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Club History

Harvey Hadden was a wealthy English textile merchant who travelled by coastal steamer to visit Vancouver. Hadden had heard that Vancouver might offer some interesting opportunities for property development. He spent the summer in the city  (population 13,700) bought a large number of commercial properties in the city and before returning to his home in England.
After being away for more than a decade, Hadden came back to Vancouver and purchased a 160-acre property west of the Capilano River. He built a mansion called Hadden Hall near the current location of the Clubhouse and landscaped the property to create a “sort of Garden of Eden in the forest.” This property would become the Capilano Golf and Country Club.

Two land developers approached the municipality of West Vancouver with plans to build golf courses as anchors for real estate ventures. One was a proposal for an 18-hole course on the old Hadden Hall site and the other was for a 9-hole course at the west end of the municipality. The latter proposal was accepted and Gleneagles Golf Course was built near Horseshoe Bay.

A.J.T. Taylor was a successful Vancouver entrepreneur with a vision for developing Vancouver’s North Shore. After spending three years living in England, Taylor returned to Vancouver with the wealthy London financier, W. S. Eyre. Eyre was very impressed with the potential of the area and, after returning to London, they incorporated the British Pacific Properties syndicate, largely controlled by the Guinness Brewing Company.
The municipality of West Vancouver sold British Pacific Properties two parcels of land for a total 6,000 acres of mountainside property at $20 an acre. That same year, Taylor was in New York to meet with one of the world’s premier golf course designers, Stanley Thompson. Thompson’s company had designed, built, or renovated over 100 golf courses during the 1920s and five out of ten of Canada’s top ten golf courses were designed by Thompson, including the spectacular mountain courses of Jasper and Banff.
In February, Thompson walked the site of the Capilano course and put his plans to paper. Taylor wanted nothing but the best for his new development, so the renowned landscape architects, Olmstead Brothers, were hired to assist with the design. Olmstead Brothers were famous for having designed Central Park in New York, as well as the grounds of the White House in Washington, DC. Now Taylor just needed a bridge to provide access to his property.
After many years of discussion, Vancouver citizens voted in a citywide plebiscite in favour of building a bridge connecting Stanley Park to the North Shore. It would take three more years before the federal government would approve the construction of the bridge. Construction was paid for by the Guinness family to support the development of what would come to be called the “British Properties.”
In 1936 the Club began its search for a Head Professional.  Included in the list was Jock McKinnon, a 22 year-old club pro from Scotland, fresh from an impressive victory in the 1935 Scottish Assistants Championship.  In late 1936, Jock interviewed with A.J. Taylor in London, and both parties were impressed.  In late January 1937, and at his own expense, Jock left Scotland and made his way to Vancouver to pusue the opportunity.  One of 113 applicants, Jock further impressed senior members of the Club and by April was informed that the job was his.  He went on to set the tone at Capilano both on and off course from its opening later that year until his retirement in 1979.     
Capilano opened to the public in the summer of 1937 and people began using the Lions Gate Bridge later that same year, but it wasn’t until April of 1939 that the Capilano Golf Club was officially opened after the completion of the clubhouse. A month later, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth presided over the official opening of the Lions Gate Bridge during a royal visit to Canada.
In the early 1950s, Capilano Golf Club president, P.E. (Ed) Paulson heard rumblings that British Pacific Properties might be willing to sell and its assets to the membership. On April 1, 1955, an agreement was reached and the club’s purchase offer was formally accepted. The membership was given possession of the golf club property, consisting of 160 acres of land, including two lakes and the clubhouse, for the sum of $825,000.
Capilano Golf Club now has 1,400 members and is recognized as one of the top golf courses in Canada and the world. Capilano Golf Club is consistently ranked as #1 in British Columbia and in the top ten in Canada. In 2018, Capilano Golf Club was #51 in Golf Digest’s “World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses (outside of the United States)”.