In 1979 John Langdale was living in Montreal as an executive with the
Bank of Montreal. He had just been promoted and was due to move to
Toronto. In the process of the imminent move and dealing with the realities
of the new situation; he and his wife Martha happened upon a listing
for a property for sale in South Rustico, PEI. 185 waterfront acres for sale
with golf course. They joked with the idea of moving to PEI rather than Toronto.
The same summer they had decided to take a “farm vacation” to PEI in
order to refresh before the big life change and clear their heads. While
touring the island with their children they got lost in Cymbria and drove into
what had been Jumping Jack’s golf course (since sold to Harry
MacLaughlin in 1975) looking for directions. They spent a few minutes
enjoying the area and view before realizing that this was the very same
piece of land that they had been joking about earlier that year.
After some very brief conversations, in the parking lot, about what it would
be like to own and operate a golf course (and future resort) Martha
convinced John to walk away from their perspective careers and put
everything they owned on the line to buy what would shortly become
Rustico Resort Golf & Tennis Club. John was 38 years old and Martha 36.
This was late summer 1979.
After major construction of the entire hotel infrastructure the resort opened
officially in August of 1980. It was a steep learning curve in the early years
but John quickly realized the potential for the Island’s golf product and its
In the many years since, John and Martha originally and single-handedly
brought the concept of golf packaging to Prince Edward Island paving the
way for many hotels and motels to extend their seasons throughout spring
In 1987 John sat down with Harry Simmonds, Terry Hamilton and Peter
McCready to discuss the concept of what would become Golf PEI;
a co-operative marketing collective. He realized the tremendous
opportunity that the golf courses offered to PEI’s tourism
Industry and established what is today the envy of every international golf
destination. By establishing the premise of multiple owners and operators
working together to promote the island as a golf destination he helped to
Create the awareness that Prince Edward Island’s courses enjoy today.
He became Golf PEI’s first President and the four men launched the
business with a meagre budget of $35,000.
Since they have been able to afford to travel recreationally, John and
Martha have taken Prince Edward Island with them wherever they go and
continue to share the beauty of the island, it’s people and it’s golf courses
(with those they deem worthy).
Those that know John and Martha will tell you that they don’t know
two people who have and continue to work as hard for the past 31 years.
Many operators have come and gone thinking of the accommodation and
golf industry as a quick and easy dollar but without the few like John and
Martha who knew that it was a life’s work this industry wouldn’t be the
same one we are so proud of today.