Crumlin Creek/The Airport opened in 1979.
1720 Crumlin Sideroad
Frank Lefebure 1979-2011
Zarko Frkovic 2012-Present
Leased land from London International Airport
1979 – 9 Holes
2014 – New 12 Hole Layout
Peter Henderson – 12 Hole Design
Frank Lefebure – Original 9 Holes
Andy Boone 2012
Rick McCormick 2014-Present
The Par 3 12th hole tees off from an elevated tee to a two-tiered green guarded by two bunkers.
Original Design pre 2013, Number 5, Franks long 640 yard par 5
Five Best Features:
Fun for golfers of all ages and skill level
Innovative 12 Hole Design
Kids Golf Free
Constant improvements, with complete redesign and rebuild over last 5 years
First course in Canada to have a fleet of Golfboards
In the summer of 1979 I was working on the course at Fanshawe Golf Club. I was just talking to the Greens Superintendent, Hubert Ward, at the front door of the maintenance building when a man walked up who I had never seen before. He explained that he had built a nine hole golf course adjacent to the airport and that he wanted to add a miniature golf course to his operation…...made out of real grass. He needed to know what type of fertilizer would be good for his new “real” mini-putt. Hubert always had a soft spot for anyone trying to get into the business so he spent some time with the gentleman explaining about greens fertilizer. The man turned out to be Frank Lefebure and he left with a trial bag of greens fertilizer slung over his shoulder. I must confess that we had a chuckle when he left but Frank was a determined guy and his real life mini-putt became a reality. It turned out to be the first of many innovations that led to the business that we now call Crumlin Creek Golf course. The forerunner to Crumlin Creek was simply known as the Airport Golf course or “the Airport”. Frank Lefebure was a pioneer in some ways to the way some clubs operate nowadays as he never really closed down his course for the winter. He had a small snowblower and would often go out and clear the greens off for the use of hardy golfers in the winter time. Often I would drive by the snowcovered course but all of the greens near the road were like green emeralds in a sea of white. Likewise the driving range never really closed down and I believe there was some type of shelter constructed to provide protection from the elements and allow for some type of heating system which let golfers hit balls during the worst weather. The flatness of the land in the area was a challenge from a design point of view but became a bonus for the course for seniors who were unable to walk the hilly terrain of some other local public courses. I can remember several Fanshawe seniors who left to become members at the Airport because of the lack of steep hills to climb. In the beginning there were primitive ways to water the greens but there was no fairway irrigation of any kind. That would seem to be a problem but senior members loved it when the fairways baked out as hard as the nearby runways and they could get plenty of extra roll. The transformation in the past few years of Crumlin Creek has been nothing short of amazing. Plenty of credit goes to the current management for the quality of business that is there now but also plenty of praise should go to Frank Lefebure for his vision in the early years and his willingness to march to his own drum.
Crumlin Creek layout 2011, just nine holes
The current layout of Crumlin Creek in 2018.
Current scorecard for this coming season
Crumlin Creek/Golfland scorecard, 1990's
Front page of the Frank Lefebure designed grass miniature golf scorecard
Mini golf scorecard
In the short span of just the last five years, Crumlin Creek has morphed from a small time, fringe golf operation to a big-time, competitive, mainstream golf business. Technically it is not the first 12 hole golf course in the area. Thames Valley was a 12 holer for a short time back in 1926 and it now appears that Fairmont Golf Course also featured a dozen holes but only for a short time and not long before its demise. It is not likely to be the last and already the Bluffs Golf Course in Port Stanley has opened with 12 holes for the 2017 and 2018 season.
The most important single factor in the recent success of Crumlin Creek is that they are unafraid to change. to try new things and to keep improving. If something doesn't work out as well as hoped for such as the sale of ice cream cones from behind the counter of the pro shop, then they simply dust themselves off and head in another direction. When I first saw those ice cream cones, I thought they were a fabulous idea but I guess not too many were sold. Seems like in a battle between ice cream and ice cold beer on a sweltering afternoon......the beer is tough to beat.
I know for a fact that many new golf course improvements are planned for the future. One nice advantage for Crumlin Creek is that there is plenty of land available on the site to change things or try out new ideas. You can rest assured of one thing and that is that Crumlin Creek will not stand pat for very long.....if at all.