– Fanshawe Traditional 1958-present

– Fanshawe Traditional 1958-present

Probably my favorite photo on the website. The colors are fantastic and this action shot of the maintenance staff trying to build a course on farmland to be a “sister course” to Thames Valley, is full of interesting details. This photo is of #13, #14 and #15, Fanshawe Traditional, 1957. #15 tee is getting watered by the sprinkler in the foreground. Elevated #13 green visible just behind the furthest sprinkler. Not many trees. Photo taken from the crest of the hill where #3 and #16 Traditional greens are located today. Old barn in the extreme upper right corner is still there. The one-yard trailer being towed behind the tractor was used to help build River Road.

Fanshawe Traditional – Interesting Facts and Figures


Originally RR5 London then 2835 Sunningdale Road East


City of London

Year Built



John Innes
John Moffat Senior

Golf Professionals

John Moffat 1958
Bill Fox Sr. 1959-1969
Mike Olizarevitch 1970-2009
Andy Shaw 2010
Robert Vincent 2011-Present

Greens Superintendents

Bill Broome 1958-1961
Hubert Ward 1962-1981
Al Stoyles 1981-1990
John Cowie 1991
Bob Miners 92-97
Don Omerod 98-2004
Brent Hoppe 2005-Present

Significant Tournaments

Oakridge Ford Best Ball Tournament
1975 Fall PGA
Tyson Tour [participation for all 49 years]
Les Thomas Tournament since its inception in 1982

Signature Hole

#12 – Par 3 – 204 yards, one of the best par 3’s anywhere

Underrated Hole

#10 – Par 4 -345 yards, the difficult green makes for many bogies and worse

Top Players

Bill Fox Sr.
Bill Laughlin
Tom McCallum
Bruce Atkins
John Cowie
Rob Mason
Mike Olizarevitch
Lew French
Mel Casey
Dale Tallon
Jeff Overholt
Gil Parkinson
Jeff Van Vliet
Bob Stephan
Andy Shaw
Pete Andrin
Linda Bailey
Ivy Rath
Bill Fox. Jr
Cliff Brown
Dick Harback
John German
Bob Bryant
Susan Garlick
John Grant

Five Best Features 

Great public layout
Design of Individual holes
Skilled players
Very Challenging par 3’s

Interesting fact

The majority of the holes on the Traditional remain reasonably intact from opening day in 1958. The one exception is the old 12th hole which used to go from the back tee on Traditional #7 to the green for Quarry #1. When you stand on the back tee for #7 Traditional and gaze through the maze of trees now, it is hard to believe that the hole once went to #1 Quarry green.

About the Fanshawe Traditional

The Fanshawe Traditional is the course I grew up on. Originally, when it opened in 1958, the course was operated as a partnership between the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority and the London Public Utilities Commission. Construction of the course filled a need for both organizations. The P.U.C was looking to build a course somewhere in the east end of the City to mitigate some of the pressure on Thames Valley Golf Course which was the only public course in the City and was getting overplayed to the extreme. Fairmont Golf course had performed this function in the past and was a privately operated public course which had operated from 1932 until 1953. Unfortunately after 1953 it was plowed under for houses and became the subdivision known as Fairmont. After that all public golfers were back to wearing out one course, Thames Valley.

In 1955, the UTRCA had land available for a golf course and they were interested in having a complete recreational complex in the area of the new Fanshawe dam to include swimming, hiking, camping, boating……and golf. Although they were heavily involved in the construction and early stages of operation, eventually the UTRCA bowed out as a partner and the London PUC became the sole operator of the Fanshawe Traditional course. In order to get the newly planned course in action, the London P.U.C. purchased 55 acres of farmland belonging to Bill Broome and entered into a lease agreement with Upper Thames for another 68 acres of floodplain land adjacent to the Broome farm. The lease terms for the London P.U.C. can only be described as very favourable for the 68 acres; $3,000 per year for the 1970’s, $4,000 per year for the 1980’s and $5,000 per year for the 1990’s. After that the terms of the lease agreement were adjusted upward. All of the land purchases and construction costs of the Fanshawe Traditional were paid, not out of tax money, but by surpluses generated by the golfers at Thames Valley.

The cluster of good golfers and individuals who ended up working in the golf industry who came from the humble beginnings of the Traditional golf course at Fanshawe is nothing less than phenomenal. It certainly wasn’t due to the quality of the course. The trees were small, the greens were hard, the turf was spotty and in the beginning the traps were non-existent. Groundhogs abounded everywhere, similar to today. I give a lot of the credit to the Golf Pros who worked there at that time. Bill Fox Sr never met an employee that he wouldn’t support or encourage to play the game better. Mel Casey was a good player with a lot of presence and spirit that tended to inspire others. Mike Olizarevitch was like the “Pied Piper” to junior golfers who wanted to be like “Olly”. Future Golf Pros, Greens Superintendents, Ontario Junior champions and quality amateur golfers thrived in this environment. The Fanshawe “Traddy” is a very resilient golf course with awesome natural drainage and a set of tough par 3’s. It has everything you would look for in a property to operate a successful public golf operation. It is just that.

Fanshawe Traditional Construction Photographs

The original design for Fanshawe Golf Course covered an area of 123 acres. 68 of the 123 acres were leased land belonging to the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. These 68 acres were designated floodplain and made up most of the holes located on the south end of the course near Fanshawe Park Road. On today's Traditional course this includes  #1, #2, #3, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16 and parts of other holes. The remaining 55 acres were purchased by the City of London from local farmer Bill Broome and comprises the northern area of the course close to Sunningdale Road. Today's holes built on this land include #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #17 and #18. Typical of many courses back in the day, the farmer/former owner was hired as the greenskeeper. Bill Broome helped to build the course and served as the greens superintendent until he passed away in 1963. Here is an aerial photo of Fanshawe as a farm in 1955 and then the same shot in 1967 when the golf course was completed.

Quite a few features can be seen on both photos such as the "Vulture Tree" in #1 fairway, the big maple to the right of #12 green and some of the larger ground contours.


The grade on almost all of the fairways was never changed during construction. John Moffat and John Innes, the designers of the course laid out the holes on the natural contours of the land, using them to best advantage. One exception to this occurred on today's #16 hole. The final steep hill ascending to the green must have been deemed too severe for golfers to climb so John Moffat directed a bulldozer to build a kind of causeway to soften the slope and it is still easy to spot today. Here is John directing the work on May 7, 1956. The background of this photo is interesting. It is easy to see the newly formed Fanshawe Lake [Fanshawe dam was built and opened in 1953] and the bath houses for swimmers in the lake. Swimming in the lake doesn't happen anymore so the bath houses have been torn down.

Sometimes the background of older photos proves to be the most interesting. Here is a photo taken on the same day from a slightly different angle and it shows #13 and #15 greens under construction.

John Moffat oversees the construction of the causeway on #16 with #13 and #15 in the background.

John Moffat fought hard to insure that the new course, lying on a massive gravel deposit, was properly irrigated. He obtained historical rainfall records from the London Airport to help prove his point that a course built on such a well drained site was going to need a good watering system. This is likely why the initial $80,000 construction budget ballooned to $120,000. Below are three photos of the "state of the art", at that time, irrigation system pipes arriving at the course.

Staff are rolling the pipes off the truck using a makeshift ramp.

The pipes are laid out on the ground. Photo is taken from close to today's #1 green. The contour of the land is visible looking back up the fairway from the green. The "Vulture Tree", one of the few landmarks on the course in the early days is easy to see.


Incidently here is another photo of the "Vulture Tree" taken in the same year, 1955, but this time it is taken from the vantage point of Fanshawe Lake. The boat is the hydroplane "Miss Supertest III" with its Rolls Royce engine and otherworldly speed.

The crowd is up on the hill and the "vulture tree" is top right.


Because Fanshawe Traditional was built on a gravel deposit, there were likely to be plenty of rocks to deal with. Accordingly the builders hired a rock picker to go over all of the property once the surface had been roughly prepared. Apparently there were so many rocks that the noise generated from this rock picker by the stones hitting the steel was so loud that no one wanted to be anywhere close to it when it was in operation.

Rock picker in action on #13 fairway looking back toward the tee.

Looks like the machine needed a pull from a hand cord to get it started.




Fanshawe Traditional – “Before and After” Construction Photographs

“Before” – major excavation for an irrigation line on Traditional #3.


“After” – the same view today

“Before” – irrigation installation up the hill toward #16 green

“After” – the view today

Seeding the back of #2 Traditional green. The cedars are so small that Fanshawe Lake can be seen in the background with sailboats on it.


The same view today but there is no way to see the lake now that the cedars are a bit bigger.


“Before” – rock picker on #5 Traditional fairway.



“After” – the same view today with the same old oak tree in the background.


The Official Opening of Fanshawe Golf Course

Official opening of Fanshawe Golf Course on July 11, 1957. At this point only 9 holes are open. John Moffat Senior hits one of the "first balls" as his co-designer, John Innes looks on. Innes designed Thames Valley and John Moffat was a former Assistant Professional to Innes at Thames Valley. John Moffat Senior's son, John Moffat Junior looks to be about 12 years old and he watches his dad tee off.


Joe Coley, the oldest member by age at Thames Valley also got to hit one of the inaugural tee shots. Joe had made some inputs into the design of Fanshawe. The reason that he got to hit one of the opening tee shots was in recognition of the Thames Valley golfers who had paid for the new course and who hoped it could relieve some of the ridiculous overplaying of Thames Valley.


Here is a photo of the original clubhouse near present #13 tee during the opening ceremonies.


There was a large tent put up near today's #3 tee for the opening ceremonies.


A final golfer gets his chance to tee off at the opening. By this time John Moffat Jr looks a bit bored as he leans on his dad's golf bag and cart.


Fanshawe Traditional – Early Photographs and Blueprints


John Moffat oversees construction at Fanshawe Traditional #16 in May 1957. The Lake and the bathhouse are visible in the background.

Irrigation pipes laid out on #1 Traditional Fairway. The "Vulture Tree" is the big shadowy figure on the right of the photo. Looking back to the site of the tee from roughly 150 yards from the green.

The opening of Fanshawe Golf Course in 1958 was delayed by a month as officials said we "need grass".



Fanshawe’s first of three clubhouses, 1957. It was located against the fenceline directly to the left of today’s #13 Traditional tee. The second was a donated surplus military “H” hut used for housing pilots in training for WWII and it was located close to this one……just a bit to the north and close to both #3 and #13 Traditional tees. It was in operation from 1960-1971. The third is the clubhouse today which opened in 1972.

The first clubhouse at Fanshawe was obviously only a stop gap measure given that it wasn't much larger than a back yard shed. Here is an aerial photo of the second clubhouse. This military barracks type "H Hut" had been deemed surplus and was donated to be the new Fanshawe Clubhouse. The building had been used to house pilots training for WWII at Crumlin training facility......now London International Airport.

Here is an aerial photo from London Airport that shows the buildings, one of which would become Fanshawe's second clubhouse. One section of the clubhouse at Fanshawe was slightly longer than the other so surely the building just left and below center is the one that became the clubhouse.

Unidentified golfer with a pretty good swing is hitting a few balls to warm up in front of the “palatial” clubhouse. Present site of #13 Traditional tee.

Same golfer hitting a shot down #13 fairway although it looks like there is little chance that it will end up in the trees.

The two sprinklers on the left are irrigating Traditional #13 while the two on the right are irrigating #14. Absolutely nothing in the way of trees between these two holes at this point.

Original Design blueprint for Fanshawe Golf Course dated May 4, 1956. John Innis and John Moffatt are identified as designers. Access to clubhouse and parking is off Fanshawe Park Road. Most of the holes remain reasonably intact with the exception of #12. The original #12 green is the one at the extreme upper right corner of the diagram. Today old #12 green is Quarry #1 green.

For all the greenskeepers out there this is the original working drawing that John Moffatt used when installing the irrigation system at Fanshawe. By today’s standards it might seem primitive but 60 years ago for a public golf course to have a complete underground irrigation system was a big deal.

Published Material – The History of the Fanshawe Traditional

John Moffatt Senior, pictured here, was the main designer and builder of the Fanshawe Traditional Course


Excerpt from “From Rough to Fairway” (John Cowie 2010)


Fanshawe Traditional – Scorecards 1958, 1959 and 1960

1958 scorecard. Par is 70. #4, today’s Traditional #16 is a par 4.


1959. Par is still 70 but the last hole [Traditional #2] has become a 205 yard par 3.


1960. Yardage has increased to 6,307 and #4 [today’s 16] has become a par 5 played from a tee perched on the hill behind current #15 green. Par for the men has increased to 71 and par for the Ladies is 74. This is the first year for two sets of “Men’s” tees, the white and the blue. Virtually everyone played the blue tees…..the maintenance staff would rarely have to bother moving the white tees because so few players played them. Everyone teed off the tough 18th hole [#2 Traditional today] from the back tee. Lots of matches won and lost on that hole.

Fanshawe's First Junior Invitational September 2, 1960




Fanshawe's First Junior Invitational, September 2, 1960.





This photo graced the front page of the London Free Press on September 2, 1960. The photo was of the first annual Junior Invitational. These juniors are teeing off on #1 which is #13 Traditional today.


Chris Lehman from Sunningdale wins the inaugural event.


Among the winners was Mike Olizarevitch who was later head professional @ Fanshawe Golf Course for 40 years.

Here is a better resolution photo from the Western Archives. Mike Olizarevitch, head Professional at Fanshawe for 40 years is third from the right.


Greg Loosley from Woodstock was the well dressed first Bantam Champion. The three large individual trees in the background all died from Lightning strikes in the next few years. Today's #3 fairway on the right side of the photo and #16 on the left are easy to see. The trophy is a monster for a bantam.


The results from 1960 for all age divisions.

“The 19th Hole” – Fanshawe Traditional

Typical of most golfers, I have a soft spot for the golf course that I grew up playing and that for me was the Fanshawe Traditional. The Fanshawe “Traddy” was built and paid for using funds generated by the golfers at the first City of London course, Thames Valley. It got off to a slow start because most of it was farmland and there were few trees of any consequence to break up the landscape. The trees which were provided by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority to line the fairways were very small, not much more than saplings, and they provided a stark contrast to the mammoth oak trees that abounded at Thames Valley. The turf was poor in the early days and limited funding for construction  meant that proper tees and traps would have to be built long after the course first opened. In fact the first year that I was a member in 1965 there was only one trap on the course and it was behind #1 green [#13 presently] and it prevented misjudged approach shots from rolling out onto Fanshawe Park Road.

Often the most important events in the history of anything are things that never happened. In 1991 four golf course employees, Mike Olizarevitch, Al Stoyles, Fred Kern and yours truly John Cowie were asked to come up with a design to best incorporate a new piece of land into the design of Fanshawe Golf Course. Fanshawe at the time was a 27 hole course consisting of the Red and White Nines being the old Front and Back Nines of the original layout and the Blue Nine, opened some 25 years later on the site of a mined-out gravel pit. The decision to preserve the Traditional as much as possible just the way it was and to add new holes to the Blue Nine in order to make what became the Quarry Course a “stand alone 18” was supported by all four employees. The other option of constructing more “in” and “out” holes near the Clubhouse so that all nines returned to the clubhouse was not approved. It took a long time for the Quarry golf course to mature into the fine course that it is today [18 years and counting] but the important decision to keep the Traditional as a self-contained 18 hole course, much as it was when it was designed in 1956, was the most important outcome of the recommendations of Mike Olizarevitch, Al Stoyles, Fred Kern and John Cowie. The bottom line is that the decision to build the Quarry as it exists today was foremost about preserving the Fanshawe Traditional.