In 1995 four (4) Niagara Golf Professionals initiated a Ryder Cup style of Competition among their Clubs. From the beginning it was quite evident that only a few seniors over 55 years were able to qualify for their club’s teams. The younger players dominated, probably because of their length off the tee. In 1998 only one senior made the Port Colborne CC. team as an alternate. Art Stead and Barry Patterson began talking to area seniors about a Regional Senior Ryder Cup Competition. The idea was well received by four clubs.
An inaugural meeting was held on October 20, 1998 among Art Stead and Barry Patterson of Port Colborne CC., Whitey Nichols of Bridgewater CC. and Ralph Warren of Twenty Valley. The four reviewed a draft format and after several hours of discussion the Niagara District Senior Men’s Ryder Cup was formed. Allan Shaw of Lookout Point CC. was contacted and a Four-Club Event was finalized for 1999. The organizing group for the inaugural year was:
The 1999 Senior Ryder Cup began with four (4) clubs, six (6) players per team. Each club hosted one event. Six (6) tee times for the twenty-four (24) player Match Play Competition. The team with the most accumulated points won the honor of having their names engraved on the plaque donated by Art Stead. The inaugural year winners from Lookout Point were:
The popularity of the event saw an expansion to eight (8) Clubs in the year 2000, thanks to George Leclair of Rockway Glen CC. who organized Division “B” consisting of:
Teams progressing to a four-club play-off were Lookout Point, and Port Colborne from “A” Division and Rockway Glen and Beechwood from “B” Division. The Port Colborne team accepted the challenge winning the championship on their home course. Year 2001 saw further expansion to twelve (12) Clubs with the acceptance of a third division, Hunter’s Point, Welland, Willo-Dell and Trafalgar from Oakville. Dave R. Smith from Bridgewater provided direction as chairman of the new executive committee. The 2001 Championship at Trafalgar was won by the team from Bridgewater. The fall of 2001 saw further expansion and administration refinement. A new amended and organized procedure manual with rules and regulations was drafted and a further expansion to sixteen (16) clubs was approved for the year 2002 with, three (3) clubs from outside the Niagara Region and one (1), from within: (Thanks to the efforts of Cliff Dobson)
On the administration side an Executive Committee with officers was implemented. Dave R. Smith was elected to serve as First President of the Senior Ryder Cup; Ralph Warren as Vice-President and Art Stead as Secretary/Treasurer. Expansion continued in 2003 with four clubs approved in an integrated schedule. The Senior Ryder Cup was pleased to welcome the following clubs from Western New York State, Briarwood, Niagara Falls Country Club, Niagara Frontier Country Club and the River Oaks Golf Club. 2004 saw the further development of the SENIOR RYDER CUP to include two (2) super seniors on each club team and increase the teams to eight (8) players for each match. The fall of 2005 saw another expansion of teams and one(1) more division was added consisting of the following clubs, Brampton, Cutten Club, Beverly (Thanks to Reg Finlayson of North Halton) and the return of Peninsula Lakes after an absence of two years.
In 2008 four (4) new clubs joined the SRC making a total of twenty eight (28) member clubs; they included St. Catharines, Springville, Summit, Credit Valley and Wyldewood. Niagara Falls C.C. NY decided to take a leave of absence.
In 2009 there was a sincere attempt by President Cliff Dobson to increase the number of players on a team from eight (8) to ten (10) with the inclusion of two (2) Super Seniors (Legends) seventy (70) years and over. The recommendation had the support of the Executive Committee but unfortunately there were too many clubs that were having difficulty filling their present quota of seniors and therefore the increase was deemed unfeasible at this time. A survey of all clubs received 100 per cent support for including the additional tee times but the Team Captains felt that they would be unable to get the players to meet the requirement. The idea will be reconsidered at a later date when the negative effects of the recent recession wear off and club memberships improve.
In 2010, the SRC logo was revised by Reg Finlayson and approved by the Executive. It was first utilized on the commemorative Ball Markers presented to all players participating in the Championships. The Championships hosted by the Twenty Valley Club was won by the Cutten Club with Port Colborne coming in second place. At the Fall Annual Meeting, Reg Finlayson was elected President.
Also, this was the first year Golf Carts were made mandatory for all matches. It was deemed necessary to speed up play and to assist the Clubs with additional revenue since we do not pay green fees.
In 2011, the Championship was hosted by Brierwood Country Club in Hamburg, New York. Bridgewater won with 20 points; the London Hunt Club came in a close second with 19 points. This was the year of the greatest expansion in the history of the SRC. Twelve new Clubs joined the SRC thanks to the organizing ability of Wally Berseth of the River Bend Club in London; they included the London Hunt, RiverBend, Highland, Westhaven and Sunningdale all from London, The Oaks from Komoka, Craigowan G&CC fromWoodstock, Deer Ridge from Kitchener, Elmira, Brantford, Whistle Bear and the Galt Club from Cambridge.
At the end of the competitive season Credit Valley elected to leave the Senior Ryder Cup group. It was immediately replaced by the Donalda Golf & Country Club who were already on the bench waiting to join.
In 2012, the Championship was hosted by the Summit Club. London Hunt won at 19 points with the Summit Club coming in a close second with 18 points. Brampton and Bridgewater were third with 15 points. Credit Valley Club withdrew from the SRC and was replaced with the Donalda Club.
In 2013, the Championship was hosted by the Beverly Golf & Country Club and won by the Scarboro team with 20 points. Lookout Point was second with 17 points and North Halton tied for third with West Haven with 16 points. For the first time in the history of the SRC there was a hole in one during the Championship. Murray Clark of Sunningdale was the sharp shooter on the par three 12th hole.