties - which have hit the golf industry overall - the club has looked at developing a portion of its land between the golf course and Hwy 5, known as the 'back 90'. The planned community garden will be built on the defunct driving range. The development idea has stirred controversy in Chelsea, with some concerned about how it could affect wildlife and whether or not it will open up adjacent, undeveloped tracts of forest to further development.
But the club is also looking at community engagement and increased usership to shore it up financially. It has formed a transition committee to come up with ideas to turn the club into a four-season, community hub.
"What we're really trying to do is show that we're more than a golf club," said Gray. "We have a lot going on."
To celebrate its 95th birthday, the club is offering special deals on 2019 passes. A one-year pass for golf and tennis is $950, which is $400 off the regular price; a one-year pass for tennis is $95, which is $185 less than the regular adult price posted on the club's website.
"Our goal is to get 95 new faces here," said Gray. "Hopefully, we get more."
The event takes place June 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Larrimac Golf Club on Hwy 105 in Chelsea. For more information, visit larrimac.com.