Set above the orchards of the riverside town of Oliver, at the top of Fairview Road, you will come upon a kiosk which marks and tells the story of what once was Fairview Township (founded in 1888 by prospectors staking gold mine claims). Just yards away from this small piece of Okanagan history you will find Fairview Mountain Golf Club (formerly 'The Oliver Golf and Country Club) – one of the most enjoyable but best kept secrets in BC. On a midsummer night in 1925, six of the pioneer residents of the Oliver District sat on the steps of the project office in Oliver to discuss the possibility of forming a golf club for their recreation.
The provincial government had advised that a block of about 200 acres of sagebrush and cactus lying below and south of the old mining camp at Fairview would be made available. That summer evening in 1925 the Oliver Golf and Country Club came into being.
It was planned to prepare nine sand greens so that play could begin in the spring of 1926. The so called fairways could be called 'just' playable and were used as grazing land for cattle, the greens fenced with wire strands.
Enthusiasm ran high and nine members each volunteered to keep a green in shape, volunteer help was no problem and play began on a Sunday morning in 1926.
In the early days, lack of funds prevented the mowing of the fairways which resulted in play being suspended during the summer months. Late in the summer, with the grass dry, a fire guard was plowed around the course and the grass burnt off, resulting in fresh, green turf ready for the fall opening. After a few years, club finances permitted a fence to be erected around the club property.
The theme of volunteerism was a consistent one throughout the next three quarters of a century. In 1990 FMGC underwent an extensive expansion thanks to the volunteer efforts of the membership and the leadership of renowned Canadian golf course architect, Les Furber. The course was transformed from a charming 9 hole course to the 18 hole championship facility it is today. Since this time FMGC has seen the construction of both a new clubhouse & new course maintenance facility, addition of a 1st class short game facility, and watched the course be stretched to over 7000 yards to meet modern day standards.
Now, looking back over three quarters of a century, we remember the Sunday foursomes and the many amusing incidents of days past and above all, the superb panoramic view, still enjoyed, when standing on the 18th tee overlooking the lush orchards and vineyards which have replaced the cactus and sagebrush of those early days.
In recognition of those key volunteers or our historical past, we have listed below those who have been recognized within our prestigious "Builders & Founders" categories here at FMGC.
Harry Earle, Sandy McPherson, John Mars, Reg Tait, Dick Simpson, and Hugh Porteous
Builders & Founders
Betty Day, Herb Carrell, Pic Piccini, Terry Kehoe, Val Vailancourt, Walter Smith.