Early 1970’s East Park. No water slides yet but the go-cart track and Putt-R-Golf mini golf are in action. Think I can see the pool near the top and slightly to the left. The distinctive “V” shaped tree that Bob Martin used in his trick shot demonstrations is easily seen near the center of the photo.
1275 Hamilton Road
1963 to 1988 ownership group included:
Colonel J. Gordon Thompson
Sold to Neil Kapp, Harry Stone and Ian Stone
2004 to present:
Owned by Neil Kapp, Ian Stone and Alon Shantil
1963 – nine holes open for play
1965 – full 18 holes in action
Clinton “Robbie” Robinson
Tyson Tour founding member – 1968
Bob Martin’s weekly demonstrations including his famous trick shots
Big Brother’s Million Dollar Swing
#16 – difficult par 3 with water left, trap on the right
#1 – always a challenge to make a par on this opening hole played into the prevailing wind
Moe Norman was a frequent visitor and holds the course record
Five Best Features
Best 18 hole course for beginners in the City
First London golf course built on a reclaimed gravel pit
Affordable from day one
A fun place to go
Roy James, who was the driving force behind the establishment of East Park, was a well known builder of quality homes that would last. Even today a “Roy James House” is used as a selling point in London. The golf operation that he created has
also stood the test of time.
A fantastic award for East park to be recognized for turning an old gravel pit into a recreational area. First time that it happened in the London area.
Here is a close-up of the plaque which recognizes the man most responsible for the creation of East Park, Mr. Roy James.
East Park in the opening year, 1963. “Bob Martin Tree”, barn, Putt-R-Golf and the pond is visible on #2 fairway. Pond is no longer there. Only 9 holes open at this point.
East Park 1970’s, go-carts, barn, Bob Martin Tree, baseball diamond, pool, more cars in the parking lot.
Beautiful shot of the pool, 18 hole golf course and the Thames River.
East Park before it was a golf course, 1950’s. I see the “Bob Martin Tree” and the iconic barn that has been hit with range balls a few times over the past half century.
Another awards ceremony and more recognition for East Park.
Yet another award for East Park.
In addition to these awards, East Park received the “Heart Award” in 2015 for its efforts to go the extra mile to grow the game of golf and to be inclusive to everyone.
Picnics at East Park were fun for all ages.
The East Park pro shop had a set of clubs for everyone.
The front counter was a busy place in the 1970’s.
The driving range was always an important feature at East Park and was the site of Bob Martin’s weekly free golf demonstrations every Sunday evening.
Although he had plenty of financial backing from his friends and associates, the real reason that East Park exists today is because of the efforts and vision of Roy James. Roy was a house builder and a decent amateur golfer. From its earliest beginning in 1963, East Park was a golf course, but only a nine hole, par 29 “Executive” layout, and the other parts of this recreational attraction were at least as important to the business as the nine holer. There was a large pool, a picnic area, a baseball diamond, batting cages with mechanical pitchers, a driving range and an excellent miniature golf course that kids loved to play. Eventually the nine holes grew to 18 and the other parts of the operation came to include go-carts, waterslides, Intencity and other attractions. Most golf operations live and die by the quality and value of the golf course itself but that has never been the case at East Park. It has always been a recreation destination kind of enterprise with plenty of diversity to offer.
Roy James loved being out on the grounds at East Park, particularly the golf course. He would carry a screwdriver with him to fix ball marks on the greens as he wandered about on the property. I knew Roy and it was challenging to explain to fellow golfers about his actual role at the course. In addition to Roy James the other individual who made a lasting impression in the early years was Bob Martin. Bob was identified in the 1963 golf brochure as the golf “professional” but he was not a member of the Canadian Professional Golfers Association [C.P.G.A.] at the time. Bob would do anything to help the operation along and that included watering hundreds of new trees that were planted for the second nine holes in the mid-1960’s. Bob, of course, was always front and center with his free weekly trick shot demonstrations and his mass marketing approach to the sale of golf equipment had a profound effect on the local golf market for clubs, shoes, gloves and golf balls. Bob received the Heart Award in 2015 from “londonontariogolf.com” in honor of his efforts to grow and give back to the game.