The Osprey Ridge Golf Club has its roots in the great North American golf boom of the "Roaring Twenties". It was during that storied sports era of Bobby Jones, Jack Dempsey, and Babe Ruth that the Bridgewater Golf Club was created, and in 1927 opened a 9-hole course carved out of Bridgewater's highest hill in the then undeveloped northern edge of town.
Later renamed the Bridgewater Golf and Country Club, it served the area well for 70 years until BGCC opened Osprey Ridge during the last great continental golf boom of the 1990's. Though the dream of a high caliber championship course was finally realized in 1998, this goal was not easily achieved. There were many years of frustration and setbacks as various options were considered. Hopes of expanding the old course were deemed impractical.
At this juncture, when prospects for a new course appeared dim, Vic Coldwell assumed the major leadership role required to initiate and implement this major project. As Club President, he took a hands on approach in working with the Lunenburg Municipal Industrial Commission (LMIC) and acquiring from it, 229 acres of a former dairy farm in Pine Grove. The LMIC also arranged financing for the $500,000 purchase as well as an additional $2,500,000 for constructions costs. Grants of $450,000 were obtained from both the federal and provincial governments.
With most of the financing in place, Coldwell engaged the services of internationally renowned golf course architect Graham Cooke to design the course and oversee the project. Whatever past frustrations and problems may have been, they seemed to dissolve in the sheer delight of members with Cooke's impressive creation when, with a pair of Osprey soaring above, the course finally opened in May of 1998. It was evident from the beginning that Osprey Ridge was a unique and very special golf course that met or exceeded member expectations.
Yet many challenges lay ahead. The course was exceptional, but the beginnings otherwise humble. A trailer next to a port-a-potty above the first tee served as pro shop and restaurant/bar, and the office was in the cow barn. A pot-holed, often dusty entrance road led to an equally dusty parking lot that often left undesirable first and last impressions. Construction of the clubhouse and considerable paving, including the cart paths, in the first few years were welcome additions. In 2006 the Miriam Penney Room, which readily accommodates general meetings, wedding receptions, and other social events, was added.
Through all of those early years, Osprey Ridge gained growing recognition both in Nova Scotia and beyond as a high quality attraction that offers golfers a worthy challenge whatever one's skills. Its prominence in the golfing community has been amply demonstrated by its selection to host two national tournaments and the Nova Scotia Amateur in the last several years.
Finally, an economic impact study in 2010 called Osprey "an economic engine of Lunenburg County" concluding that "Osprey Ridge provides an important economic impact that benefits the community at large, notably in terms of employment, expenditures by visiting golfers, generations of tax revenues, fund-raising for local charities, and the attraction of new residents who create substantial economic activity".
Osprey Ridge has etched itself in community history and also the golf community as a whole, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
A big thank you to member John MacDonald for your input in helping to recall Osprey Ridge's past history.