Golf tees off to a wobbly start in Walcha

Original style: The clubhouse built in the 1930s for the Walcha Golf Club at its old links. This photo was taken after the building had been re-erected at The Lake.
Original style: The clubhouse built in the 1930s for the Walcha Golf Club at its old links. This photo was taken after the building had been re-erected at The Lake.

The first Walcha Golf Club was formed in 1907 with J. A. Nivison the president and Dr Stephens the secretary-treasurer. It played at nearby Ohio Station for a few months before opening a five-hole course on a portion of the Apsley River reserve then bounded by Hill, Middle and Pakington streets.

The 1907 club failed after a few years and a new Walcha Golf Club was formed at a meeting held in the Municipal Council Chambers in May 1919 with P. J. Fenwicke the patron and F. L. D. McRae the president.

The club gained permission to use common land north of town and, in June 1919, opened a nine-hole course on land now occupied by the John Oxley Sports Ground, Clearview and part of Round Hill. There is still evidence of the old links to be found at Round Hill.

At the club’s AGM of March 1, 1933, the president, G. W. Phillips, reported on the building of yet another clubhouse and its opening by the mayor, T. C. “Tom” Fenwicke, who said: “Only a year or two ago we had a nine-hole course and a small clubhouse that was continually being burnt down. Today we have an 18-hole course, a commodious clubhouse and a caretaker.”

The new clubhouse was located not far from the old superphosphate shed at Beaver Place and could be seen from Uralla Road.

Plans to build an aerodrome on the golf course site were aired in June 1928 but there was little activity until 1936 when trees were felled. Work ceased before the timber was cleared, rendering the area unsuitable for golf. A special meeting of the club in 1936 decided it should set up a new course on a new site.

Land was purchased from Mrs A. S. Gill on the western side of town and, in 1936, a course was laid out by golf professional Carnegie Clark. This course was opened with great celebrations on Sunday, April 11, 1937.

The club erected a new clubhouse on the links and sold the building to Thomas “Jim” Ireland who had it re-erected at The Lake where it served as a cottage for many years. It was eventually demolished with windows, doors and other useful components re-used at nearby Summerfield.