Walter Fairbanks was born in Scotland and learned to play the game in the country of golf’s origin. Fairbanks was a 19th-century sportsman of the first order. He had been a world-class cricket player in England, playing for the Gloucester Cricket Club in the 1870s with the Babe Ruth of 19th-century cricket, Dr. W. R. Grace. Fairbanks spent his winters in southern California honing his golf game. Even though he was past 40 in his first Denver Country Club club championship in 1899, he won the title a total of 10 times. He also won the Colorado State Match Play title four times from 1902 to 1905.
In addition to his Colorado winnings, Fairbanks was a three-time Southern California Golf Association champion, a Florida state champion, and he won the first Pacific Coast Championship. On a national level he reached the round of 16 at the 1899 United States Amateur. He qualified again for the match play field at the 1901 U.S. Amateur. His finest golf accomplishment occurred in 1913 when he won the United States Senior Golf Association Championship at the Apawamis Club in Rye, New York.
Fairbanks, whose picture hangs in the hallway to the men’s grill at Denver Country Club, was known as “40-holes Fairbanks,” a nickname he acquired in his first-round win at the U.S. Amateur in 1899 when he prevailed in extra holes in his match against J.F. Curtis, 1-up after 40 holes. Walter Fairbanks was a director of DCC from 1903 to 1906 and he oversaw the construction of the club’s course at its current location during that time. He remained a member of a club until the year of his death in England in 1924.